The Wisconsin hockey season has been a complete nightmare; There is no other way to put it. With a record of 2-15-3 you can use whatever euphemism, cliche or hippy-dippy positive reinforcement language you want to use, but that is what this season has been. A nightmare. A disaster.
Calling it a "learning experience" for a young team seems to be a misnomer when there has been a complete lack of growth and progress on either side of the ice. Questionable coaching decisions, especially on special teams, continue to puzzle fans.
Fans, by the way, who are showing up to the Kohl Center in fewer and fewer numbers. My dearest Uncle Eaves, bless his hockey heart, has shown combativeness with local media in a way he never has before. I’m pretty sure I saw a "Fire Mike Eaves" handle on twitter the other day as well.
But even in this black pit of a season, the darkest hour was unquestionably last weekend. Friday’s blown game against Michigan was not only the worst loss of the hockey season, it was one of the worst for the entire Wisconsin fan base, which is saying a lot given the past year. Let’s look back at the year we've had as Badgers in the form of the five worst losses, ranked:
5. Duke beats Wisconsin in the Kohl Center
This one really wasn’t that bad given the fact Duke shot the lights out, Tyus Jones had the game of his life and Duke executed down the stretch better than almost any other team I’ve seen come into Madison. Duke deserved to win. They make the list though, because I spent an INSANE amount of money to go to that game and it was one of the most hyped games to ever be played at the Kohl Center.
4/3. Wisconsin loses to LSU in the opener/Wisconsin blows a three-goal lead against Michigan
These are tied because they were basically the same game. The Badgers were in virtually unlosable situations blowing it against a teams they were looking to pull an upset over. The LSU game felt worse in the moment, but was made retroactively better in a weird way by the losses to Northwestern and Ohio State. The only real consequence of blowing it against Les Miles’ squad was blowing a chance at playing for a National Championship, but those two losses meant we wouldn’t have been there anyway. So I don’t look back on it with too much rancor.
2. Wisconsin loses to Kentucky in the Final Four:
Let’s just look at this picture and sob.
This loss was the worst loss any of us will experience in any of our lives (unless you rooted for the 2007 Patriots). The 2014 Big 10 conference title game between Ohio State and Wisconsin was the most humiliating, degrading, emasculating, soul-crushing, spirit-shattering, heart-breaking, gut-wrenching, traumatic, relentless, cruel, inhumane beat-down I have ever seen on that large of a stage. I still believe that the Ohio State offense violated several tenets of the Geneva Convention with what they did to the Badger secondary.
But why is this loss worse than losing a chance at a probable National Championship over UConn? Because that loss will be brought back up over, and over, and over again for the next thirty years. That loss will have historical significance. It will be the game that launched Cardale Jones to college football and possibly NFL fame. It will be the game that Urban Meyer truly transformed Ohio State into a dynasty. It will be the game that defined how the college football selections will be made until it’s expanded. And for that reason, that is the worst loss of the past year for Wisconsin fans.
Follow me Twitter @CharlieWisco.