2019 Playoff Preview (Part 3)

10) Cobra Kai

Richie Hero: Campbell. The team needs Campbell to play or they are in huge trouble. The good news for Cobra Kai is they really have no one you can expose. The bad news is they don’t have a game-changer among them. Liam is excellent but he’s not the type of guy that often goes end to end and scores. Their girls are very very good, but they aren’t Rehabs/Hookers/Fresh Kills good. Campbell is where they get an advantage that most other teams can’t match. I don’t think this is their year.

JW: Rich mentioned Campbell. I thought Campbell isn’t eligible to play, no? Campbell is clearly the X factor for Kai (wait, did I just say “X factor”? What are these other 3 clowns turning me into??). Oh man, and we still have 9 teams left to do??  Why did I agree to this. 

Meatbox: With Campbell in tow, I expect Cobra Kai to be one of the toughest outs in the playoffs (assuming he is able to make the trek down from Boston every weekend in October). However, given their seed, their path to the finals will end up being much tougher this season and it’s hard for me to see them going beyond the Elite 8.

Arya: I hate to make this all about Campbell but seriously, this Cobra Kai season has basically been a case study in how much they miss that guy.  Even with him leaving, I still picked them to win their division.  Losing Campbell is a tough blow, sure, but other teams manage to win without a top 3 goalie, and the dojo still has a bunch of great players.  As you probably know by now, my prediction was proven wrong as the Biters and Hookers both finished top 3 while Cobra Kai finished 10th. Fortunately, they were rewarded with a great first round matchup against the Demons (not an easy out, but preferable to the alternatives around them) and if Campbell comes in, they should win easily as it’s basically the same team who got the #1 seed last year.  A more alarming question is whether the win/loss and goals against splits with and without Campbell demonstrate that he’s been covering up some sloppy play these past couple years. A deep playoff run without him would put those conversations to bed. A deep playoff with him wouldn’t, but they’d be happy either way.

9) Poutine Machine

Meatbox: Last season Poutine finished 6th and promptly poached every new Sky Fighters player except Carlin. Expectations coming into the season were “sky high” (oof) for the Poo Crew and to say that a 9th place finish is disappointing would be an understatement. They have as much talent as many of the teams in BTSH, but it seems as though that talent just hasn’t gelled as expected. Do they right the ship during a matchup with 8 seed Karma and make a run? The teams split the season series, so it’s possible Poutine makes it to the elite eight where they would be entirely dependant on reseeding being good to them. If Lbs, Rehabs, or the Hookers are there waiting, then we’ll have seen the end of Poo Nation. Perhaps if some other d3/d4 team makes it that far, we’ll see Poutine reach the final 4, but I just don’t think this is the year they raise the PBR cup.

JW: I hate it when I have to agree with Hicks, but he is right that Poutine have just as much talent as many teams, yet their talent doesn’t seem to gel. Hicks is NOT right, however, regarding hot dogs and sandwiches (I only added this to piss off Glanzer). Word on the street is that Sullivan broke his thumb in the last game of the regular season. This does not bode well for Poutine’s playoff hopes. Their matchup with Karma will be incredibly tight as both teams feature great goaltending, strong defense, and scoring prowess. They vanquish their divisional foes Instant Karma, and then lose to whoever comes next. 

Poutine has already started celebrating.

Arya: I hate having to agree with Walker as much as he hates having to agree with Hicks (I don’t really mind agreeing with Hicks tbh) but both those gentleman are right: good enough to win a playoff game, possibly two, but not good enough to win the championship this year.  Poutine’s formula is simple: they will wear you down with fast physical play and rely on Dickie to give up 1 goal max. There’s too much talent on this team for the mediocre spot they finished in, but obviously in this league regular season means jack shit so who cares…as long as Dickie shows up in the playoffs, they can beat any team.  I think they’ll beat Karma in the Round of 16 and give whomever they play in the quarterfinals a scare before eventually falling. As always, I have no comment on any hot dog/sandwich questions.

Richie Hero: When SBJ announced he was going to Poutine at the D5 Awards Ceremony I was like this team is going to be gooooood. And they are good. But they haven’t been gooooood. Don’t get me wrong, they are one of the teams who can win the PBR Cup. And I think they will. Just not this season. From the underwhelming regular season to the disaster of losing to the Thin Mints in OC, this team hasn’t gelled. But if their head coaching job ever opens, I’d be first in line to take it. They have the talent. 

8) Instant Karma

Richie Hero: This is your captain of the year. Karma decided instead of using other teams good players to win games, they got good players themselves. I hope Derek stays and builds something great here. The girls they have are all really good. They can pull off a big upset and beat Poutine. I doubt they would get further, this has already been a successful season for them. 

Arya: Karma’s had a great season and they get a matchup against a team they know quite well, their division rivals Poutine who last year beat them in a thrilling first round shootout where the end of the game was basically just Derek and Dickie playing against each other.  Karma’s got a lot going for them, and they outplayed Poutine in the playoffs last season, but I don’t see them making too much noise this season. Ask me again in a year or two.

Meatbox: What’s not to love about this team? They might be the most likable of the teams in the top ten, they play a fast paced style that’s fun to watch, and Steve Friedman’s energy is contagious. On top of that they do that fun to watch thing where Steve jumps into someone’s arms whenever they win, and I’m not ready to not see that anymore in 2019. While I think they’ll have exited by the round of 8, we should all be hoping for #onelasthop for 2019 when they play Poutine. 

JW: Rich, it wouldn’t even be much of an upset if Karma beats Poutine. These two teams are fairly evenly matched (hmm, I feel like I’ve said that a lot in this article). But, it’s true. Derek, Cory, Matt, Creeden, their women, Steve in net, Isaac on D limiting scoring chances. They have the talent to beat any team. Unfortunately I think Poutine take the round of 16 game and it’s curtains for this team. However, they’ll always have that they ended WTP’s winning streak. 

Richie Hero (2): “ However, they’ll always have that they ended WTP’s winning streak.” Jesus Walker as if that’s a thing. Why are you, you? 

7) Denim Demons

Richie Hero: Jews

Meatbox: The Demons were one of the better stories of the year, going from 6-9-3 in 2018 to 11-3-4 this year. They even went 5-2-3 outside of Division 4, which squashes the argument that their success is entirely tied to their divisional strength of schedule. A first round draw with Campbell and Cobra Kai is less than ideal, however, and I think this unfortunately ends up being a Cinderella story that never takes off – similar to their claim of being league sweethearts.

Arya: You can look at 5-2-3 as three games over .500, or you can view it as 5 wins and 5 losses.  Loser points count the same in the standings, sure, and I like a lot of the players on this team, both as hockey players and fellow jews.  But keep in mind the highest seeded team they beat this year was the 12th seeded Gremlins. They played teams tough but didn’t beat anyone ranked in the top 11 all season, and getting swept in their season series with Mega Touch is a sin I simply cannot forgive.  The Demons are always a tough out, but I’d call their opening matchup with Cobra Kai a coin flip sans Campbell. Should he make the trip from Boston, it’s going to be a long week of reflection in the sukkah.  

JW: The Demons could beat Cobra Kai. I hope that it doesn’t happen, but it could happen. 

Richie Hero (2) So I reffed the Demons vs. Riots and man are they fast. They have some good players who people won’t be familiar with so I really think they have a shot to not only beat Cobra Kai, but pull some upsets after that. They won’t hoist the PBR Cup, but two wins isn’t impossible. That said, I would pick CK if Campbell shows, Demons if he doesn’t.

On another note, can we as a league stop shitting on the Demons? (Almost) All of their assholes are long gone and they even brought back Christina! #GFYGlanzer

6) Filthier

Arya: Just like every season, no one really talked about Filthier.  And just like every season, they racked up wins and had a great regular season.  Unfortunately, despite ranking #3 in wins, they were not the recipient of any loser points and thus drop to 6th and have to face the defending champs.  Had even one of their five losses come in OT/SO rather than regulation, they’d be the 3 seed…but then they’d have to play Fresh Kills. In the end fate comes for us all, and obviously Filthy’s involves them having a shitty playoff draw.  Lucky for them, their 1-2 punch of James and Tim is maybe the best in the league. I think they’re a slight favorite over Fuzz and then a slight underdog against the Hookers or Rehabs, their two most likely quarterfinal opponents. But everyone knows what a hot goalie can do come playoff time and few out there are hotter than DJ Tim K.  They’re definitely a contender for the crown but would need a few upsets along the way to make it happen.

Richie Hero: “ Lucky for them, their 1-2 punch of James and Tim is maybe the best in the league.” When I said I thought Gabe in his prime was better than James, Ann almost killed me. Well played, Arya. 

Meatbox: One of the more talented teams in the league, yet consistently underrated, in any other year I’d have them reaching the Final 4, but that Fuzz draw is super unlucky. Feels like this is the first year Filthier doesn’t reach the Elite 8 and possibly one where some teams have to guard their players from being poached more than usual as Filthier enters the hunt in an effort to increase attendance going into 2020.

JW: I disagree with Frey that they’re the favorite over Fuzz. I (unfortunately, AGAIN) agree with Hicks that Fuzz was a super unlucky draw for Filthier. If James, Sunny and the rest get really hot, and Tim is his usual self, Filthy will pull this out. But more likely they’ll get bounced by Fuzz, and Glanzer will have to navigate a barrage of texts from Ann afterward. 

Richie Hero: Also, Burn in hell, Filthier!

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