The playoffs have arrived and to kick them off in style we’re treating you, our loyal readers, to a Super-Sized Special Previews. Here’s an in-depth look at each team – Part 2. Enjoy.
18. Tompkins Square Riots (4-12-2, 10 pts.; L/L/L/L/W) at 15. Gut Rot (8-9-1, 17 pts: W/W/L/L/L)
The last article I wrote ‘with Gut Rot being one of the teams’ had me receiving some pushback because I tried [unsuccessfully] to play the gamesmanship card but violating rule #1 in the process. Will this article be like that one? I sure as hell hope not, but it turns out some of us media personnel tend to show a little more “creativity”. With the 2017 playoffs officially starting, it’s important to note that albeit BTSH being a social, co-ed league, this is the time where players take things a little more seriously since the stakes are higher. That said…
On this part of the ring: TOMPKINS SQUARE RIOTS (4-12-2, 10 pts.; L/L/L/L/W)
The road so far: Vanck’s vanquishers have stumbled into the playoffs fortunately seeing a double-digit point tally this year. Some of the biggest shocks of their season were forcing overtimes with Gut Rot (W1) and Fuzz (W13), a narrow victory over Hoggystyle’s What the Puck (W10), and keeping close quarters with Poutine (W14).
The history books: Not sure about this. Will HockeyDick (erm, HockeyRich) be so kind to reach within his hockey database and confirm this?
Injury report: If the Riots haven’t played some ball or ice hockey in the past two weeks (e.g., not going to the 1st Annual Walkar Tournament or participating in the women’s scrimmage or the scrimmage thereafter), your body will likely be in for a shock.
One player to watch: David F. has a quiet demeanor on and off the court but his pace is OP (overpowering). He’s tallied 6 for the season, including a brace against the Rainbows (W18).
Key number: 3—they’ve thrice secured wins scoring this many goals in a game. Should the Riots reach three goals before the Rotters do, all they’ll have to do is play clean up and close out the session.
Dominant narrative: Some players in this league think that certainly, a team like the Riots may be permanent fourth-division incumbents, and while that may be true, the postseason is a time to prove that a team is more than the sum of its players.
The big question: Are all players named Christina nice? I mean Poutine’s Christina is awfully nice but I also would think Christina R. would be, too?
Bandwagon ability: Recently-elected HOFer Dave GDR has been a fan favorite for a while. Almost succeeding in the Walkar Tournament with America, why wouldn’t anyone want to root for him in the postseason? Unless you’re Gut Rot, obviously. Let’s not forget there’s a mathmagician and celebrity in Vanck, whose ascendancy in the entertainment world overshadows his disdain for Minnesotan sports teams. Someone who works as hard as Vanck or Dave GDR on the court deserves some recognition?
One good reason to root for them: A championship named after a squad that gratuitously pays homage to the park in which they play is only fitting, no?
On the other side of the ring: GUT ROT, BITCHEZ (8-9-1, 17 pts.; W/W/L/L/L)
The road so far: Other than a nail-biter with What the Puck (W9), it’s been either win or lose for this team. But something’s different: this group has been racking up more wins than the Gut Rot of old. While postgame activities are still a constant for Ashley M.’s aces, goals seem to occur with regularity. They’ve let more than what they’ve put in, but they’ve put 4 more past opposing goaltenders than division winners Poutine. Appearing to have a losing record, anything close to .500 is refreshing for the former Standoff franchise.
The history books: As I alluded to in the previous point, the Rotters had perennially been the team privy to give other teams an automatic W… until this year. They’ve upset division winner Butchers (W2) and Soko division squad Fuzz (W6), and blanking Poutine in their revenge match (W10).
Injury report: I doubt anyone’s facing a serious ailment, but if I had to guess their methodologies, the healing process overlaps with their postgame drinking.
One player to watch: Although Peaches quarterbacks the entire operation, Edward P. is the field general. Goaltenders are like panopticons; they see pockets of space for their teammates to pass or run through, and they spot vulnerabilities in their own teams’ formations. On multiple occasions, Ed has stood on his head to stave off opponents and keep the upper hand of the scoreline by a single goal.
Key number: It’s the number of likes people have received for telling Becca how to sign up for the BTSH Olympics (it must be a big number by now).
Dominant narrative: “18 games in a span of just over 5 months” represents one part of the season, and just because the Rotters held themselves to a pretty high standard from March to early September, it doesn’t mean they stop doing it when their playoff campaign begins.
The big question: Does Ellery have a celebration that doesn’t involve partial nudity? Or does Peaches own a pair of athletic shorts?
Bandwagon ability: When Gut Rot eked out playoff wins a couple of years ago, just as Leicester pulled some major wins in the Champions League knockout phase last season, heads turned and the “what ifs” were on people’s minds. With the knowledge that the Green Machine would likely face a juggernaut if it stymied the Riots from moving on, spectators would hope that in a David and Goliath-esque matchup, history would repeat itself and the Rotters would advance to face the next big challenge. In short, everyone loves an underdog and perhaps Gut Rot has the swagger for shaking things up?
One good reason to root for them: When you think of the histories of BTSH franchises, some teams stick out more than others. The Sultan points out—please don’t eyeroll—the Elves history, when they evolved from one win in their inaugural season to taking it all two seasons later. The Sky Fighters were one of those teams as well. This year, Tommy and Len could be the ones that help Gut Rot follow suit. When you think about it, there a few people on this team that haven’t had the chance to lift such a great trophy. So why not?
Prediction: Defeating a team in your division twice in one year can be a difficult feat to accomplish, but doing it for a third time is sometimes nearly impossible. Gut Rot may have taken the first two meetings, however we see the Riots prevailing on Sunday, 3-2.
17. Denim Demons at 16. Instant Karma
In this corner: DENIM DEMONS (5-13, – 22 goals differential),who finished 17th in total points for the 2017 season.
The road so far: It’s been a weird one, thanks to a rebuilding season (stolen directly from Isaac’s Rainbows preview). Several new parts were added to this squad and it has taken them a full season to get acquainted with one another. (Also stolen from Isaac’s Rainbows preview.)
Sultan’s Non PC take: When you lose Kamen, Paul, Angry Zack T., Coach, Christina…you better replace them with solid hockey players or you may go 5-13 with a -22 goals differential.
The history books: Throw it out. The ol’ #1 seed Demons are dead. But so are the combative assholes who no one wanted to play against, or party with. This is a fun team and if you still hate the Demons (Unless you’re Brian Hicks) then it’s on you, not them. The Demons are really cool fun people outside of one asshole. (She knows who she is. She is JR.)
Injury report: How the hell should I know?
Key number: 7 – that’s how many points below the Demons were to their nearest competitor in the Soko Conference. (Or whatever conference we named it, for some reason the standings reverted back to the stupid bar names.)
Dominant narrative: The Demons don’t really have a dominate narrative anymore. They have a clean slate to build a new narrative. Good for them.
The big question: Will the sun go down in time for them to even make it to the game? With so many Jews…they better pray real hard because God might smite them if they leave before sundown on Roshonkonkoma.
Bandwagon-ability: The Spirit of BTSH is everyone holding onto grudges. Try to let this grudge go and root on a team that really deserves our support.
One good reason not to root for them: Maybe their last memory should be of the losing a very tough 3-2 game to Karma, instead of 7-0 game to Fresh Kills…which could happen if they win.
And in this corner: INSTANT KARMA (5-13 (Sultan treats all losses as equal, you get no extra point for that shootout/OT loss in my world)), -27 goals differential, who finished 16th in total points for the 2017 season.
The road so far: Rough sledding for the boys in teal. It seems they could use a little more team spirit and an identity of their own.
The history books: This is their 3rd year and it’s been a downward spiral since they eliminated the Elves from BTSH with a dominating 3-0 victory in 2015. A win to get into the playoffs will help Karma recruit some mid-level prospects next season.
Injury report: Ben’s back is always injured.
One player to watch: Brianna is always near the net and I’m not sure I ever saw a game where she didn’t get a golden opportunity to score. Her brother Cory is no slouch but I’m only allowed to pick one.
Key number: 18. That’s Rob Walsh’s #. Demons, make sure he’s not subbing for Karma.
Dominant narrative: Can the fun team that doesn’t care about winning beat the Evil Demons?
The big question: Will they match the Demons intensity? They better if they want a chance.
Bandwagon-ability: #notmybandwagon (until they use the FA list). But who can root against Cory and his Mets hat?
One good reason not to root for them: Does anyone but Walker and I realize Karma isn’t actually “the fun team?” They constantly use league players in lieu of the free agent list, and then Chadwick rambles on about hating Fuzz. Use the free agent list and stop asking Walsh, Walker and Jamie to play!
Prediction: Man this is a hard game to predict. I know the Demons are going to go balls to the wall for the W. I think Karma will too. While the league is starting to know Brianna, I think Nicole still might be a secret to most. The old vets from the Tuques still are there and Karma has the ability to bring it. Meanwhile, the Demons seem younger, faster and prob want it a little more. But that my not be a good thing. Does either team have a full-time goalie?!?! I’ll go with the Demons 3-2 in a nail-biter.