Notes: Somehow, someway, incredibly, Jeff Green is playing in Championship Week. It truly is a purple miracle as he was out of town from 8/12 through 9/8, a four week span which encompassed the end of regular season, both playoff weeks and two weeks of playoff rain makeups. He did what he had to do to make this happen, but the gods always get their vengeance.
So purple basically trades in their 2nd round pick (Courtney) for getting Jeff Green back which is a reasonable trade considering the top goalies went in early round 3 and Jeff Green, while he was here, was pacing the goalie field. It may be tough to recall since it feels like it was years ago but while Jeff Green was here purple was a unit. After dropping their opener 3-2 they reeled off 4 straight wins by a combined score of 20-6 and were on an absolute roll. Things didn’t quite go the same way after Jeff left and they finished in 5th place but now they’ll face the Hooligans at (close to) full strength, minus Courtney of course. Green, on the other hand, started the season giving up 19 goals in their first 3 games and 1-3 overall. After losing to the Hippos 2-1 on the first shift of OT they went on to win 5 of their final 6 to finish in 4th place on the strength of improved team defense and playing Probert/Sam for over half of every game regardless of how many people showed up. Not a particularly creative strategy, but no doubt a highly effective one. Purple will have to rely on superior depth, team chemistry built on a season with some of the best attendance in the league because Jack/Annie are the rare captains who actually draft for attendance, and of course the heroics of Jeff Green. Purple looked absolutely dominant last week in putting on a defensive clinic against pink but doing so against green will be a much tougher task. My inkling is this game goes under because of the goaltending matchup but as far as a winner I think this game is a total toss-up.
Notes: A rematch of the first game of the season when MelRose pulled the upset and beat the Football Club 5-3. At the time I was told by some that I overrated orange because I drafted half of them but the phone lines were oddly quiet after they started winning a bunch of games en route to a 3rd place finish, the highest in the history of the cursed orange franchise. Tonight both teams will have to make due without their starting goalies with Zisser on his honeymoon and AJ out of town for business. Corey of Cup Size fame will sub in for MelRose while either Jeff Green or Max (whichever one loses) will jump in net for Julie for the rest of the evening. MelRose is also playing without Pags, Amit and Tom, however, which could swing a matchup that otherwise would’ve been close to toss-up status. They do get Tash back but I’m not sure it will be enough against a deep, motivated and well-coached Football Club. Orange to win a close one.
Notes: On the one hand blue set a league record at 9-1 this season and at one point went over a month without giving up a goal. On the other hand their opponent is unknown and they haven’t played in almost a month. Either game should be exceedingly close and probably low scoring as a semi-final matchup with two top goalies. We’re fast approaching McQuade territory with this wager but 64% of playoff challenge contestants (including Cutler’s Burner) picked blue to make it to the championship. I hope they’re right.
Notes: The Rockets rode their speed and depth to a 2nd place finish this season, with their only losses of the season coming in the season opener against Sex, a game against the Hippos where Annie scored all of yellow’s goals in a sub appearance and the season finale against the Walleyes. Despite losing their goalie to a bizarre injury in his first game of the season, they were able to replace him with a player on the roster (Eli) without missing a beat and will look to ride that momentum to a finals appearance which will no doubt make their Denver-based GM Sully very proud. If they play a badly shorthanded MelRose, I think they roll. If they play the Football Club it’s close to a toss-up. All things considered, -135 sounds about right.
MelRose/Football Club/Rockets (-105)
Over 4.5 (-120)
Under 4.5 (-120)
Notes: Championship games have been low scoring in recent seasons with the last three finishing with scores of 3-0, 3-1 and 3-2. Tight checking, top goaltending – whatever the reason, expect a low scoring finish in this one. My inkling is to favor the 1/4/5 side of the bracket but once you get this far it’s truly anyone’s game. One bad omen for purple and tie-dye: of the eight champions in league history, three have been 1 seeds, three have been 2 seeds, one was a 3 and one was a 4. No team below a 4 seed has ever won it all. You’re on your own betting on a game where you don’t know either of the participants but watch it live (or on the stream) and then come to Dorrian’s for end of season party and the Fall 2022 roster reveal.