Hubba Bubba (+125)
Red Zepplin (-165)
Over 6.5 (-130)
Under 6.5 (-110)
Notes: In honor of two teams with a bunch of players on the Upper East Side, throwback to when Jack repurposed an old trophy we got for winning 2nd place in a tournament during Covid into the UES Cup, eligible to be won by any captain living on the Upper East Side. After he beat Meg, Tarnow and Hicks in the same season I actually briefly considered renting an airbnb uptown just to gain eligibility for this challenge series. Anywho, red should be rocking a full roster for this one coming off a somewhat surprising Friday night shootout loss to the Blancs (albeit without their 1st round pick). The Weaver bros have been electric thus far and I have spent most of my time during their games explaining to people that while they look like twins, there is actually an 8 year age difference between the two. Pink, meanwhile, will have Cam subbing in net for Eli but they actually do have both Stern and Neil in the lineup for this one. Neil is apparently not with Phish this evening while Stern is not with his wife. It’s her birthday but he made their dinner reservation for 7:30 so he can play and then immediately head to a restaurant and be a good husband as he tries to listen to her talk about her day while resisting the urge to mention the goals/fights he got into tonight. No word on if a shower is involved in his plans. Either way, from what I saw in the final few games of last season the Stern/Neil combo is going to be electric but I don’t think it will be enough. Zeppelin rolls. Over also spicy.
The Lavender Llamas (+105)
Hungry Hippos 2.0 (-150)
Over 6.5 (-120)
Under 6.5 (-120)
Notes: I discovered a fairly surprising stat while fielding the standard litany of complaints after the draft lottery: in 11 seasons, no team with the #1 pick has even made the championship game, let alone won a championship. They have, however, finished in last place multiple times. This begs the question of whether it’s just coincidence, if it’s just tough to build from that spot in the snake, or if it’s simply cursed. Thus far, the curse theory seems the most probable as Phelps is out, Pags is in Greece and now Sam is out with the flu. Incidentally, Simon also woke up today sick and he was supposed to sub in goal for lavender (Geskin now gets the call). And Simon is also the reason Jack will not be playing since he took him rock climbing and apparently Tonya Harding-ed him. The outsized impact Simon has had on this game has a lot of people questioning their friendships with him and word is the Herbers family is looking into private security for the remainder of the season. In any case, while Annie’s business acumen will never be in question, personnel losses may be too much to overcome tonight as black’s scoring depth earns its money by coming through for their fallen teammate Jack who will be behind the bench coaching everyone how to play with finesse while launching 20 shots over the net per game. These teams asked for a best of 3 this season, which was not easy to schedule, and it’s a shame this first matchup will be played with so many absences. Then again, I’m sure Hicks won’t complain if it leads to a win. 5-2 Hippos.
The Mighty Mensches (+2.5 Goals) (-110)
Blueberry Bulldogs (-2.5 Goals) (-130)
Over 6.5 (-120)
Under 6.5 (-120)
Notes: It may surprise some to learn that I had a hand in naming only one of these two teams and it was not my own. Corey told me about a year ago that The Blueberry Bulldogs are apparently the name of the hockey team in Shoresy, a comedy about hockey that Canadians seem to love. With his fiancee on the team, it felt like the right time to deploy it and save myself the standard 5 hour brainstorming team names incorporating blue and sex sesh. Meanwhile I had suggested the Maccabee Mensches as a potential name for Yeshiva, was shot down but got at least a piece of it in there. At least it was better than Jack’s suggestion.
Anyways, the Mensches struggled in game 1 but it was a bit of a weird one; the first ball hockey game in years for many of them, played under a weird cloud of Canadian wildfire smoke and with all their girls calling out of the game that morning. Tonight they’ll be missing one of their top guys from last week but will have a few of the dudes they were missing along with all their ladies. They’ll also get Craig Lacombe making his D5 debut subbing in goal and with his kids in the stands. Meanwhile blue will have a full roster minus the guy who I know nothing about except that he has maybe the best hockey name of all time (Gunnar Nixon). He also shares his name with a world famous decathlete but I have confirmed it is not the same person. Tough game to handicap considering last week’s Mensches game is somewhat unreliable from a predicting future performance standpoint while blue hasn’t played yet. But as long as Wes doesn’t ghost me, I’m taking the blue -2.5 line.
MelRose Place (-120)
Julie’s Football Club (-120)
Over 6.0 (-120)
Under 6.0 (-120)
Notes: AJ is out for orange as is current league leading scorer Jo Robin (although that might change after tonight). Also out is Dave Liang who missed Friday but still showed up at Dorrian’s for flip cup where he beat Tarnow (winning me $25) and losing to Tash (which I wisely refused to cover bets for). Late into the night he asked me to delete the Tash video but there was zero chance of that happening. Unrelated but I also found a video of Hicks giving too anonymous women (maybe Amanda) a group hug while someone (probably me) yells “whores.” I cannot really speak to exactly what was going on there but with the recent mention of the word whores this felt as good a time as any to pay tribute to former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi who passed away yesterday and, in another life, surely would have played in D5.
As far as the game itself, you’re on your own trying to handicap this one. Both teams are suffering severe absences here with Storer and Ryan Levine out for yellow. Orange has the losses I mentioned earlier but they still have Kev and they still have Tash and that counts for a lot along with some solid late round depth. I think at full strength orange is the easy favorite but with all the personnel losses, straight up coin flip seems the fairest scenario here, possibly with the slightest of edges going to the under.
Blueberry Bulldogs (-155)
Shooting Blancs (+115)
Over 6.5 (-120)
Under 6.5 (-120)
Notes: Blue’s 2nd game of the night and white’s 4th game of the season, the most in the league. Schedule is partially front-loaded because McCauley is traveling for some of July and planning on being injured for the other part but there may be some benefit in getting more games together quickly while other teams are still hitting their stride. White sure did look solid last week in picking up 5 of a possible 6 standings points with Cara leading the way with a hat trick in one game and the shootout winner in the other. Simon meanwhile begged me yesterday to sub as many games in net as possible, then called out of all of them this morning but is still playing in this one. Make no mistake, blue will be attacking him all game and I will be instructing the refs to look the other way if Wes bodyslams him or throws him over the fence. This is a difficult game to handicap as well; white looked great on Friday, not so much last Tuesday while blue will be on the back-end of a doubleheader with a ton of unknown players in their first night of game action this season. Yehuda also told me that he did not like blue’s draft and then he bet on Simon/Cara to outscore me/Cherie. Past head-to-heads don’t really matter a ton in a league where teams are redrafted every season but I should note that Simon has never beaten blue in his D5 career. I don’t think that’s changing tonight. Blue to win and make Yehuda very sad (well, moreso than he is already).