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Assessing the SHC West

With the SHC North meeting the SHC West in the interconference part of season 5, our star reporters have taken a closer look at the teams there. Here is their report on the West division.

Hertha: “Another division that is hard to analyse, Günther! How come we always end up with these troublesome tasks…?”

Günther: “Relax, Hertha. This is what they pay us the big money for. And it’s really not that hard… Let us start at the bottom, for a change.”

Hertha: “Ah, yes. I can do that. Sharks has been lingering at the bottom of the league for two seasons, now, but are slowly recovering. No team had a better post-season, and with a lot of new drafts they improved their team value by 540 points, and were ranked #16 at the start of the season, ahead of teams like Thunder, Scimitars, Eagles and our own crimson heroes. Team value isn’t all though, and their coach, although learning fast, is still one of the less experienced in the league. On top of that, they have started with 3 losses and also lost two class players in Bailey and Janetti. We believe the Sharks and their coach are steadily improving, but it will still not be enough for something better than last in the division.”

Günther: “For divisional winners we have picked the White Wolves. Although the Knights actually have a higher team value, we believe that the Wolves are better balanced, more effective and far more destructive than the Knights. They have class blockers like big guy Casey Hayward and blitzers Fletcher Cox and killer blitzer Denis Brown, and quarterback Bledsoe and catcher Wright can handle the scoring. And if we needed any more confirmation, the Wolves have beaten both the Wreckers and the Greenskins in their first two matches. They will be on the top again for sure this season.”

Hertha: “The biggest question mark is whether second place will go to the Marauders or the Knights. Knights have a higher value team, but have had problems in season 4 and season 5 to convert their value into wins. They just about qualified to the play-offs last season, as Vikings lost to triple C in their last game and had to relinquish the play-off spot to the Knights. It didn’t do them much good, as the Knights got floored in their first play-off game by the Greenskins who shattered their team by making three kills and seriously injuring two more, among them legendary blitzer Bish Bosh, who got his ankle smashed. Their coach is a smart one, though, but we still have the feeling that the Knights are slowly, but surely regressing.”

Günther: “Marauders, on the other hand, are improving at a steady rate. Their team is getting better and meaner, and their coach has settled and found his form and playstyle. They started out optimistically, but got a big blow to their ambitions when superstar big guy Brian Schwenke got killed in their first match of the season vs Legion. We do believe though, that Marauders will have to wait another season before they can match the Knights. So Knights in second place and Marauders in third, but none of them will make play-offs this year. There are simply too many good teams in the other divisions and we believe Vikings, Avalanche, Rangers and Legion are closer to a wild card than the Knights.”

Hertha: “And what about the interconference matches between SHCN and SHCW?”

Günther: “I can’t see how the Sharks can manage any of the teams in SHC North. I would also favour all the SHC North teams against the Marauders, particularly with Schwenke gone. Let’s say 70-30 for Wolfskins and Vikings, and 60-40 for Grizzlies and CCC. Knights should have an even chance against the SHC North teams, except possibly for the Wolfskins who have the same strengths as Knights, but not the weaknesses. White Wolves is better than Grizzlies and CCC, and is a true match for the Vikings and the Wolfskins as well.”

Hertha: “Right. And for exciting interdivisional matches, look for the Knights vs Marauders match in week 4, and then as the white wolves takes on first the Knights in week 6 and then the Marauders in week 7. Deciding matches for the interdivisional rivalries.”

Günther: “And there are also exciting interconference matches. The expected battle of the top teams comes as early as week 4 with White Wolves facing Wolfskins, a match were Wolfskins will be short two top players, blitzer Wilson and strong lino Ansah, after the debacle with the Cascade in week 3. Knights have already lost against the Vikings in week 3, a narrow loss that nevertheless could be crucial in determining wild-card spots. And finally, Vikings are up against the expected top SHCW team White Wolves in week 5.”

Hertha: “So much of the best games in this match-up will be decided early on. Get your tickets today so you won’t miss out on the fun!”

Brought to you by Hertha Wendlinger and Günther Schiele, Carroburg Tageszeitung.