Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Bleeder of the Pack preview

The four home teams of the Minnesota RollerGirls return to the legendary Roy Wilkins Auditorium this Saturday at 7:30pm. The Dagger Dolls and the Rockits have each scored an early march on the trek to the finals; now the Rockits and the Dolls will play for a near-lock in the Championship bout as they meet on the flat track. Likewise, both the reigning champions Atomic Bombshells and Garda Belts need a win this weekend to stay in reasonable contention for the January finals.

Atomic Bombshells vs Garda Belts:
Last year, the Bombshells took this bout by playing an uncharacteristically defensive game (67-42). The Bombshell pack holed up Suzie Smashbox and kept her to under forty points, while Mae Gusta and Venus Thightrap combined to score sixty.

It'll be a different game this time. Here's why:
  • We have a Thightrap down: Yeah, this is a little heartbreaking. Days before the MNRG All-Star trip to Chicago, Venus went down with a ligament tear. She skated against Charm City in the tournament, but Venus - one of MNRG's honest-to-goodness triple threats - was not at the top of her game. She's out for the foreseeable future. We also lost Mae Gusta this summer...but L'exi-cuter remains. The jammer threat for the ABS will likely revolve around the Canadienne speedster, but it might also be some rookie's night to shine; Hurtrude Stein, Smoka Hontas, and Freeze Baby have all been trying out the Bombshell jammer star. That's not to mention Lizzy the Axe's confident resurgence at the jammer line in October's match against the Rockits.
  • Garda scorers a-plenty: We've been waiting for the Gardas to put forward some jammers that can work off their defensive play. Looks like Cassie Rolle, Sintripetal Force, and transfer Shiva Shank'n have stepped up and may be regularly jamming alongside the Garda jammer Suzie Smashbox. This is fantastic news; the Gardas may finally have the jamming problem under control.
  • The pack that remains: The outcome of this match will come down to how well one pack can stay on the track. Both teams had their foul troubles in October, and several players came within a foul or two of being sent out of the game. That's an unsustainable solution, particularly because many of those same players come in jam after jam as key members of the pack. In the forty-minute match that we play, a team cannot give up so egregious a pack advantage. The team that keeps their head on the track will take this game.
  • POWER JAM: There's one stat that may be troubling for Garda fans. Garda jammers went to the box six times in the bout against the Dagger Dolls and over a third of their jams were affected by their jammer in the box. As always, no jammer on the track means that the team cannot score. What's worse for the Gardas is that this year's Bombshells have showed a strong ability to capitalize on the power jam. Every time an opposing jammer went to the box in their match against the Rockits, the Bombshells scored at least ten on the opportunity - often much more. For the Gardas to succeed, their jammers must not get caught up in the penalty net.
Likely to play:
Atomic Bombshells
BOOMbay Safire
Bully Jean
Chinese Take-Out
Diamond Rough (Co-Captain)
Flora Flipabitch
Freeze Baby
Hurtrude Stein
Jocelyn D' Jewels
Lizzy the Axe
Madame de Stompadour
Mitzi Massacre
Smoka Hontas
Skullateral Damage
Tara Skatesov
Venus Thightrap (Co-Captain - expected to bench coach)

Garda Belts
Anita Spankston (Co-Captain)
BethAnne Destruction
Betty LaRude
Cassie Rolle
Citizen Pain (Co-Captain)
DieAnne Isis
Dropkick Donna
Glam Slam
Lola Blackenblue
Moto Fluzzy
Rita Rawkus
Shiva Shank'n
Sintripetal Force
Stacy Wreckt
Suzie Smashbox
Wolf Bite

Rockits vs Dagger Dolls:
We could tell you more about the last meeting between the DDs and the Red Menace than the score (Rockits 129 - Dolls 37), but that'd be a bit ridiculous. The Rockits are - as ever - playing very well this year...but this year's Dolls are a whole new story, one that defies comparison with last season's 0-4 record for the women in pink. The Dolls stopped their losing streak (eleven straight losses) with a stunning win against the Gardas (168-36) in October and they have every indication that they are CHARGING after the Skate this year. Will they run headlong into the Rockits? Read on.
  • The Battle of the packs: Consider this. The core of the Rockit pack have been playing together for at least four years. Think about that for a second. In a sport as young as ours, these women have stuck together and play together like few other home teams. And then. Here come the Dagger Dolls. Unlauded, frustrated, on a multi-year losing streak...yet they contain the Gardas and keep them under forty. The defensive pack now has this new Dolly blood as well as the old...Tiki Torture's mouthy, awesome play linking up and killing alongside Dagger Doll stalwart Norah Torious. Madison transfer Juke Boxx now keeps the back of the pack clean with Shiver Me Kimbers, while Wonderbroad and Naughty Kitty hold the front.
    It's like someone just added PBR to some secret powder - poof! Instant pack threat. Like the old one, built off of Dolls of the past, but able to execute just that much better. The Dolls appear to have both chosen well with their drafts and have integrated their transfers quickly. The question is whether the New Dolly Order will hold against the Rockits' long experience of working together.
  • Vue's bad day: Another injury that it is our sad duty to report. Vuedoo Prodigy's ankle gave out an hour before the qualifying bout against Charm in Chicago. She tried very hard to skate it out, but she had to be scratched from the roster at the very last minute. As of this writing, we are uncertain as to Vuedoo's state, but she is not expected to skate this bout. Now, here's the thing. Vue was last year's league-wide MVP. She skated more jams in this season's first bout than any of her teammates, and she's part of the terrifying Rockit rear blocker duo (along with Honeydew Felon) that's stymied opposing jammers for years. With Vue out of the back for this bout, Honeydew Felon and other Rockit blockers will have to continue to take on additional rear patrol duties. This injury leaves a hole - how big depends on the Rockits' ability to fill it.
  • Battle in the back: Dagger Doll jammers Psycho Novia, Juke Boxx, Man Jar, Angelfire, Lydia Punch, and Scootaloo all scored double-digits in the October bout. The Dolls are as deep as ever in terms of their jammer depth, but now they are getting the protection they need to score big. Meanwhile, the Rockits' rookie jamming marvel Commander Nicks and Rockit co-captain Scarmen Hellectra had huge 30+ point games and former Dagger Doll Patently Offensive performed in the clutch to win the game for the Reds against the Bombshells. Watch for the Doll defense to gun for their former teammate; while 'Leo' parted amicably with the DDs, there's a long tradition of Dolls showing their former members some extra attention on the track. The jammer matchups will be intense. Not only will each jam be a mad dash to the front, both teams field blockers that can play simultaneous offense/defense. The jammers will have very little time to use the lanes that their teammates clear before a fresh opposing blocker gets in their way.
Expected to play:
Commander Nicks
Coochie Coup
Cookies 'n Scream
Frau Scientits
Honeydew Felon
Kit Shinkicker
Konceal'n Kari
Pain Gretzky (Co-Captain)
Patently Offensive
Salvador Brawlie
Scarmen Hellectra (Co-Captain)
Trixie Whipsum
Wanda Wreckonwith

Dagger Dolls
Barbie Brawl
Gogo Galore
Hanna Belle Lector
Juke Boxx
Killaman Jaro
Lydia Punch
Naughty Kitty
Norah Torious
Norwegian Mafia
Olga Ogilthorpe
Ova Achieva
Psycho Novia (Co-Captain)
Shiver Me Kimbers
Tiki Torture
Wonderbroad (Co-Captain)

Last, important thing to note. Afterparty is at Station 4! Now, go get your tickets. As always, first 200 people in the door get a free t-shirt. Go on...get there early! What else is there to do on a Saturday afternoon? And...well, I'm forbidden to talk about that other thing. Just show up. You won't be sorry.

Reporting from the exact geographic center of roller derby,
-Garrison Killer

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