1. THE MULLETS ñOriginally, I had the Mullets at the #2 due to the fact that all world Jay Sar was cut from this team by the slightly inebriated Usuck Chang on that fateful summer night at the í99 (hey, we all say things we regret when we drink, but I guess they have made nice b/c they are playing together in the A1). But with the news of Tom ìBigshotî Biggins unfortunately out for the season with an ankle injury, The Mullets now have to be considered the top seed coming off back to back titles. With All-Stars Chang and Danny OíConnell, the improved play of fellow Italian Dave Colanto, the controversial return of former SHS tennis star Joe Korba, and the bankroll of Johnny Drama Mike D, the B2 title will go through Saugus once again. By the way, the B2 Championship dish currently resides at Mike Dís house and apparently made an appearance at the Pats home opener. I donít think the Mullets plan on giving it back, and they wonít have to if they take care of business and win their 3rd straight title. And I am still waiting for my steak and cheese from J&M, extra cheeseÖ
1A. SERENITY NOW ñ In the spirit of D. Wayne Lukas (although I am anti-horse racing), I had to have a 1 and 1A entry into this preview. The Good King Adam Kneeland pounded the courts of Cambridge and finally recruited a Jay Sar stopper in the off-season. The problem is, Jay Sar isnít playing in B2 this season (thanks to Usuckís low tolerance for the 99ís beers), and that spells d-o-o-m for the rest of the league as an already very good team has gotten so much better with that one off-season move. The loss of Tom Biggins (get well soon, Tom) will definitely hurt this team, but their new gun Paul Krezanoski will soon have everyone asking ìJaySar who?î The Good King has played in almost every CRFC pick-up game since the season ended, so his game has greatly improved. So watch out league ñ SN may finally be ready overtake their arch rival Mullets for the crown.
3. MILLENIUM ñ Last yearís B2 East Finalists are back with the exact same team, adhering the ever popular ìif itís broke, donít fix itî school of thought. ìMr. Fantasy Statî Fred Bermont may have some trouble adjusting to the fact that we no longer have mirrors on the walls, but hotshots Ken Doyle and Kevin Huestis should provide enough spark to get this team on track for a long awaited CRFC title. A little defensive help wouldnít have hurt this team during the off-season, but maybe they are banking on team chemistry to be their winning formula. And speaking of chemistryÖ
4. RIPCORD ñ I am not sure if Ian Whitney actually attended his chemistry classes at Littleton High School, but he signed superstar Ian Tosti off the summer waiver wires. I am not sure exactly how he did it (maybe he invited him over to his attic apartment for a few home-cooked meals over the break), but the bottom line is that Ian really improved this teamís chances of winning it all. With both Tosti and Iceman on your squad (tentatively labeled Fire and Ice), you are in every game. But I say tentatively because you never know how two superstars will mix (just ask the Philadelphia Eagles) and Whitney will have his GM hands full all season long. Rob Gendron is back from injury to replace the fancy pants Harvard MBA Dave Fielding and Jeff Nally is coming off his own injury plagued season looking to return to his high scoring self. Mark your calendars for this teamís 1st meeting with arch rival Millenium on Halloween during the CRFC Rivalry Week (the Mullets also play Serenity Now that same week).
5. CHA-CHING ñ Gone are the days that Cha-Ching was by far the most talented team in the league. B2 East will have 9 very solid teams in it this season and there will be very few easy weeks for any team, if any. The loss of Scott Wentworth will hurt this team on the defensive end of the floor especially, but their replacement Brian Greenburg will add some much needed size to the frontline. The usual suspects Gibson, Koska, Emery and Kuzdeva are back, so will Captain Ciancolo finally get his title after two consecutive seasons of under-achieving? Attendance will also be a key to this teamís success, so stay tuned.
6. BALCO ñ Last seasonís B2 West champs travel East to see exactly what they are made of. They gave the Mullets all they could handle last year in the B2 Finals, but still have a lot of questions to be answered before they can be considered contenders in the East. Has superstar point guard Matty OíBrienís ankle finally 100% healed? Has MVP candidate Matt Gill buried the hatchet with the CRFC staff after last seasonís Papi-esque coments about the awards? Will Pellitier finally get his 1st well deserved technical at CRFC? Lots of question marks for these guys, but if they all get answered positively early in the season, they could be this leagueís biggest sleeper.
7. DRAGO ñ With Josh ìMVî Piekaski focusing his time and effort on establishing himself in A1, it doesnít take a basketball genius to figure out that this team has taken a serious hit. But maybe it will result in the emergence of other players like McNabb, Lefave and St. Martin? I assume Porter will be bringing the ball up as their entire game plan from last season has to be retooled. But if we have learned one thing from Rocky IV, itís to never underestimate an opponent from Russia. These game are not exhibitions ñ donít be their Apollo Creed.
8. SOLID GOLD ñ Tom Duval finally gets back with his old buddy Jon Hanson to reunite the team that one it all in the 1st ever B league in 2004. Of course, we all know that the league is much more competitive nowadays, but so is Solid Gold with superstud Mark Martineau and Hanson taking care of the scoring, Selinger taking care of the rebounding, and Duval taking care of everything else. Theyíll surprise a few teams as they are always underrated when they come into games in this league.
9. BIOGEN ñ My man Jeff Bowen has assembled a very solid squad with All-Star Thomas Grupee, All-Star snubs Todd Cogdell, Van Tran and Zoran Sosic from the B2 West Finalist BGEN squad. I think the key for this team will be the play of the newcomer John Schmid who I hear is quite a presence underneath, as is Bowen if his knee can hold up throughout the season. If he plays well and can score, then this team could throw a few scares into this league as they, along with BALCO, decide to test themselves in the East.