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Year of the Dragon


Juice

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The Highlights of a Short Stay in Washington DC | TravelPulse

The view of the city on Welch's entry to DC on his flight from Toronto.

 

It's been a long off-season, and without a doubt the most mentally tiring of Kristof Welch's career thus far. With the announcement of wanting to test Free Agency and then ultimately being agreed to be flipped to the D.C. Dragons from the Toronto Legion, the pinball of where his future lies in the league finally settled down now that he has made his way to his new team.

 

Looking towards the season, it was quite obvious that the Dragons would be a team that would push for the playoffs but maybe not make it as far as his old team. However, knowing that he could be the face of change, Welch was prepped for the challenge ahead. Knowing only a few teammates that he's actually spoken to more than once through the league off the bat in Groovy Dood ( @bigAL ), the Captain and star of the D.C. Dragons for his entire career, and Jiggly Gumballs ( @JigglyGumballs ), a no-nonsense physical defenseman who would compliment Welch's offensive game perfectly as a dynamic defensive duo, it was definitely a bit anxious to see how the locker-room would be as well as how the season would go with this team of hardened veterans and only a few players with only a few seasons under their belt (including Welch himself).

 

But looking at the how the 79th VHL Season has gone so far, I think there is a bit of a surprise in the league and in the NA conference. Shifting between 1st and 2nd in the NA conference, the D.C. Dragons are currently sitting at a record of 8-4-6, and although many of those are overtime/shootout losses, they are still one of the only teams in the league so far with a positive Goal Differential. Now with such firepower in the NA conference, this could be not an all season type thing as even the last place New York Americans are only 5 points out of 1st place in the conference, however I'd be firm to believe that the Dragons are not just a flash in the pan.

 

Speaking before-hand of what could be a dominating duo between both Welch and Gumballs, who both in their own right have had solid careers thus far but haven't been exactly dominate in their position, I think matching these two players together have brought the best out of both of their games. Gumballs, both a leader on the ice and in the locker-room right out of the gate joining the team, makes his presence known on the ice his entire career in a Scott Stevens-esque way. Throwing his body around is his game, and has never had less than 150 hits in a season and eclipsed the 200 hit mark twice, but his point totals always came out to be somewhere between a good top-4 and borderline top-2 blueliner with a few 60 points seasons but usually less. However this season, despite it being probably one of the last out of this aging defenseman, Gumballs is finally showing the league his true potential. Already with 20 points in 18 games as well as 53 hits and 33 shot blocks, Gumballs is sitting top-10 in defensemen scoring as well as top 15 in hits for defensemen. It is quite easy to say that D.C. might not near be the team they are currently without him manning the blue line and tossing aside players left and right while still scoring at an above point-per-game level. But alongside Gumballs as a defensive partner on the first pairing, Welch is also experiencing the untapped potential in this original top-5 selection only a few drafts ago. Similar to Gumballs in the sense of having good point total seasons but never really reaching that top defenseman level, Welch has finally put the tools together as a Dragon. Currently second in defensive scoring as well as top-15 in shot-blocks, Welch might be having the breakout season that can only be compared to his fellow former-Legion teammate Gunnar Odinsson ( @BOOM ) in Malmo who is currently torching the league as the best performing player in the league. Welch is currently sitting with a stat-line of 26 points in 18 games (with 8 of those points being goals already as well), with his defensive game still standing strong with 12 hits and 45 shot blocks. Only a quarter of the way through the season, it will be something to keep an eye on if the Jiggly Juice combo continues this performance together.

 

However, despite having a new look blue-line, the Dragons would be nothing without their fearless leader and captain Groovy Dood manning the way yet again. On his way to his 5th consecutive point-per-game season, Dood many not be dominate as of yet this season, but as one of the only stars on the forward core it is great to see that Dood who is also in one of his final seasons still put up great numbers with 24 points in 18 games, 11 of which are goals. And speaking of which, Dood currently sits top-20 in both points and goal totals as well as keeping up his trademarked physical game with 101 hits which sits him at second in the entire league in hits, which goes to show that the Dood has his captaincy for a reason with his all around remarkable game.

 

We asked Welch for a quick summary on his thoughts on how he's fit in with his new team thus far, and he had this to say, "I feel reinvigorated as a player in the league with the Dragons, and I have to give a lot of props to my General Manager @Enorama who took the chance on me despite me announcing that I wanted to test Free Agency. Knowing that he could have had me for free in Free Agency if I choose D.C. then, but still sent a package of picks for me makes me feel more motivated to be a better player for him and the team. I want this team to be a winning team, if not for the myself, but for the veterans like Groovy Dood or Jiggly Gumballs who never got the cup. I love being a Dragon, and I hope this core sticks together."

 

There is still a lot of time left in the season, and the standings and player performances can change on the dime, but the new look Dragons are gelling super well together thus far and time will tell if it will finally be the year the Dragons make a real run for the cup since a heart-breaking defeat back in S75.

 

(1116 words, claiming for 8/1 and 8/8)

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Every single season we try to rebuild the blue line to get us over the hump. Jiggly Juice might be the winning combo finally! (Any suggestions for a better nickname for our dynamic duo?)

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1 minute ago, bigAL said:

Every single season we try to rebuild the blue line to get us over the hump. Jiggly Juice might be the winning combo finally! (Any suggestions for a better nickname for our dynamic duo?)

You saying Jiggly Juice isn't the best duo name in the league? @JigglyGumballs to confirm as this is a heinous crime in my eyes

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2 hours ago, Juice said:

You saying Jiggly Juice isn't the best duo name in the league? @JigglyGumballs to confirm as this is a heinous crime in my eyes

I'd say Gummy Welches would be a slightly better name. Or worse depending on who's asking

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review: Splendid media spot Juice!! It was a joy to read really. Got the beautiful picture of DC that's like an establishing shot for Welch and great for the viewer, good amount of content that is spread out nicely and the mix of colors in here is great! It makes it more visually appealing to the reader I feel. We get to hear from the man Welch himself and he get some stats and an idea of the situation Welch is heading into. Overall fantastic post! 10/10

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Review:  One of the best pieces I've read when you look at it from the perspective of putting all the elements together.  The writing is really topnotch.  Longer descriptive sentences written with enough skill to stay punchy and easy to read in spite of their length.  The use of color helps draw our attention to the important player and facts without its use being so constant as to be gaudy.  Strong research into granular detail like how many hits a defenseman has notched over the seasons and how consistent they have been.  Great analysis about a great team.  9.5/10

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