Pretty Peeved

2012 Team Preview: Smoke City Betties

2012 Smoke City Betties

  Wins Losses +/- Notes
2011 Regular Season 0 3 – 170 Fourth Place for second straight year.
2011 Playoffs Did not qualify for playoffs.

2011

When a team goes 0-3 on the season (throw in a two-and-done at the Beast of the East on top of that) and doesn’t manage to score more than 63 points in a bout, it’s hard to say that team had a successful year. Yet that is exactly what could be said about the Smoke City Betties.

The Betties ended 2011 on a high note with an exhibition win over the Hamilton Harlots. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

It’s been a tumultuous few season for the Betties since an appearance in Battle for the Boot 3 in 2009. After that great early ToRD team burst apart, twelve rookies stepped onto the track for the team in 2010. The results were what one would expect. That year the Betties had an average margin of loss of a staggering 191 points. Within one season (only two more rookies were added for 2011) the team managed to orchestrate a nearly complete turnaround, more than halving that average to 77 points. On top of that, they found success outside of ToRD, pulling off a nail biter in Ottawa over the Riot Squad and closing out 2012 with a confidence-boosting win over the Hamilton Harlots 164-75 in October. Despite the last place finish for the second consecutive season, these Betties have a lot to look forward to.

Five-year skater Pretty Peeved called it a career in 2011. (Photo by Joe Mac)

LOSSES AND GAINS

The Betties are truly nearing the end of the team’s rebuild with Memphis Kitty and Hot Roller the only remaining skaters on the roster from that great 2009 team, and this off season saw the retirement of two more vets along with the stepping aside of two sophomore skaters. Five-year vet Pretty Peeved, who began her career as a Bruiser, emerged as a post-2009 leader on the track and was a key pivot for the Betties during the last two seasons. The Betties also lost Lacy Brawler from the pack; the skater who was one of the leaders of the team in track time in 2010 saw that number dip in 2011. P. Doddy and Diva Zapata, two of the twelve 2010 rookies also hung up their skates in the off season, leaving four spaces open on the roster.

Rookie Renny Rumble (#1205) has the potential to contribute right away. (Photo by Kevin Konnyu)

2012’s draft was easily the deepest yet, and the Betties filled out their roster nicely. Two of the more experienced draftees, Laya Beaton and Renny Rumble, seem to be the most track-ready perhaps of the whole draft. Renny was a dominant skater for the D-VAS in 2011, proving to be a triple threat, excelling at all positions. Laya Beaton was a force on the track who had exhibited some penalty problems early in the year but seemed to clean up as the season went on. Slaptrick Swayze and General Patten are less experienced, but also show a ton of potential. Swayze is a calm, collected presence and positionally focused, key on the track for a team still finding itself, while Patten is a life-long skater who is certainly someone to watch for as her track-sense and knowledge of the game increases.

Both BruiseBerry Pie (left) and Tropic Thunder will be key multi-position players this season. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

BY POSITION

The Betties also picked up a new bench manager this season, plucking former D-VAS Raunchy Hextall (whose injury problems led to her retirement from competition) to run the bench, hopefully filling a hole that has been a constant gap for the team. Misery Mae and titmouse are co-captains for the 2012 Smoke City Betties, and will bring a fresh perspective to the team leadership role.

Pivot:  Pretty Peeved led the way with the stripe in 2011, sharing duties especially with Hot Roller and BruiseBerry Pie. Lady Scorcher and Mia Culprit also pivoted in 2011 and with their experience will undoubtedly be called upon to make up the gap this season. Misery Mae, who had a standout rookie year in 2011 has also shown a confidence to lead the packs and could be a key component of the team in 2012 and moving forward.

Second-year skater Rug Burn will be a key part of a deep jammer rotation. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

Blocker: The Betties have slowly developed a very balanced pack. Led by the versatile Mia Culprit, the Betties can hit hard with the likes of Sin D Drop-Her and Laya Beaton, but also have positionally sound blockers in Tropic Thunder and Mouth of the South. Grim Avenger, who slipped into a bit of sophomore slump last season, seems on the cusp of becoming a core component of the pack, while for Geniune Risk, another third-year skater, this third year could be the year she steps up as well. But with a year of D-VAS experience under their belts, don’t count out Swazye and Renny Rumble as key contributors this season as well.

Jammer: With primary pack skaters like BruiseBerry Pie and Tropic Thunder able to jam when needed, the Betties have slowly developed a deep rotation of jammers. Led by Memphis Kitty and titmouse, who were the busiest jammers in 2011, rookie Rug Burn was a standout first-year skater last year and Platinum Bomb is growing into the role, while Sail Her Poon (who is a potential triple threat) and Wolverina (who is making her much anticipated return to the track in 2012) fill out the growing stable of jammers. On top of that, rookie General Patten looks like a key candidate to join this deepening rotation.

Along with the Dolls vs. Betties showdown, CN Power will also be hosting Roc City in a WFTDA bout.

EXPECTATIONS

Expectations for the Betties grow each year and in 2012 they have reached a new height. In many ways, on the track this team resembles the Smoke City Betties of 2008: a team loaded with talent that seems on the verge of bringing it all together but may not quite be there yet. That 2008 team would lose in the semi-finals to the Gore-Gore Rollergirls, but would appear in the championship game just one-year later. While it may be a bit much to think this team capable of challenging for the Boot this year, it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise if this year’s team competes with the Death Track Dolls for that final playoff spot, a battle that will begin at the season opener for the two teams.

2011 STATS HIGHLIGHTS

  • BruiseBerry Pie was a triple threat in 2011, appearing in 60% of her team’s jams spread out over the three positions. At 49% and 48% respectively, Lady Scorcher and Pretty Peeved  were also hovering around that 50% mark. Memphis Kitty was the busiest jammer (33% with the star) with titmouse right behind her (28%).
  • BruiseBerry Pie led most blocking categories for the team including blocks (with Mia Culprit and Pretty Peeved just behind her), knockdowns (Mia again in second) and assists.
  • Memphis Kitty led the team in scoring with 68 points (1.66 points per jam).
  • BruiseBerry Pie also racked up the most penalty minutes (but with 8 for 75 jams, it was not as bad a percentage as it seems). Lady Scorcher had a remarkably clean year, sitting only one minute in the box despite being on the track for 61 jams over three games.

**The Betties kick off 2012 with a showdown against the Dolls at the Bunker in Downsview Park. CN Power will be hosting Roc City (Rochester, NY) in a WFTDA sanctioned bout to kick off the double header. Doors open a 5:00PM. Tickets available online and at select locations.

Dolls and Betties Tussle for a Playoff Spot

The Dolls took the last year's meeting between these two teams, 213-53.

Death Track Dolls (0-1) vs. Smoke City Betties (0-1)

In 2011 there are no playoffs for the ToRD’s 4th place team, which means that starting the season 0-2 could potentially end the championship dreams of either the Smoke City Betties or the Death Track Dolls. But playoff hopes aside, there is a lot more at stake for these two teams at this early stage of the year; namely, pride. Both teams entered 2011 with high hopes. After a year of being the league’s doormat, the Betties drafted for experience and relied on the memories of all those painful 2010 learning experiences to drive them forward into a new era. The Dolls, who had recently gone through growing pains of their own, competed in 2010, going toe-to-toe with Battle for the Boot finalists the Chicks until the second half of last season’s semifinal; nonetheless, with the least amount of roster change this off season, hopes were high.

So it was met with great disappointment when both of these teams struggled out of the gate. The Dolls looked flat in their bout against a Gore-Gore Rollergirls squad loaded with rookies (though they managed some inspired pushes at various moments), while the Betties looked far from unified in their effort against the Chicks Ahoy! relying on the strong individual play of a few key players to keep them in it at all. Needless to say, both teams will be looking for a lot more in this one.

The Dolls will rely on their veteran pivots to control the packs and keep things tight. (photo by Sean Murphy)

THE DOLLS WIN IF…

They play a smart (clean) and simple game. That worked for the Chicks against the Betties and there is no reason to think that it won’t again. A big part of the reason that the Dolls looked overmatched in their season opener was due to a tendency to continue to play an individual game. While this won’t be as big of an issue against the Betties as it was against the ultra-organized Gores, if the Dolls want to take that next step in the competitive ladder, they are going to have to step it up and buy into the types of systems that separate the top teams from the bottom. Following the leads of experienced pivots Panty Hoser, Monichrome and Dolly Parts’ Em will be key. They’ll also have to play a fairly clean bout as well, and their 32 minors against the Gores was only three less than the amount the Betties picked up against the Chicks.

Betty Bomber has become a key jammer for the Dolls, but her presence in the pack is missed. (photo by Kevin Konnyu)

Offense could be the most interesting story in this one. The Dolls jammers ate up the Betties last season, with Land Shark, Betty Bomber and Audrey Hellborn all putting up big numbers. Hellborn’s out for the season and they have yet to find a suitable replacement for her: combined, Sharky and Bomber had the star for an amazing 90% of their team’s jams against the Gores. Remarkably, they seemed to hold up well under the pressure. Land Shark had a comparatively inconsistent season in 2010, but was back to her old self against the Gores, leading the offense as her team’s top rated jammer, scoring 24 points (1.04 PPJ) and managing a 43% lead percentage against formidable opposition. But not having much depth at the position means that Bomber, who is also important in the pack, is stuck playing a one-role game.

Betties vets like Pretty Peeved will be key in getting this team back on track. (photo by Sean Murphy)

THE BETTIES WIN IF…

Well…It’s not quite as simple for the Betties.

In a pre-season interview, when asked about the Betties, Dolls co-captain Betty Bomber said with confidence that “as long as [the Betties] can work together, they will be a team to look out for this season.” Portentous foreshadowing that didn’t play out in the season opener but could become a reality at any time. With an abundance of individual talent, the Betties need to put those pieces together in a unified effort; the Chicks dominated the pack against the Betties, and were unmatched in their walls and isolation strategies. But this Betties team was like a sponge last year, soaking up knowledge in the face of defeat, and that attitude seemed to persist after the opener this year: in post-bout interviews with ToRD.TV both Bruiseberry Pie and Sail Her Poon cited better pack strategies as a key for this team moving forward. It seems that the Betties need to define roles for themselves on the track and on the team, but determined play from veteran pivot Pretty Peeved and jammer Memphis Kitty is hopeful.

Sail Her Poon clears a path for titmouse during their 2011 season opener. (photo by Derek Lang)

While defensively, they held the Chicks to significantly less than the 266 points they managed last year, they were unable to generate any offense. Only Memphis Kitty managed to hit double digits (11 points—she was also the only jammer to manage over 30 % lead percentage). But a little help from a more-together pack could help titmouse continue to build on the invaluable experience she has been gaining with CN Power in 2011 (including a spirited effort against the Skids at the QCC). Sail Her Poon (who had a strong bout but didn’t jam against the Chicks) also has been jamming with the All Stars and managed some measure of success jamming against the Dolls last season, scoring 13 points. Tropic Thunder was also effective against the Dolls in 2010, leading the Betties in scoring with 18 points. While both she and Poon each managed only a 17% lead percentage, upon closer inspection you can see that those two were consistently matched against the Dolls’ top three jammers (Bomber, Land Shark and the currently injured Audrey Hellborn), making leads a hard thing to come by for the rookie jammers.

***Tickets for the April 16 bout are available online or at a number of downtown vendors. Doors at the Hangar open at 6:30 p.m., opening whistle at 7:30.

ToRD.TV sets up the bout with Dolls veteran (and ToRD.TV personality) Monichrome:

Chicks Smoke the Betties

BruiseBerry Pie made her much anticipated ToRD debut in the Betties' loss. (photo by Sean Murphy)

Smoke City Betties 22 vs. Chicks Ahoy! 131

There was a particular level of anticipation in the Hangar on Saturday night. There were many intriguing stories to follow, from how the new Smoke City Betties “veterans” would perform, to how the Chicks Ahoy! would be able to integrate the largest contingent of fresh meat they’d ever had. But the biggest question was how the actual bout would unfold; after last year’s 250 point blowout, how far had the Betties come? What we did learn was that despite the fact that the Betties are obviously a much better team than they were a year ago, there is still work to be done to get back to a competitive level. After faltering at the beginning of 2010, this year’s Chicks Ahoy! team has come roaring out of the gates, looking calm, organized and strategically sound on their way to an impressive season opening victory.

FIRST HALF

The Chicks' Dyna Hurtcha had a game high 54 points; titmouse had the most track time of her ToRD career. (photo by Sean Murphy)

After gaining considerable experience in a pre-season game in Ottawa, the Chicks had no problems lining up rookie jammer Kookie Doe against the vastly improved titmouse to kick this off. The rookie didn’t look out of place at all, going 4 and done to get her team on the board early (she’d finish with a solid 27 points). Dyna Hurtcha also came to play, laying down the law with some big hits in the pack, before donning the star and picking up points for her team. If Dyna’s level of play at this early stage of the season is any indication, the triple-threat and most-feared award winner of the 2009 season is back 100%. In the recent past, the Betties would not have had a response to a jammer as physical and unintimidated as Hurtcha, but this is a Betties team that looks ready to stand up to any physical challenge. In her ToRD debut, BruiseBerry Pie delivered in a big way, showing no fear in her willingness to go toe-to-toe with the fearsome Chicks pack. And while she was sometimes scattered and erratic when wearing the pivot’s stripe, she was often dominant as a blocker and scored some impressive jammer take outs.

Other veterans stepped up for the Betties as well. Memphis Kitty (who led the Betties with 11 points) continues to be a steadying and reliable presence on the track, helping an early push back that kept the Betties in the game, often facing off against Chicks’ veteran Candy Crossbones (a duo that has been doing battle for as long as this sport has been played in this city). After a smart 2 point call by titmouse, the Betties were certainly within reach, down 20-7, and looking prepared to take the game to the Chicks.

Chicks' Nasher the Smasher had her hands full against old opponent, Mia Culprit, who made her return to the track. (photo by Derek Lang)

With some sloppy, physical packs, this bout was perhaps defined by great one-on-one battles that occurred whether over the course of the bout or just within particular jams. Fifteen minutes in, at what could have been the turning point in the first half, two straight stalemates (followed by a Memphis Kitty single) left the game open for either team to take over. With Dyna Hurtcha on a run and looking to sway the momentum back in the Chicks’ favour, Betties’ co-captain Sail Her Poon stepped up to take her on. Despite bouncing off of the Chicks’ power jammer on the initial pass, Poon stayed on the case and managed a late-jam jammer take out on Hurtcha that limited the damage. But Candy Crossbones (who at this early stage in the year looks to be in as good a shape as she’s been since the Chicks’ 2008 championship season) had a fantastic bout with the star. Aided by amazing pack work from 2010 rookie stand out Marmighty, Candy was dominant on this night whether reeling in jammers and forcing calls or picking up critical points at crucial moments, the Betties didn’t have a response for the scrapper jammer. Memphis Kitty picked up a much needed grand slam on the last jam of the first half; but despite this, the continued physical dominance of Bruise, and a strong positional performance from Pretty Peeved (another skater who looks to be in top form early on this season), the Betties were still staring at a 48-15 deficit at the half.

SECOND HALF

Needing to come out strong to get back into this one, the Betties proved unable to rise to the challenge. With jammer Memphis Kitty in the box, and Dyna Hurtcha lined up for the power jam, the Betties failed to track a full set of blockers, leaving only the scrappy and effective Sail Her Poon to fend off the strong Chicks pack. In the most even of situations, the Chicks dominated the pack all night, putting up great front walls and responding well to their pivot’s direction, so it didn’t take long for Dyna Hurtcha to put up 15 points before Poon actually did her team a favour by being thrown in the box and forcing the refs to call the jam for the inability to form a pack. It was great opportunity for the Betties and Kitty made the most of it, taking lead right out of the box. She got caught up in a collision at the back of the pack on her scoring pass and was forced to call it. It would be a pivotal missed opportunity as Candy Crossbones threw down 9 points on the next jam to give the Chicks a formidable 91-16 lead.

Veteran pivot Pretty Peeved had a strong bout for the Betties. (photo by Joe Mac)

While the Betties clearly have the raw talent to pull things together and be competitive, their success this year will depend in large part on how well they come together as a team.  Along with the bench error (from a bench that seem to verge on over-emotional) there were smaller errors as well such as outscored lead jammers(though in fairness a lot of that was due to savvy jamming on the Chicks’ part, including from their confident rookie, Kookie Doe), or skaters unnecessarily being goated by out-of-play players. It was a typical early season bout, with the skaters only beginning to round into game shape, and therefore understandably mistake prone. And just as there were great individual performances, there were also great team moments as well: The recycling by the Chicks blockers and their ability to hold the front frustrated the Betties all night. And the Chicks’ rookies in the bout—Kookie Doe, Snap N Cooter, Red Light Roxy, and Balla Reina—blended in seamlessly, guided well by their veteran teammates.

The story was much the same for the duration of the second half (in which the Betties only managed 7 points). Despite some spirited play from Betties’ pivot Hot Roller and some big hits and strong defence from the Chicks’s blocker, Nasher the Smasher, long and frequent timeouts (prompting some energetic “Let’s Play Derby” chants from the fans) sapped the remaining energy from this one-sided match up  and the Chicks held the course, sailing away with a  131-22 victory.

Chicks' Marmighty (blocking Platinum Bomb) had an extraordinary start to her second season. (photo by Sean Murphy)

ON THE HORIZON

Despite the loss, the Betties have a lot to take away from this. Strong individual performances from the veteran core (and from their lone tracked rookie, D-VAS graduate, Misery Mae) will provide a great focus going forward. Their young core of jammers is continuing to grow, and titmouse played the biggest game of her young career, gaining valuable experience. As the year progresses the wisdom of drafting veterans BruiseBerry and Mia Culprit should become evident too, as both have a lot to offer this team. It will be interesting to see how unified this group can become before their next bout against the Death Track Dolls (April 16). Despite the changes to the lineup, the Chicks look like they are reading to pick up where they left off, and no doubt will carry a lot of confidence into their 2010 championship rematch against the Gore-Gore Rollergirls on April 9.

Check out the stats breakdown, updated standings and keep up with the 2011 JQ rating to track the league’s top jammers at the Stats Page. Keep an eye on ToRD.TV for a video recap and layer9’s bout footage.