With only 5 games left in the schedule, the first-round match-ups for the Season 5 playoffs are set. Each playoff team knows who they are going to play, with excitement ramping up all over the continent.
By one point in the standings, the Belfast Giants win the President’s Trophy as the best team in the regular season. That gives us five different winners in five years. Belfast edged Berlin in that race. The two teams met twice during the season and both games were close, with Belfast winning both by a single goal. On. Dec. 8, they won 3-2 in a shootout and on Jan. 17, the won 2-1. The surprise team of the year has to be the Minsk Hussars, who will finish 3rd overall.
In the races for 8th place and a playoff berth in each conference, Gothenburg and Geneva eventually lost out and won’t participate in a first round that will have major historical/geographic significance in a couple of series. The two Russian teams – St. Petersburg and Moscow – will battle each other as will the two teams from the Iberian Peninsula – Lisbon and Madrid.
In the EURO League office, the commissioner and Rose the accountant/business manager have been busy preparing their annual playoff predictions. To date, the two have yet to agree on single series prediction.
“She loves to brag when she correctly predicts a series winner,” said Commissioner Chuck Massaro. “But if I get one right, there’s never a ‘nice job’ or ‘hey, you really called that one’ … there’s just a bad mood. She’s not much of a gentleman.”
Rose, who was wearing a David Backes/Athens Greeks jersey in the office today while sorting through her box of greeting cards from Terry Moutafis, said she has a favorite team but isn’t going to disclose it just yet.
“I pick with my heart,” she said. “I do that with everything in my life. I have a favorite niece who I dote on and one I don’t like so much who I don’t really pay attention to. Never did. It may not be fair or logical, but it’s what my heart tells me to do and it works for me.”
Here is a list of who will be playing whom when the playoffs start:
- Edinburgh (#8 seed) vs, Belfast (#1)
- Dublin (#7) vs. Minsk (#2)
- St. Petersburg (#6) vs. Moscow (#3)
- London (#5) vs. Helsinki (#4)
- Prague (#8) vs. Berlin (#1)
- Zurich (#7) vs. Paris (#2)
- Madrid (#6) vs. Lisbon (#3)
- Bratislava (#5) vs. Athens (#4)