Can the Garden State powerhouse keep it up, and is the Blaze manager their Board One?
This week, at long last, the Chicago Blaze come up against the New Jersey Knockouts, the Eastern Division leaders and the only 4-0 team in the league. The pressure the Knockouts must feel at having to risk their perfect record against a 1-3 team recently described on the USCL Web site as “struggling” has got to be enormous, but they’re pros, and on game night no doubt they’ll be ready to give it their all.
They’d better be. Because like so many teams that have faced the Blaze this season and last, the Knockouts are burdened with a large overall ratings advantage. This week, in fact, they outrank their Chicago opponents on every board. Here’s what they’re up against (the Blaze players are in bold. We have White on Boards 2 and 4):
GM Joel Benjamin (2641) vs. IM Jan van de Mortel (2456)
SM Mackenzie Molner (2446) vs. IM Angelo Young (2325)
IM Albert Kapengut (2379) vs. IM Mehmed Pasalic (2346)
NM Andrew Ng (2182) vs. NM Eric Rosen (2164)
New Jersey Average Rating: 2412
Chicago Average Rating: 2323
Glenn Panner and Jersey’s GM Joel Benjamin are one and the same person. Does anyone know for sure? Like the many purported Elvis sightings by people claiming to have seen the King of rock and roll alive, rumors of Glenn and Joel being spotted together have never been confirmed.
To add to the mystery, Glenn says he will miss this week’s match and will hand the reins for the evening over to Assistant Manager Daniel Parmet, who ably steered the Blaze to victory two weeks ago against Tennessee. The reason for Glenn’s absence? I don’t know, but GM Joel is playing Board 1 for Jersey. . . .
What do you think? Please vote in the poll in the right-hand column.