Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Scotties done, on to the Brier

With Rachel Homan and her squad packing for that curling hotbed of Riga, Latvia (note to skip: pack your own toilet paper), our attention turns to Edmonton where the top male rock-tossers are gathering to battle for the national title.

Lots of preview stuff to get through in the next few days, starting with Terry Jones’ fine look at Johnny Mo, who tells The Large One of how Earle used to punish him by putting him on top of a rock and tossing it down the ice. Wonder if someone would call the police on Major Morris these days for cruel and unusual punishment of a child?

One of my first memories was as a four-year-old, when my dad put me on top of a rock at the Navy Curling Club in Ottawa and threw it down the ice.”
His dad Earle owns a record representing three different provinces as a skip at the Brier — Manitoba in 1980, Quebec in 1982 and Ontario in 1985 — when the Canadian Armed Forces kept moving him around.
“I was born in Winnipeg but he got posted to Quebec that year. We moved to Ottawa after that. I loved growing up in Ottawa. Dad left the military for a while so we could keep the kids in school there and then ended up, to end his career in the military, staying in Ottawa. As far as I’m concerned I grew up in one of the best cities in Canada. I grew up in sports. Hockey. Baseball. Curling. Everything.”
The prolific Jonesy who can fill a notebook faster than you can fill a cup with a fire hose, also has a nice look at defending champion Glenn Howard. He asked if Howard was more proud of his 15th Brier or winning eight straight in Ontario.

“But the stat I like the most isn’t actually either of them.The one that's my favourite is winning a Brier in four different decades, 25 years apart."The first one was right here in Edmonton back in 1987. "It was my second Brier. In 1986 in Kitchener-Waterloo losing the final to Alberta's Ed Lukowich. But we were right back at it next year and we beat Bernie Sparkes, who was a legend back then," he said of playing third for brother Russ on a team which featured Tim Belcourt at second and Kent Carstairs throwing lead rocks. "Edmonton has been pretty good to me."

 Nova Scotia’s Kelly Mittelstadt got some ink in his local bugle, with the Truro Daily News offering up a story on the lawyer. Mittelstadt will be heading to his home town of Edmonton to play for skip Paul Flemming’s rink.

“Edmonton’s my home town, so that’s the first reason and this is the reason we curl,” he said. “We are by no means professionals, so this is the pinnacle of Canadian curling – to try and get to one of these events, so that’s what you spend six months of the year working towards. And the atmosphere is great. Anytime you can get upwards of 14,000 people out to watch a game at a time, it’s really neat to be part of that Canadiana.”
Almost wants to make you buy a flag, drink a pint of maple syrup and wear a Mountie stetson, doesn't it?

 Meanwhile Don Landry at Yahoo! takes the high road to ensuring a good seat on the media bench at the next event by praising the bronze-medal game, you know the one with the pot-splitting and hangovers (at least for the men).

He says that despite some of the bashing, there’s good curling involved. A TSN2 audience of 287,000 agrees with him.

But I come to praise the game, not to ask to have it buried.
Once again, Sunday's bronze medal game at The Scotties showed there is plenty of reason to want to see it played. Scott bested Nedohin 10-8 to nab a bronze to go along with last year's silver. Oh, and the two championships she's won as well.
As has been the case each and every time this game has been played at both The Scotties and The Brier, Scott and Nedohin engaged in an entertaining affair, filled with interesting scenarios fueled by a bit of a devil-may-care attitude towards strategy.
It's not that the players don't care about the outcome. If they didn't, why would both Scott and Nedohin call timeouts during a nervous tenth end? The players do care, because that's what they do. They care when they step on the ice. It's just that when the stakes are not a gold medal and a trip to the world championships, you can allow your inner gambler to take centre stage.

No comments: