So some notes on the wrap up of the Scotties and the upcoming Timmies Brier:
* The Scotties final was a wonderful game filled with all sorts of stuff: great shots, misses and a dramatic ending. That resulted in a huge television audience of around 1.2 million. Not a huge surprise there, really considering the high-profile Team Canada and a prime time start. But don’t forget this was up against the Academy Awards. The bigger surprise, to me, was the 870,000 that the bronze medal game drew. I have to admit to being stunned at that, although having an Ontario team is always a help because of the huge population base in that region.
* Charlottetown proved to be a tough place to leave. I’ve said that often when I’ve been there in the summer, but not so much in winter. A major winter storm hit late Monday, cancelling all the flights and forcing a major rebooking that meant some folks didn’t get home until three days after their scheduled departure. Amber Holland’s team, that was to fly out of Moncton, ended up spending an extra day at Chez Howard, sleeping on various beds and couches in Russ and Wendy’s suddenly converted Bed and Breakfast. I had a couple of extra days in PEI, which wasn’t awful considering there was great chowder at the Olde Dublin and great accommodation at Rodd’s Charlotttetown.
* Speaking of travel, Jennifer Jones didn’t stay home for long. She’s going to be in Toronto on Sunday conducting a clinic at the Bayvew Country Club and will likely head down to London after that.
* By the way, it was a One-Two-Three finish for Equalizer broom heads at the Scotties. Just sayin’.
* I really liked Kelly Scott’s words on the ice conditions in Charlottetown. She agreed that it was some of the trickiest ice she’d played on in all her Scotties, but then said, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It means teams have to work harder and smarter. More team should understand that.
* I was in London last night conducting some interviews that will appear on the TSN Tim Hortons Brier preview show on Saturday at 7 p.m. One of the best stories I got was from Brad Gushue. I asked him where he keeps his gold medal and he said he has no one resting place for it and admitted that one time, for about a week, he couldn’t find it. Turns out it was in his wife’s bedside table.
* There will be a Weeks in the Brier this year, but won’t be me (obviously). My distant cousin Blair Weeks will be the coach of the PEI team. I understand that the four guys on this team may not exactly be the best of friends. They spent much of last week practicing on the arena ice at the Scotties.
* So the Twitter account of the Imposter Kevin Martin (@fakekevinmartin) has reached the MSM with this fine story by Mario Annicchiarico.If you haven’t seen it yet, log on and follow as it can be pretty funny. This is one of my favourite Tweets: Thought about using Ferbey's number system for weight calls; realized it won't work for us because Ferbey's a bit of a knob
* I've been chuckling about this NDP-inspired petition to Keep Northern Ontario in the Brier. Actually, aside from some idle chatter, there's no official talk about removing the NONT entry. So the petition is sort of like on to Keep the CN Tower in Toronto.
Finally, the picks for the Brier:
Alberta: Kevin Martin admits his team hasn’t played as much this season as most but did ramp it up in the last month. Hard to bet against them.
Ontario: Glenn Howard always plays well at Ontario Briers – two of his three wins have been in his home province – and he said he loves the support he gets.
Manitoba: Jeff Stoughton has had a pretty solid year and his toughest game so far may have been to get out of his province where he had to beat Mike McEwen. I like this team, especially with Jon Mead in the lineup.
Newfoundland and Labrador: Brad Gushe admitted to me that his team has struggled somewhat this year and he’ll be opting for a defensive style this week.
Northern Ontario: Brad Jacobs may be hard pressed to repeat his great performance of last year, but it won’t be due to a lack of hard work.
B.C.: To me, the sleeper in this field. Overlook them at your own peril.
Sorry gang, I don’t see anyone else from this field making a run.