And off we go into the flurry of the men’s playdowns.
In Manitoba, which, along with Quebec, may be the only provinces that seed their playdowns, no surprises as Jeff Stoughton and Mike McEwen were spotted into the 1 and 2 positions. And members of both teams said all the right things at the unveiling of the seeds:
"We have to remember that there are another 30 teams there and there are certainly some capable teams and players in the field," [Mike] McEwen said after the seeding for the 88th Manitoba men's provincial championship was revealed at the Heather Curling Club Tuesday."I'd love it to be us versus Jeff in the final, but we're both going to have to play well to get to that situation."
"Just like last year, we're going to have to play at our best if we want to defend," said Reid Carruthers, who throws second stones for the Stoughton rink.
I think people will be shocked, shocked I tell you, if it’s not these two playing for the tickets to Saskatoon. Here's Adam Wazny's story.
Over in Saskatchewan, Steve Laycock’s team enters the playdowns as the favourite. And if they win, it might be thanks to Joel Jordison’s decision to drop to third.
“For myself, there’s less pressure actually,” said Jordison.“I don’t know if they feel there’s pressure or not. We haven’t really talkedabout it, but for myself I’m completely laid back. I want to win as bad as Iever have, but whatever pressure you put on yourself is self-inflicted.”
PEI has already decided on its representative and it's not Eddie "Spuds" MacKenzie, who struggled a year ago to a 1-10 mark. Instead, Mike Gaudet is back wearing the colours for PEI. Gaudet, who played third for MacKenzie at the Brier last year, skipped his own team that knocked off MacKenzie in the semis as well as wunderkind Brett Gallant, in the final. Moments later he gave the "we'll-give-it-our-best-and-try-to-win-more-than-one" speech.
“I just want to play our best,” Gaudet said of hisexpectations for the upcoming Brier. “If we go out there and play our bestevery game, I’ll be happy. It’s going to be gouth, there’s no question, butwe’re looking forward to it.”
In Quebec, another third-turned-skip is back at the Brier. Robert Dejardins of Chicoutimi claimed the title and earned one whole paragraph in the Montreal Gazette.