Nothing like an extra-end pick to get the Brier started with some fireworks.
Saturday night’s opener between Jeff Stoughton and Kevin Martin didn’t disappoint, at least not from a reactionary standpoint.
After Johnny Mo missed both his last shots and Martin’s first one picked, you knew the Alberta boys wouldn’t be skipping to the dressing room.
According to the Edmonton Sun, Morris, avoided saying something he might regret after the game but at least kept his shirt intact.
Morris had no comment about the loss as he breezed past the mix zone to the dressing room after shooting 80% during the opener.
And Marc Kennedy
threw Morris under the bus was blunt in his
assessment of the final end.
“We didn't leave Kevin much after John missed those,” said Kennedy of the two nose hits, which took Alberta from beingin total control after two terrific ticks by lead Ben Hebert.
Even the skipper, who will normally calm down and face the scribblers needed a moment to cool down. . . or maybe unzip, said the Winnipeg Free Press’s Paul Wiecek.
The loss infuriated Martin, who stormed off the ice muttering under and blowing right past waiting reporters, before returning moments laterto face the music.It was uncharacteristic behavior for the normally even-keeled Martin, who laughed off his behaviour by saying that he simply needed to urinate after the game before he faced reporters. Martin did admit, however, that the loss was upsetting, coming as it did after what he said was a pick onhis extra-end miss.
"You hate to give one away early, you know. That'sall," said Martin. "But like I say, it's a long week."
Meanwhile the new CCA-owned rocks weren’t being met with much happiness.
As the Edmonton Journal’s Chris O’Leary pointed out, these aren’t the old MCA rocks the boys are playing with any more.
The curlers at this year’s Brier are using the same stones that will be put in play at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia. The Brier is only the second event where the Canadian Curling Association has used the new stones. They were introduced at the national junior championship last month in Fort McMurray.
Nova Scotia’s Paul Flemming was one of several to offer up a comment on the stones and what to do about them while Brock Virtue of Saskatchewan said it may be a while before the curlers get a handle on them
“We were struggling with the rocks and the ice; more so with the rocks,” he said. “We had three: The six, seven and eight, we were really struggling with them. Our releases were pretty good for the most part, but it may require a late-night practice after that second draw (on Saturday night).”While Virtue was able to steer his Saskatchewan team to a tight 4-3 win in 11 ends, he said he and his teammates were adjusting to the new rocks, as well.
“It’s newfor me because it’s our first Brier, so they’re all new stones,” he said. “There’s definitely a learning curve for the players and also there’s going to be a break-in period for the stones.”
The new stones are actually owned by the CCA, something the governing body hasn’t done in a long time, according to Danny Lamoureux.
"We hadn’t owned rocks in a long, long time,” Lamoureux said. “We just rented them off of associations like the Manitoba Curling Association, or other people who owned good sets.”
Lamoureuxbought the stones used in Vancouver in 2010 and got an interesting offer from their manufacturer last year.
“Kays Bonspiel Company in Scotland called us,” he said. “So they’d take the Vancouver stones back and sell them to a curling club or another nation and give us these new stones that were specked exactly for next year’s Olympics.”
“Eventually,you have to have new stones, because stones do wear out if they’re used long enough,” he said. “They (the new stones) do have a shelf life of 50 years if they’re taken care of properly.”
Of course judging by the field in this year's event, you wonder if the rocks or the curlers will wear out first.