Friday, April 5, 2013

Canada struggles into the playoffs

Canada limped into the playoffs last night after losing its fourth game in the last five contests. Brad Jacobs and his crew dropped contests to Denmark and Sweden Thursday putting them in fourth spot. They’ll meet the Danes in the 3-4 game.

In their contest on Thursday, Jacobs gave full credit to Denmark, as this AP story explains:

"Nobody on the planetwas beating Denmark today," said Jacobs. "I don’t care who you are. They played phenomenal." 
A day earlier, he hadblamed himself for his Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., rink’s upset loss to Japan, a distant also-ran, and criticized himself again after ekeing out a win over Russia, another rink out of playoff contention 
"They had to come outand beat us to stay alive — and they did," said Jacobs.

After losing to Sweden’s Niklas Edin, the Canadian skip talked about how tough it’s been to end the week as he did.

 “It’s a realfrustrating way to end the week,” said Jacobs after losing the nightcap to the Swedes. “Throwing the rock well and getting very little results, just not making the right shots. It’s very frustrating. We will see what happens.”

Of course, the 3-4 game isn’t unfamiliar territory for the Canadian rink. At the Brier, when it was the Northern Ontario team, it finished at 8-3 and a spot in that same do-or-die contest. It will need to rally to stay in the event. 

Clearly, the rink isn’t firing on all cylinders. Using the WCF stats as a measurement tool (which I’m loathe to do), Jacobs is in fifth spot with a lackluster 83 per cent average. He’s had four games in the 70s.

But at the Brier, he had five there too. And for the 17 round robin games at the Brier he finished up at 83 per cent as well.

The difference is when he played his strong games. At the Brier, Jacobs ended with game of 92, 97, 82 and 83 per cent while here, his last four games are 72, 83, 75 and 80. At the Brier the team seemed to play better as the week went on. At worlds, the look to be running out of gas. 

So the boys from the Soo are going to have to find that extra gear as they did in Edmonton. Good thing for them is that they know they have it. 

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