You always knew there was a life span on the team, that despite its success it would fracture at some point. It wasn’t the front end where Marc Kennedy and Ben Hebert looked after things, but at the top where Kevin Martin and John Morris got along, but never really saw eye to eye.
And that gave way when Morris announced he was leaving the team on Wednesday evening, ending what was one of the most successful rinks in Canadian curling history. You can read the CCA's release here.
And what a team it was. They won a ton of stuff including that gold medal. Oh they looked happy and all team-like when they were winning – which was a lot – but Martin and Morris were never friends in the same way the members of Glenn Howard’s rink are. When curling season was over, they’d go their separate ways, Martin one way and Morris another. When the curling weekends were over, they’d part -- heck when games were over they often didn’t spend any time together.
That’s not necessarily a bad thing, just different than many teams. And it wasn’t always that way -- I was with the teams on many occasions when you could tell that Morris and Martin did get along, if only for an afternoon or an evening or perhaps it was for the cameras.
But Johnny Mo is a skip through and through. So is Martin, obviously and when you don’t win games as you once did, two skips is too many.
So it’s not really surprising that Morris left. It is surprising that he did it just a few months before the Trials for the next Olympics. Then again, they way they were playing, they weren’t going to be packing for Sochi anyway. The team was lousy at the Brier and not much better at the Players Championship. Without a big turnaround (something they were capable of), the Trials would have been just another disappointment. Why prolong the agony, might have been Morris’s thinking.
Now comes the next chapter for both sides. Morris will look for another team for next season and possibly a team that's already qualified for the Trials -- the music hasn't stopped yet but there aren't enough chairs -- while Martin, Kennedy and Hebert will have to find a third. In a hurry.
There’s a long list to choose from and you don’t have to necessarily just look at guys who play third. There may be a few skips who might get a call – hey, it worked last time, didn’t it?