Saturday, March 1, 2014

Jones: Relegation Madness begins

The Timmies Brier gets underway today and, of course, it is the first relegation Brier. Teams at the bottom will be dumped into a pool to fight it out for spots next year.

The great Terry Jones pens a good look at the new system with quotes from just about every curler whose province is on the bubble, starting with Nova Scotia’s Jamie Murphy.

“It’s horrible for everybody — the curlers, the families and the fans. You can’t make any plans,” said Murphy.
And how would you like to be Spuds MacKenzie, who was 2-9 last year in Edmonton? He might have to go 7-4 or something like that. 
“The Brier has a long history of success,” said MacKenzie. “It’s been well-attended. It’s the largest curling event in the world. Nobody I know can understand why they thought they needed to do this. I haven’t heard many people that are for this.”
And Jonesy also provides the data that shows that it might not be the best idea to add a seat to the table for the great curling territory of Nunavut.

All this for political correctness in regards to Nunavut? 
In the past two years, Nunavut has been an official “province” in the Canadian Junior with a pair of 0-9 records with for-against points totals of 18-106 and 23-115. Meanwhile, the Yukon, which also becomes a fully accredited curling “province,” didn’t even send a team to go against Jamie Koe for the Yukon-Northwest Territories spot last year.
The article goes on to look at the other end of the new system, the addition of Team Canada and some of the issues that move might make, especially the revolving team lineups.

What if it’s Manitoba’s Jeff Stoughton who wins? The 50-year-old skip has suggested he’s close to calling it a career.
“If you are Team Canada it makes it an easier decision,” laughs Stoughton. “If we’re team Canada, I’m playing for sure.” 
Or how about John Morris, who took over skipping Jim Cotter’s B.C. bunch this year? There’s expectations he’ll be returning with an Alberta-based team next year, possibly including the front end from the Kevin Martin team he left. 
If B.C. wins and Morris ends up with a new team and Cotter keeps the rest of the team together, Cotter becomes Team Canada. But if Cotter keeps only one other player he’d be out of luck.
You can bet you will be hearing and reading a lot about this in the next week, and most of it won’t be positive.

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