Monday, March 10, 2014

Koe wins Brier in a less-than-thrilling final: the wrap-up

 Kevin Koe won the Tim Hortons Brier Sunday evening in a game that wasn’t exactly a nail-biter. The Alberta rink rang up three-enders on the flat B.C. team and I’m sure lots of TVs were clicking over to The Walking Dead before the Velcro final got ripped after nine.

The scribes on the scene told the tale of Team Koe’s impressive performance and the Edmonton Sun’s Terry Jones detailed how the rink seems to come up big during Olympic years.

Kevin Koe may not be an Olympian. But he does his best work in Olympic years. 
Four years ago, when Kevin Martin won gold for Canada at the Vancouver 2010 Olympics, Koe won his first Brier and went on to Cortina-d’Ampezzo, Italy and won the world men’s curling championship. 
Now he, third Pat Simmons, second Carter Rycroft and lead Nolan Thiessen are off to Beijing for another world championship later this month.

Of course the victory may have also thrown a wrench into the plans for the CCA’s big change next year that will see Team Canada added to the fray, as Paul Wiecek pointed out in the Winnipeg Free Press

With Sunday's win, Koe earned the right to return to the Brier next year as a defending champion playing under the Team Canada banner, a new innovation for the Brier being implemented for the first time in 2015. 
That's assuming, however, the Koe team stays together. The foursome was widely rumoured in the lead-up to this year's Brier to be breaking up after this winter, although those plans could change with all the money and opportunities that will now come their way as Team Canada. 
Rycroft said again Sunday night he is not curling next year, while Koe was noncommittal. 
"I haven't thought that much through," said Koe. "All we're going to worry about now is the worlds and being Team Canada at the worlds."
I wonder if the CCA has a plan in place if Team Canada disbands before next year's Brier?

The loss likely means that John Morris will say farewell to his B.C. teammates. He’s widely rumoured to be headed back to Alberta to suit up with a new rink that could include some former teammates.

The loss for the Morris rink was, as CP’s Scott Edmonds pointed out, yet another big defeat for the talented squad.

This is the second loss in the big game in four months for the Morris-Cotter rink. They also lost the final at the Olympic trials to Brad Jacobs in December in Winnipeg. 
"Whether it's in front of your home fans or in front of Winnipeg fans or wherever, it's no fun," said Cotter. "Obviously you want to win, but that's curling, that's the way it goes. 
"They were bang on. They were making everything. It's tough to come back from that."

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