Saturday, February 23, 2008

Ontario-Manitoba an entertaining game

That was about as entertaining a curling game as I’ve seen in a long while. Ontario and Alberta put on quite a display in the one-two game. There were great shots, interesting strategies and some big gaffes, -- but wrap it all up with a bow and you’ve got great television.

I don’t think I’d say it was overall an exceptionally well-played game, but it was fun to watch. You never knew what was going to happen next, especially in the late ends.

As I’m sure no one has to point out, the first star of the game has to be Amy Nixon, who played tremendous for all 11 ends. How she managed to clean up the mess left by the Alberta front end in eight is beyond me. She’s what . . 115 pounds? And she fires that missle? And how many women curling this week could have made that shot? Honestly. Four? Five?

What’s amazing is that I didn’t think Kirsten – not Kristen – Wall was awful by any means (OK, she wasn’t great in the first half), but in comparison to her opposing number, she looked poor.

I think the strangest parts of last night’s game are those two big skip misses in nine and 10. How often do you see misses like that? First Middaugh doesn’t come close on the draw for two in nine and then Kleibrink comes up short in 10. MIddaugh's was far more glaring, but Kleibrink's was still an eye-opening miss. Wow – those were Ug-Ly.

Hopefully we get a repeat of that game in the final on Sunday. Ontario first has to get past this Manitoba juggernaut which will be tough after six in a row. I think Ontario takes this one.

Final Thoughts:
* What’s with the Quebec team sitting in the stands watching the Alberta-Ontario match? I can’t recall an eliminated team coming back to watch a match – most go to the Heart Stop. Haven’t they had enough? Of course maybe they were trying learn strategy or sweeping calls.

* What’s with the Ontario coach? She came out in the 11th before Sherry Middaugh threw her first rock and clearly had no idea what was going on. “You have to be shot after this rock,” she says. “No,” said the other four in unison and they were obviously correct.

* I think there is way too much weight place on the stats. They rarely give the complete picture of what’s going on in a game. We in the media rely on them way too much without understanding how they’re compiled and, more importantly – who compiles them. Over the years, I’ve seen too many folks who really don’t understand the complexities of top-level curling, plugging numbers into computers.

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