Sunday, March 15, 2009

Semi-final notes

* The difference between good ice and crappy ice was in full view last night. Take nothing away from the Manitoba team but it was sad to see the performance of the two squads compared to the previous two previous games. Can’t think back to a time when there were so many glaring misses, especially by the skips.
It wasn’t as much fun to watch, although in a weird kind of way I was intrigued to see how bad it could get. Seeing Jeff Stoughton miss three open shots for extra points was stunning. Seeing the Ontario team wreck on guard after guard was equally shocking. But at least the Manitoba skipper made his last rock to win – always like to see that.

* I have little knowledge of icemaking, so it’s unfair to criticize the work of the team, but how does a sheet go from almost perfect, all week and into the playoffs, to what we saw last night? I'm confused.

* Funny how Stoughton was almost overlooked coming into this Brier with so much focus on Howard and Martin. I think he was a little ticked at that and rightly so. He’s a world-class player with a world-class team. It’s not a surprise that he’s in the final, not by a long shot.

* As far as I know, Kevin Park is the only curler to ever visit the media’s hospitality suite (or as we call it, the hostility suite) at a Brier. It happened years ago late, late at night. K-Park, who was a different person back then, showed up as we were still carrying on, stunning most of us, since he was still in the running for the Tankard. But he knew that with the bars closed, we would probably still give him a beer. We did and joined right in with the rest of us. That was then and I’m exceptionally happy that Kevin’s been sober for three years now – he is truly one of the great people in this game and I'm glad he's on the right path.

* Great work by the TSN crew to dig up the stat that the only time Glenn Howard had lost three consecutive games in a Brier was in 1991 when he was playing for his brother. But they missed the next obvious link in that stat – that it was Martin who won the ’91 event.

* Speaking of TSN, they’ll do the Brier’s first pre-game show today before the big finale.

* I’m thinking that Alberta wins the game tonight, but I’m hoping that the ice allows these two talented teams to play their best.

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