Monday, December 5, 2011

On the Canada Cup

Thoughts on the Canada Cup:

It’s hard to make any money betting on curling these days. If, at the start of the week, you’d had to put down a bob on which two teams would win the Canada Cup, I’d bet the favourites would have been the Martin and Jones rinks. No long shots here. And while it’s still early, you’d have to think they’ll be among the favourites to go to Sochi, too.

On that same topic, isn’t it about time to start talking about the Kevin Martin rink as the best? Ever? It would be pretty hard to come up with a team that has won more big games and big events than these guys. Olympics, Briers, Worlds, cash. . . and they just seem to have a knack of playing their best when the games mean the most. Certainly you can argue this point but it’s a good discussion topic.

Is it just me or did 10 ends seem really long? Wow, it felt as if the men’s final really dragged on. The women’s dragged but more because it was so lopsided. I’m really starting to like those eight-end, Grand Slam games. Neat, clean, tidy and quick. I know the CCA feels that an eight-end game doesn’t give a team as much of a chance to come back if it gets behind early, but I think 10 ends goes too far the other way. I can’t imagine what it was like in those first few Briers where they played 14 ends!

Not sure what the teams felt about it but the Think Time, timing used over the weekend was refreshing and logical. The original system seems quite unfair if you get into a hit-vs-draw type game. This one doesn’t count the time used to play the shot, just the time in between. If it’s adopted, it will likely take some time for the players to know when they have a lot of time left or not so much. You could see a few teams wondering if two minutes was a lot to play and end or not. Nothing will happen in the near future regarding this – the Canada Cup was being used as a test. Of course when it comes to rule changes in curling, nothing ever happens quickly.

Speaking of rules, I’ve never heard of this one (probably because it’s not really in the rule book), but Eve Muirhead was told by an official at the European Championships that she had to play her rocks in numerical order, from one to eight. Really. Sometimes I wonder where they get these officials from but it wouldn't surprise me if a few like this were in Sochi. 

I wonder if there’s any movement afoot to change the qualifying for the Canada Cup? It seems that basing the entire field on results from a year ago and leaving out current hot teams is a bit silly. To not have Sherry Middaugh’s rink in the spiel after her remarkable start is ridiculous. At least one spot should be opened up for the leader in CTRS points for the first part of the WCT season.

I haven’t actually counted yet, but there seem to be more fake curler Twitter accounts than real ones. It started with Fake Kevin Martin, but now there’s Fake Jeff Stoughton, Fake Glenn Howard, Fake Amy Nixon, Fake John Morris, Fake Steve Gould, even a Fake Vic Rauter, known as Make The Final. Not sure who is behind them all but there are a few Tweets that are have me laughing.


Angus said...

At this year’s Canada Cup, I was asked to put my cowbell away or get tossed. Yes all because of a CCA policy. What have we become: the PGA where camera shutter noises distract the field of prima donnas? Although the Canada Cup in Cranbrook showed the real depth of Canada’s curling talent; it was one of the most boring events I have been to. Curling needs to attract greater interest and new fans to support its long term viability and growth potential. How ironic that the CCA’s newest slogan is “you gotta be there” yet they are doing nothing to ensure their events are memorable or fun for the fans. Why do I “gotta be there”?

Ask yourself, why do these teams play and why do they earn money? It’s because of the fans that support the events and the sponsors. Fans have choices. They need a reason to show up at the arena otherwise they can sit at home and watch it on TV or watch something else altogether. The CCA must remember who supports curling and more importantly, who supports the sponsors. It isn’t the CCA and it isn’t the players. It’s the fans.

When you speak to the players; couldn’t care less about the noise. In fact many of the teams actually like their fans cheering them on using their voices, clappers or cowbells. The experience of these curlers and their ability to focus on the game and their shot make them oblivious to the noise makers or chants from the stands. These athletes are able to set aside the noise; why can’t the CCA?

When you attend a World Championship or an Olympics, the noise level is constant and significant, yet the teams play and play well. If our National champions can play under these conditions why can’t all of the slam, provincial and national events embrace the spirit of the fans and allow our athletes to get use to these so-called distractions before they compete on the world stage.

We need to continue to put fun back into this game or we risk players and fans moving down the road and supporting other activities that permit the fans to feel part of the event.

Kevin Palmer said...

With a Trials Berth at stake (and only 8 available), why would we not have more televised games for the Canada Cup, or perhaps some internet coverage? This seems like a really big event that quietly passes by without the casual fan being pulled into it.