Monday, March 4, 2013

Martin on the brink

Stunning. Surprising. Shocking.
What else is there to say about the performance so far of the Alberta rink. At 1-3, the team is now officially on the ropes and in danger of dropping out of the race for a playoff spot.
That certainly wasn’t lost on third John Morris, who offered up a handful of clichés to the Edmonton Journal’s Norm Cowley to paint the picture.

“We’re on the brink. We’re right on the edge of the old iceberg. We’re almost done,” said Alberta third John Morris. “We pretty much can’t afford to lose another game because our last game is against Ontario (Glenn Howard) and we know that’s going to be a battle. If we can somehow get into that game with only three losses, then we’ve got a sniff.“So we’ve just got tofind a way to turn it around and stay real positive and become the team that we know we can be.”

Alberta got hammered by Northern Ontario’s Brad Jacobs on Monday afternoon in only seven ends. And, as Terry Jones recounts, it wasn’t pretty.

Martin, John Morris, Marc Kennedy and Ben Hebert gagged on another game here Monday to head into Day 4 of the 84th Brier with a 1-3 record and basically in a position where they can’t afford to lose another game if they hope to be around for the weekend.The Alberta team, for the fourth straight game, lost the pre-game draw-to-the-button contest for the hammer and got hammered with three in the first end by the Loyal Order of the Moose, which ran their record to 4-0.It was all there for Martin to get backin the game in the second end when he made a double takeout with his firstrock. But he came back and missed a tap back shot to get three to tie the game3-3. Missed it be a mile to give up a steal of one.

There's no surprise at what the team needs to to and it was left to Jules Owchar

“I don’t know what to say,” said JulesOwchar, Martin’s coach dating back to his junior days. “I’m used to these guys making eight shots in an end, not five. And Kevin’s shot to tie it 3-3 on the second end.... I’ve seen him make so many of those. For him that’s fairly  routine. It’s not the rocks. The 4-7 red rocks on that sheet aren’t great but Benny is shooting those. All the leads are throwing those. The rest of the rocks are good. 
“Now we have to win ‘em all. We have torun it now. There’s a challenge there, that’s for sure. It’s possible. We’ve won more in a row than that before,” he said of the team which won back-to-back Briers in 2008 and 2009 with perfect 13-0 records. 

 Now you wonder how long they can go before they get the same treatment Pat Ryan did in 1987. That year, playing in front of the hometown fans, Ryan stumbled to a 6-5 mark and was booed by the Edmonton curling fans.

Will Martin get booed if he continues to lose? Will the fans give him a break because of past accomplishments?

Right now, he and the boys are still hoping to go on a run and make the playoffs. His next four games are against teams he should beat – New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, the Territories and PEI. However even if he beats those teams, he’ll at the very least need to go 2-1 against the trio of Saskatchewan, Newfoundland and Labrador and Ontario – that’s a tall task.

But this is Alberta and Kevin Martin. They can beat any team, at any point. Playing on the edge of the cliff will certainly be interesting if they can get a string of wins going.  

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