Saturday, February 28, 2015

A lousy two centimetres

Two centimetres. Less than an inch.

That was the difference between Nova Scotia playing on and going home.

Any way you slice it, it's a hard thing to stomach and I'm sure the CCA Curling Canada was none to happy about seeing this result, a kind of perfect storm of bad possibilities.

On Friday, PEI defeated Nova Scotia in the final game of the pre-qualifying round robin, creating a circular win-loss record. That brought into play the first tiebreaker which was the totals of the pre-game draws to the button.

Before each game, one team member threw two shots -- an in-turn and an out-turn -- with the total distance recorded. The two game total was registered and when all the cyphering was done, Nova Scotia came third, just a lousy two centimetres behind Yukon.

As a result, PEI and Yukon will play in today's final with the winner moving into the main field. Nova Scotia will head home. For the first time in the Brier's history, there won't be a Bluenoser team in the Brier. And they'll face the same task again next year. N.S. skip Glen MacLeod told it was a tough loss to swallow.

"Two centimetres was all it was," MacLeod said. "As far as the game goes, P.E.I. was the better team today. 
"The format, I'm not too fussy about. The draw to the button is a little disappointing. It's an easy shot. We had that in our hands."

It's hard to digest the change and there is understandably outrage from the curling folks in Nova Scotia.

If PEI was to lose today to Yukon, there would be equal frustration from the folks in that province.

But there would also be jubilation from the folks in Whitehorse where it would mark the first Brier for a team representing just the Yukon as opposed to the Territories.

The funny thing about this change is that judging from social media response, which understandably really isn't a perfect way of measuring things,  it isn't popular with curlers and it isn't popular with fans.

For example, here's Brad Gushue talking to about it:

"I'm not a big fan of the relegation," said Newfoundland and Labrador skip Brad Gushue. "I think it's a little embarrassing for the teams. The way they're playing out here with nobody watching and no ceremonies or anything, it's not right. 
"It's disappointing not to have one of Nova Scotia or P.E.I, who have been in the Brier since I think the '30s. It's a little bit odd."

For fan response, just go on Twitter. Or Facebook. I have yet to see a positive response to this situation.

That same article had a quote from Jean-Michel Menard saying he was now in favour of the 14-team format used at the Junior, where rinks are divided into pools. He said he wasn't a fan of that at first but thinks it's better than relegating teams.

I have to agree. I wasn't a fan of pools for a number of reasons. The primary one is that not every player plays everyone else. But the more I think about it, the more I think it's an improvement over relegation.

First is that every team gets to play. Second is that -- finally -- the Page Playoff System would be used the way it was intended when it was created.

Right now, the cut is deep and still bleeding. To be sure, no one likes change.

No comments: