by Jill Officer
WINNIPEG – The biggest game of the week is over. Ontario’s Glenn Howard and Alberta’s Kevin Martin had a breakfast meeting (above) complete with live television coverage on Sheet B at the MTS Centre here in Winnipeg.
Martin and company didn’t look that hungry. They weren’t sharp early on, putting draws behind the T-line and missing other routine shots.
Martin’s thoughts prior to the matchup:
“They play a different style. They don’t have a Marc Kennedy that can throw it that hard, but Brent (Laing) has a brilliant short game. So there are two different way of going about the game, but both work.”
Lainger, you may remember, played for the Old Bear at the Grand Slam in Port Hawkesbury in December, the fifth and final Slam Martin won in a row on his well-publicized streak.
What many touted would be a preview of the Brier final was only slightly less exciting, however, as Martin was up three points playing the 10th end.
The game featured some spectacular shots by all players on the ice, but as much as Howard showed up to play, third man Richard Hart was less than stellar as he clocked in with an uncharacteristic 70-ish shooting percentage.
It won't be much surprise to see these two teams meet again in the next couple of days, but a better performance from Olympian Hart is required.
British Columbia has kept their playoff hopes up with a win over the islanders of P.E.I. And Olympic golden boy Brad Gushue from Newfoundland and Labrador is also still in contention with a win over New Brunswick this morning.
And so… we could have an even clearer playoff picture by the end of the draw this afternoon. If Manitoba wins today over Saskatchewan and Quebec, and the Newfies and B.C. both win their last games, there will be a couple of tiebreakers.
As much as I’d like to see Manitoba make the playoffs, I’m hoping they can do it without tiebreakers. You see, I really would like to sleep in tomorrow, so if any of you Brier Boys are reading this, could you work on that for me?
• After a few days of competition I caught up with Alberta’s John Morris to see how his finger is holding up.
He reported that it’s doing pretty well. He ices it after each game and receives wax therapy before each match, too. That treatment requires him to dip his finger in hot wax, allowing it to harden, and he leaves it on for a few minutes to loosen up the joints and muscles in his digit.
I also received a tip from my very perceptive friend – and teammate – Cathy O, who said that Johnny Mo has been shaking hands with his opposite hand before and after the games... here’s what he had to say about that:
“I’m supposed to have a cast on it for six weeks and I only had it on for one week, so it’s not healed yet. What I’m trying to do is not put it out of line at all. So if I shook someone’s hand and they shook it too hard it could re-break it.”
• The Canadian Curling Association will hold a press conference on Friday at Noon CST. They have “several” major announcements to make, one of which has been highly speculated – the confirmation that the 2009 Canadian Olympic Trials will be awarded to Edmonton. Come back Friday afternoon for all the details!
• Reading enough curling blogs lately? No? Okay, here’s some more: Ted Wyman, another colleague of mine at the Winnipeg Sun; these guys (who are always mad at CBC); the Jeff Stoughtonspinerama over at CBC.ca (check out the 51 comments from Wednesday!); and finally, Team New Brunswick ...
• A few funnies from today’s Tankard Times.
In the “Getting to Know…” section, we have more on the Tiger Woods thing I wrote about earlier in the week:
Tiger Woods is still the most popular answer to the “If you could be any athlete in the world…” question. Some others that have been mentioned are Derek Jeter, Roger Federer, Steve Nash, and of course Wayne Gretzky. Turns out Tiger would also be a popular person to put on the invite list for a party. Many curlers this week have also listed him as someone they would invite to a party in answer to “Three people (dead or alive) you’d invite to a party.”
Newfoundland’s Brad Gushue sold out teammate Chris Shille on the question “Something about a teammate we don’t already know.” Gushue said that “Chris likes ballet.” I wonder if Brad ran that by Chris before that was printed? NOT!
In answer to the same question, Steve Laycock, Saskatchewan’s Hot Shot lead, suggested that the team’s second, Gerry Adam, “was born with a mustache.”
It also seems that a number of players are happiest when they are with family and friends. The question was “You are happiest when?” Geez, you’d think that with all the curling we people do, that we’d be happiest when we’re curling... right?