by Matt Hames
RAMA – First off all, apologies for technical problems that are preventing these here blogposts from loading instantaneously onto Blogger. Seems there’s a technical problem between here and Germany, where our fearless leader is blogging from the European Championships.
So it seems this is appearing as Not-Quite-Live; hope things get better.
Now, the final. Without question, no athlete on either team could remember how many times they’ve played each other.
Consider this: Wayne Middaugh’s charter lead Scott Bailey was the alternate on Kevin Martin’s team at the last Olympic Trials. And yes, he did play. Also a couple of cashspiels in advance, too.
Last night after the semi-finals, Kevin was asked about playing Wayne today in the final. He said they are great friends who have done battle countless times in the past. But he also asked, somewhat rhetorically, what could be better?
Indeed. What could be better?
You have Wayne Middaugh, who for years and years used the TSN Skins game as his personal ATM machine, versus Kevin Martin, arguably the best shotmaker in the game.
When we looked at the draw, I kind of hoped for a Martin/Middaugh final. It’s not that we would have been unhappy with a Gushue/Howard final... we would have talked about the Brier rematch, of course.
No, we like this one. It’s two guys who love cash and can mash with the best of them. It’s two guys who like rocks in play followed by the runback bullet.
The really good news? The game should feature really good ice. Yesterday was the first game played in the facility. The ice staff (Hans and company) learned a lot yesterday and will use that knowledge to make the conditions even better.
IOW: if you had some chips, you should bet on an epic match.
One note: yesterday Middaugh and Martin were yellow. By virtue of winning the initial draw the button contest before the event, Martin had choice of hammer or rocks. He picked the yellow rocks. Meaning Middaugh gets red for the first time. Meaningful? Doubtful. Gushue had red yesterday and was, quite frankly, all over Martin like a technicolour T-shirt.