Winnipeg 2013: Roar of the Weird

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No. I don't know what’s going on.

by Colin Hodgson

Geurtez and Hodgy. And weird computer gloves.

Geurtez (left) and Hodgy. And weird computer curling gloves.

WINNIPEG – It’s early, and this could be a little bit premature, but something weird seems to be going on over these first two days. Take all the odds and predictions from the “experts” and throw them out the window, because we don’t seem to have any favourites anymore.

For instance, Manitoba teams are merely mediocre at a combined 4-6, even with the huge crowd support at the MTS Centre.

Many of the expected favourites coming in are already off to the dreaded two-loss start – which doesn’t allow any room for error.

As I sit here and report from the media bench, my phone continues to buzz as the upsets continue. “WHAT IS GOING ON???” is the general theme of the 47 texts I receive each hour.

The thing is… I don’t really know how to answer that question.

The ice looks pristine and has been in exceptional condition since day one. Yes, the stones are papered which makes them curl sharper early in the week... but no more so than any at other event. Yes, the crowd is big and loud, but not to the point of unleashing air horn blasts during player backswings.

And yes, these in fact are the stones that were so criticized for inconsistency at the start of the Edmonton Brier back in March. That problem has been addressed, though, by a) flipping the stones and b) “evening” through continued use, including at the recent Road to the Roar in Kitchener.

Well, friends. The only thing I can think to say at this point in the week is more of a reminder.

This isn’t a provincial playdown. This is not a World Curling Tour event. This is not the Brier or the STOH. This is the Canadian Olympic Trials, and weird things happen when it comes to this amazing, thrilling quadrennial show.

[Canadian Curling Association photo copyright ® by Danielle Inglis]