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Casino Rama Curling Skins XI

RAMA, Ontario – For the man from Lockerbie who once played goaltender on the hockey ice (yes, we kid you not) today’s Skins Game success was a brilliant shutout.

David Murdoch and his Great Britain Olympic squad blanked Team Randy Ferbey $57,000 to nil to win the 2010 Casino Rama Curling Skins Game (The Curling News photo by Anil Mungal).

Their total haul? $70,500 for two eight-end games.

For those who are interested, that’s some £42,000 in UK coin. Not at all poor.

And not at all unexpected from a “clever, methodical, calculating, cold-blooded killer.”

Crowds were strong for the event, with the 3,600-capacity Entertainment Centre counting an average of over 3,000 bodies for each of the three draws.

The athletes were, as usual, treated like royalty. Swag bags for each player included a GPS, shirts and sweaters, poker chips (but of course), a travel bag, gift certificates, and more.

Another year, another Skins Game. Thanks for following!

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OTR Curling Recap

Well. That was quite a show, eh?

And that’s quite a photo from yesterday, eh? We like it because John Morris looks funny. Sorry, Johnny (click to zoom in).

You can watch the latest all-curling edition of TSN’s Off The Record on the OTR webpage, located here. Just click on the video player on the right, and you’re off and running.

You can also view the various segments through this page.

It starts with host Michael Landsberg and defending Casino Rama Skins champ Randy Ferbey (Up Front, 4:52). Some highlights:

Ferbey on arch-rival Kevin Martin: “I think he thinks too much of his team and not the sport, and other teams in general… as curlers we’re trying to grow the game and I think Kevin is too much into himself.”

Ferbey on teammate David Nedohin‘s injury: “Dave was working out, doing some squats and popped his S1 in his back, so he’s out indefinitely.”

Middaugh on his new teammate: “Back when I was playing with the Howard family I thought Randy was just another one of those western curlers that all they could do is throw it hard down the ice.”

Middaugh on tomorrow’s battle against Glenn Howard: “It’s been quote a while since (Glenn has) beaten a men’s team at the Skins.”

Randy on his curling future: “I feel I’ve got lots to offer; I’m not gonna quit until I have to.”

The show itself then followed, in two segments (7:31 and 5:21) and there was… much teasing.

Landsberg teased Murdoch about Tom Brewster; about Canada deserving two Olympic curling teams; about hockey; about his accent (eh?) and about winning silver in Vancouver (!!).

Landsberg (and Ferbey) teased Howard and Martin third Johnny Mo about the Brier being tougher to win than a Grand Slam.

And so on.

Anything else? Heck, yes.

Stay tuned to the video player for a highly amusing Next Question segment with Glenn Howard (4:17) and, finally, Really Off The Record boasting a final 4:52 of five-way banter to wrap it up.

As for the questions submitted by our faithful readers? A couple of them wriggled their way onto the show – well done peeps!

The Casino Rama Curling Skins Game gets underway tomorrow at 1:00pm ET in Rama, Ontario… and is televised live on The Sports Network, in High-Definition.

Bonus trivia question: at the very end of Really Off The Record, a specific word was bleeped out. What is interesting is that Landsberg then wondered aloud if, in fact, the word would be bleeped out during the editing process.

What was the word?

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Curling Super Spare

Another exclusive from The Curling News, from us to you: David Nedohin is out of this weekend’s Casino Rama Skins Curling Game, and guess who is in?

The defending champion Randy Ferbey squad will have a new, very temporary fellow throwing last bricks when they take on Team Glenn Howard on Saturday (1:00pm ET, TSN). And this fellow knows Team Glenn Howard, and specifically Cliffy, very well indeed.

This fellow also knows skins curling very well. Indeed.

Recognize the face? Recognize the uniform?

(Put the two together, as our ace photog Anil Mungal has done here, and we suddenly develop a mild headache. This looks so… not right.)

Suffice to say that Ontario curling fans who are upset about missing a certain high-powered matchup at next month’s Tankard in Napanee can now head to Casino Rama on Saturday, for a very special edition of such a missing matchup.

We don’t have the details why, as of yet, but no doubt all will be explained on tonight’s all-curling Off The Record Skins Curling Special, 6:00pm ET on TSN. Hey, perhaps this fellow will even phone in to the show.

Speaking of, have you submitted your question(s) to the curlers for today’s show taping? We’ve got six stellar queries so far, but with the taping scheduled for early afternoon today, this is your last call to contribute

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Curling Print: the Ferbey Four

So, Randy Ferbey and his troops went back to the future with their absolutely enormous win over Glenn Howard in the final of the Grey Power Players’ Championship.

Actually, it’s been quite a season for the Ferbs.

Their increasingly desperate search for that elusive spot in December’s Olympic Trials saw them travel the country at a frenetic pace, with Ferbey and lead Rocque Marcel competing, at one point, for 10 weekends in a row prior to Christmas.

Then there was the big win at the Casino Rama Skins Game in January, which featured the Ferb’s first win over arch rival Kevin Martin in some 10 or so attempts.

Then came their second straight series of three losses, all to KMart, to lose the Alberta Tankard championship. Off Martin went, to his fourth consecutive Brier.

After licking their wounds, the squad travelled to Bear Mountain – played some golf, threw some rocks – and started gearing up for the Players’ Championship.

And the rest, they say, is history. Or in the case of the Ferbey Four, the chance to rewrite history, come December.

All of this adds value to a special collectible artwork print the Ferbs have for sale, by artist Janet Deane (above, click to zoom in). Yes indeed, the Olympic Dream is alive and well.

Fans can select a limited edition Giclee framed print in two sizes, either 22×35 or 14×22.

Order through this website.

Elsewhere in this world of curling… which is still very much active, by the way…

• The World Mixed Doubles are into the playoffs in gorgeous Cortina D’Ampezzo in the mountains of Italy, and there is tons of stories and pics available front and centre at the WCF website.

. At this time of writing, Hungary has emerged through two sets of tiebreakers to take on Finland, and the winner plays undefeated Canada in one semifinal. China and defending champions Switzerland are in the other semi.

Canadian competitor Sean Grassie is a budding journalist – as we explained during the Canadian Mixed – and Grassie is once again writing a column on his experiences for his hometown Winnipeg Sun. You can find his thoughts, in order, located here, then here, then here, and from today

• And let’s not forget the World Seniors, underway tomorrow in equally gorgeous New Zealand …

• DID YOU KNOW: that a car blog – of all things – got in on the Ford Worlds excitement in Moncton, with two postings, here and here? Well, okay, now you do.

• Speaking of Moncton, Swiss third Jan Hauser, who ranked in the top 5 of the TCN Blog’s “Ford World Hotties” competition, seems to have his very own, er, dedicated fan

• Seems that after saying something rather forceful about Scotland, Cary was forced to eat some crow

• And Canadians should eat crow. Not only did the Lockerbie four win three in a row against the red and white, the hosts then proceeded to play the wrong national anthem… a point we have previously noted, and which gets some (fortunately) good-natured Scottish griping here

• Yes, it was a victorious return for the Scots, and good ol’ Bob was there, too …

• WCF President Les Harrison sent in this letter of thanks to his hometown newspaper …

• It’s finally happened. Osama Bin Laden has appeared in a curling spoof.
Funny yes, or funny no?

• DID YOU KNOW II: that amid the hullaballoo over KMart throwing his world championship away, the Old Bear did it again, at the Players’ Championship?

• Curling has got Jackie going ARRGGHH. We know the feeling …

• And finally, poor Aaron. His curling debut was total FUBAR

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February 2009 issue: all killer, no filler

We have lots of newslinks for you today, but first, the February 2009 issue of The Curling News is now in the mail.

Inside you will find a plethora of curling goodies not seen on this blog, which you would do well to seek out. All killer, no filler.

Stuff like:

The Curling News TV Guide: only TCN gives you all the regional and national curling TV listings in one shot: provincials, Scotties, Super Leagues, you name it!

The Wrench Speaks: in the first of a multi-part TCN exclusive, living legend Ed Werenich speaks to The Curling News about absolutely everything… growing up in small-town Manitoba, the problems with women’s curling, the Olympic weight fiasco, Marilyn Bodogh, his crowning achievements (and regrets), his brief stint in the TV booth, Sandra Schmirler… and more!

• Our humungous cover story on the race for berths into Canadian Olympic Trials – who has the inside track in qualifying; how the CTRS system works; and which curlers are sick and tired of the whole thing …

Larry Wood opines that the previous Olympic qualifying system was just fine as it was, thank-you-very-much …

Letters: readers spout off on the TSN commentators, the number of curlers in Scotland and why women can’t beat men …

Battle of the Sexes Redux: inspired by a powerful Letter to the Editor, we examine criticism of the Casino Rama Skins experiment and explore the history of the Battle, which now sees the men tied with women at three wins apiece – yes, believe it or not – dating back to the first Battle in November 1973 …

• What’s in his wallet? Kevin Martin stars in a new Capital One TV commercial …

The Dominion Club Corner: a tale of Trillium grant dollars in Mitchell, Ontario and a golden 50th anniversary in Comox, BC …

• Capital One Grand Slam Stars of the Future: Craig Savill is in the spotlight, although he’s pretty much a star right now …

• The Ultimate Curling Rankings Primer: not only do we list all the men’s and women’s Gold Trail, CTRS, AWCT and Order of Merit standings, we try and explain just what the heck it all means …

And more!

Trust us, you don’t want to miss this one, folks. Make sure you subscribe today.

What else is happening? Geez, what isn’t?

Marla Mallett is the surprise 2009 B.C. STOH champion

• It was standing-room only at the Nova Scotia Scotties as Nancy McConnery became the surprise Nova Scotia champion, upsetting TCN’s own Mary-Anne Arsenault in the final. TCN’s own Teri Lake lost the tiebreaker with Team Jill Mouzar.

• Newfoundland is no surprise as Heather Strong has captured another title, her fifth in a row …

• Also advancing to the Scotties in Victoria is Quebec’s Marie-France Larouche, who beat arch-rival Eve Belisle in the Quebec final

• On Prince Edward Island, Kim Dolan is through to tonight’s final

Sherry Middaugh and Ontario – including calendar girl Chrissy Cadorinare underway today through Sunday, as are a whack of other provincial Scotties championships this week …

• In men’s play, Glenn Howard beat Kevin Martin in a very interesting Canadian Open Slam finale yesterday. It was a game of great shots and stupefying misses – though not as stupefying as those in last year’s Brier final – which helped make it a thoroughly entertaining affair.

Capital One contest winner Ron Trottier almost won a million bucks, but 10 grand ain’t too shabby.

Almost as entertaining – not really – has been the major-league whingeing over foul language dished out by the athletes.


Don Bartlett is back in the Alberta provincials, as is former two-time provincial finalist Jamie King. So is a fellow named Mike Hutchings, after winning the C-berth yesterday. As the story tells, the Peace district will be repped by Jeff Ginter and Kurt Balderston.

• In the south part of the province, Steve Petryk grabbed the A-berth, Rob Armitage took the B and the C-side finale goes tonight …

• In New Brunwick, names like Odishaw and Kennedy have made it through to the upcoming provincial finale …

• In nothern Sask, three pretty big names from the past are into the Tankard, while here’s the southern qualifiers

• CurlBC is looking for a Team Leader for their squad at the Wheelchair nationals in late March. Deadline for applications is January 30 …

• Question of the day: is Idaho Statesman writer Bethann Stewart disdainful toward curling, or just a rookie? His story, located here, starts with the zinger “curling, a sport that requires little or no athletic ability. And that’s just part of the charm.”

• And finally, what have our pals at The Curling Show podcast been up to? Well, they’ve recently posted Q7As with Dave Nedohin and John Morris, that’s what …

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The Ferb is back

RAMA, Ontario – There are many reasons why Randy Ferbey’s huge win at the 2009 Casino Rama Curling Skins Game is so… well, cool.

• Team Ferbey (most of them) were road-weary after playing 10 straight weekends up to Xmas;
• they were 0-9 versus arch-rival Kevin Martin before yesterday’s Game 1 victory;
• Joe Average curling fan hadn’t seen or heard much from them for a while;
• they’re another Edmonton team everyone would love to see at the Trials;
• they’re still, obviously, a damned fine curling team.

Good for them, good for the sport.

Things got picky and icky and sticky yet again, with one player suggesting in the seventh end that they “should just flip a coin.”

And after his last effort of the sixth went bananas, Glenn Howard looked indeed to be working his magic.

The seventh came down to a measure – an excruciating double-measure, actually – which the Ferbs and the TSN TV crew thought would go their way (it didn’t). That skin would have clinched it for the Albertans. Carry-over.

The final frame was huge, with the teams tied at 7K apiece and a whopping $43,000 on the line. Howard missed his first runback, firing it through both intended target rocks but miraculously stuck on his own in the back-four for shot stone.

But after Ferb fourth-thrower David Nedohin made a delicious angle tap to freeze, lady luck had left the casino and Howard’s End arrived. His final runback missed, and the Ferbey Four were back in the winner’s circle.

We’ll have another report plus a variety of sidebars in the upcoming February issue of The Curling News.

This will include a fascinating history of curling’s eternal male versus female debate, with both long-forgotten info and fresh thinking thrown in. Trust us, you don’t want to miss it

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Who is Howard Jones?

RAMA, Ontario – We’ve got some skins media to show and tell y’all about, below, but first…

Following this blogpost from yesterday, we’ve been getting some queries about this Howard Jones fellow. As in, who is he, anyway?

Come ON people. You are supposedly members of the Google-slash-YouTube generation. I mean, the guy played at Live Aid, for gosh’s sake.

Here are two Howard hits… one from his hairy heyday, and another where he has a more normal do, plus an all-star band backing him up.

We’d say Howard did quite well back in the day. Just as the other Howard, Glenn, is doing this weekend at the skins. So far.

As for media today, TSN has some videos, interviews, stories and pics on their website, here and here… the Toronto Star was here… and Bob Weeks asks if the CCA is paying attention to all the athlete-oriented hoopla.

We’d say they are indeed. As Weeks notes, and as we previously noted online and in the December issue, the CCA is all over athletes like Kevin Martin, Jennifer Jones and tough-guy John Morris in an multi-media blitzkrieg to sell event tickets. And perhaps mindful of some previous criticism, these spots are bigger budget, high-gloss productions when compared to those of the past.

More evidence the CCA is wired in? CEO Greg Stremlaw was right here, in person, at Casino Rama yesterday.

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Howard and Ferbey on Sunday

RAMA, Ontario – Howard versus Jones. Men versus women. East versus west. BalancePlus versus Asham.

No contest. No mas!

It was a good old-fashioned punting, and all that’s left for the reigning world women’s champions is a night of blackjack, poker, craps and whatnot.

Tomorrow it’s Glenn Howard versus Randy Ferbey for all the Casino Rama/TSN skins marbles.

See you then!

The Curling News photo by Anil Mungal

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Howard, Jones in concert

RAMA, Ontario – Flashback to the 80s?

No, it’s not two-hit pop wonder Howard Jones in concert at Casino Rama… it’s star curlers Glenn Howard vs. Jennifer Jones… and curling’s latest Battle of the Sexes has begun.

And it began with a thud for Jones. Three out of her first four front-end stones were missed… and Jones soon discovered that two of those efforts were made with her designated rocks.


But Jonesy is on the board as Howard – with company – had his own series of misses in the third end, and it’s now $2,000 to $1,500 for the boys.

And this makes Kevin Martin the fourth-place finisher, with a lowly $1,000 in event winnings.


The Curling News photo by Anil Mungal

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Ferb beats The Bear

RAMA, Ontario – Two days ago on Off The Record, the four skips were asked “who’s got the biggest temper?” Jennifer Jones, Randy Ferbey and Glenn Howard all said “Kevin Martin”, and The Old Bear himself smiled and agreed.

And today was a just plain bad day at the office for KMart and crew, as the defending Casino Rama skins champions were upended by their Edmonton arch-rivals, Team Ferbey.

A bad stone – which picked out of lead Ben Hebert’s hand not once, not twice but thrice – conspired against Martin throughout the game, but there were a lot of misses too.

Martin even lost his jacket (hopefully temporarily).

This was, overall, a rather subdued semifinal. TSN commentator Ray Turnbull called it “one of the weirdest skins games ever”.

Tonight it’s Jones versus the near-hometown fave, Howard.

The Curling News “Moment of Victory” photo by Anil Mungal