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Linda Moore retires to battle neurological disorder

Rauter, Moore and Turnbull at Vancouver 2010 (TSN photo)
Rauter, Moore and Turnbull at Vancouver 2010 (TSN photo)

After a 25-year-career, Linda Moore has retired, effective immediately, from TSN curling broadcasts in Canada.

The network made the announcement today, citing “a chronic health condition.”

However, Linda wants the curling world to know… she’s okay!

“I have what’s called benign fasciculation syndrome,” Moore told The Curling News from her home in Vancouver. “It’s a neurological disorder and the doctors don’t really know what causes it, but it’s probably from a virus, or vaccines, or stress. It’s not Parkinsons, but it involves tiny, tiny twitches.”

Moore first noticed this occasional and involuntary twitching in July of 2013, and it has since travelled from the initial area of her calves and feet to her tongue and, more recently, to her fingers.

However, the other aspect is extreme fatigue, which she says is the main reason she has stepped aside after so many years.

“It’s the crew I’ll miss the most,” said Moore. “Twenty-five years with Vic Rauter… and I made it!” she joked.

TSN has rushed to fill the void left by Moore by announcing a roster of various analysts will join Rauter and Russ Howard on the talent crew. TSN’s first event of the year starts this week, on December 3, with the Canada Cup from Camrose, Alberta [UPDATE: And late Monday night, we learned that 2010 Olympic silver medallist Cheryl Bernard would be the first to fill in for Moore in Camrose].

“Linda is not only an excellent curling analyst, she’s also an excellent broadcaster,” said Scott Higgins, Senior Producer, Curling on TSN. “She has been incredibly well-researched, with a natural ability to tell stories. Her greatest strength is her depth of knowledge, and her insights into the game within the game.”

“I want to thank Vic Rauter for being my guide during those years, as well as Russ Howard and Ray Turnbull for sharing the booth with me,” Linda told TSN public relations. “Thanks as well to Scott Higgins and all our incredible producers; Andy Bouyoukos and the other talented directors; my colleagues Cathy Gauthier and Bryan Mudryk; and everyone involved with TSN curling.  This is a group of talented people who are passionate about sharing the superb skills of curlers with fans, and I have been proud to be a part of the crew for so long. I wish the TSN crew all the best for the coming season.

“As well, thanks to the fantastic curlers, hard-working event host committees, and the fans who have let me into their homes for so many years. You may still see me at your local curling clubs, helping to coach a team at a practice or bonspiel.”

Moore skipped a national and world champion team from British Columbia in the mid-1980s, and also won demonstration gold at the 1988 Olympic Winter Games in Calgary. She has also served the sport as an administrator; as Executive Director of CurlBC for 19 years, promoting the sport and developing curling programs throughout the province, and also as the ED of the Sandra Schmirler Foundation (2005-06).

As a Level 4 certified coach, Moore has been actively involved in coaching for many years. Her husband, Al Moore, also coaches actively, and is currently raking in gold medals as the coach of Switzerland’s national women’s team.

Linda Moore was inducted into the Canadian Curling Hall of Fame in 1991 and the BC Sports Hall of Fame in 1990 as part of the 1985 World Championship team.

You can read the full TSN news release here.

The December 2014 issue of The Curling News is now in circulation, and includes the Canada Cup broadcast schedule as a part of the “Curling TV/Web Guide”. The guide is also expanded with additional listings in the December digital edition, being released tomorrow to subscribers. To purchase a subscription, and with that an extra nine entry ballots into The Curling News‘ Pinty’s All-Star Curling Skins Game contest, click here.

Tell us what you think in the Comments section below – we’ll make sure your best wishes are sent along to Linda!

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These girls are Olympians

by Margo Weber
Hurry HARD! Go BerNARD!

I write this blogpost still excited about last night (and very tired, that was my latest night in the Patch for sure.) You see, I have a confession. Susan O’Connor (photo left) from Team Cheryl Bernard is one of my best friends (me at photo right). We’ve been friends since we were early teens and I had the pleasure of being her Maid of Honour this summer at her wedding to Todd Brick (now there’s a curling name, eh?).

I would have been really happy with a Shannon Kleibrink win yesterday too, and I admit I’m a closet Amy Nixon fan. But I most of all was sick to my stomach nervous for a win for my friend. And I got it. When that rock stopped I jumped and jumped with my arms in the air. I sat with that crazy crowd of striped scarves and cheered and screamed and didn’t care who heard.

Susan deserves to go to the Olympics more than anyone I know, she played great all week. She plays with class. She never says anything bad about anyone. She loves her team. She has faith in her skip. And now she is an Olympian and I’m so proud.

I went to the winners banquet last night and it was so neat to talk to her family and the families of the rest of the players. They are so excited, as most of them didn’t dare to think about what would happen the next couple months. They are all going to try their best to find a way to go to Vancouver and see their loved ones play for Canada.

No matter what happens, these girls are Olympians. That can never be taken away. They are now part of a fraternity of brothers and sisters forever. Last night legendary Olympic rower Marnie McBean came up and introduced herself to Susan and said ‘Congratulations, you are now one of us.’ It was very cool. Russ Howard gave Sue the advice that she would have to ‘learn to say no.’ Haha! What a ride my friend will be on.

Way to go Cheryl, Susan, Carolyn and Cori!

Cute tidbits from last night:

Each player had to pee 90ML into a cup, sternly watched. This apparently took at least a half an hour each person, and one player (I’m not gonna say who!) had to go back again after the party.

When I went up to the Patch bar to buy some drinks with Sue’s hubby, Todd, he said to the bartender ‘My wife is going to the Olympics!’ and the bartender said ‘What sport?’  It was hilarious.

Looking forward to the men’s final, just now underway. Will it be another close one? Can’t wait.

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The Olympians are coming

EDMONTON – Oh, the stories they’ll tell.

The Olympians are coming. No, not the handful of medallists among the competitors at the Roar of the Rings, which starts Sunday… they will soon be the stars of the show, as we all know.

We’re talking about the members of teams Sandra Schmirler – minus one, sadly,  of course – and Mike Harris (Karuizawa, 1998)… and teams Kevin Martin (incl. the two Dons) and Kelley Law (Ogden, 2002)… and even a couple of bodies from teams Kleibrink and Howard-slash-Gushue, from Pinerolo, 2006.

The Canadian Curling Association is flying them in for the opening weekend, which starts tonight with the Opening Banquet; continues Saturday with opening night At The Patch; and peaks with the start of play on Sunday, with the Opening Ceremonies and appearances in the Keith’s Patch for some interactive “Up Close and Personal” sessions.

Good on the CCA for celebrating its Olympic Trials past, and welcome to The Roaring Game’s heavy medallists.

And the stories they’ll tell!

Missing out on Edmonton? Sure, TSN TV – in High-Definition all week, for free – will help make up for it, but there really is no substitute for watching the games live in person. In our humble opinion.

As for these Olympic stories, rest assured that The Curling News will take care of you… be your fly on the wall… through this here TCN Blog, and/or through the @curling Twitter feed, and/or via the post-Trials January issue, in our popular They Said It department.

And also through the lateral efforts of our commander-in-chief, The Curling Guru, who also writes a weekly Sun Media column.

All we ask in return is for you to subscribe to The Curling News, which is delivered six times per annum to your door in a protective polybag, via first-class mail. Please support us in our quest to provide the ultimate in essential curling news and information, across multiple media platforms.

We guarantee different content in all these deliverables mentioned, and your patronage will help us consolidate our position as number one in the curling media world.

And those who give the gift of The Curling News, aka subscribe a friend or family member over the next couple of weeks – say by December 18 – will see that recipient receive a gift card notice in time for the holidays, explaining your gift.

Tomorrow, later in the day, another TCN expert gives her Trials predictions, in addition to those four who have already seen their fearless forcasts appear in the December issue – world wheelchair champion and six-time Brier skip Jim Armstrong; TCN columnist and Calgary Herald curling wizard Allen Cameron; CBC talkie and Olympian Mike Harris; and four-time bronzed STOH skip Sherry Middaugh.

That’s a fifth expert, tomorrow, right here on the blog.

Sunday, just prior to the opening ceremonies, ace blogstar Margo Weber weighs in  with her first of many Trials postings. You remember Madge, and her partner Dalene Heck, blogging from last March’s Tim Hortons Brier in Calgary, right? (use search box at top left)

We’ll have lots from Margo, and some other surprise blogstars, throughout the week here in Edmonton.

And we do it all for curling. We simply love curling, and we know you do, too. Thanks again for your support, folks.

POSTSCRIPT: Have you been following our tweets? If not, make way and follow, because you have missed the following:

Jennifer Jones, Glenn Howard first to arrive
Randy Ferbey’s alternates anger; Glenn says relax
• Will the Mythbusters blow up a curling stone? Vote for it…
• Trials predictions: what does the math say?
• Another curling calendar gal takes it off (NSFW/age warning)
• Canadian provincial playdowns in high gear this weekend
• Mammoth European championships ready in Aberdeen
• Geez, this guy seriously dislikes The Ferb
Hec Gervais, St. Albert native, would have been proud
• World Curling Tour event results and wrapups
• Ferbey credited with finding new CCA/WCF sponsor
• Curling meets Tailgating in Green Bay Packerland

… and more!

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Olympic flame on curling ice

From the last post, to the big reveal.

2006 Olympic champion Mike Adam, alternate for Brad Gushue’s victorious foursome and the young man who committed one of “the most selfless acts in sport history” became the first Canadian high-performance curler to carry the Vancouver 2010 torch… and the first-ever human to slide with it down a sheet of curling ice.

The Katie Greene photo above shows Adam alongside former Team Gushue Olympic coach and 1976 Brier champion, Toby MacDonald.

“It was awesome,” Adam told The Curling News.

“In spite of it being Friday the 13th I didn’t wipe out… and I didn’t set the club on fire, either.”

Adam was on the ice at the St. John’s Curling Club in Newfoundland and Labrador, the traditional home base of Team Gushue and many of the island’s top competitors, and accepted the torch from the previous bearer, 2007 Canadian junior champion curling skip Stacie Devereaux.

Adam then proceeded to slide halfway down the sheet of ice. Then, he did it again… nice and slowly, for the assembled media.

“I was thinking, if I slide past real fast to get to the other end, I’ll blow by the people that are lined up to see it, and they don’t get a chance to see it that well,” said Adam.

“So I figured I’d go slowly, and give everyone the real gist of it, show the symbolism.”

Adam enjoyed the technical term VANOC organizers gave to this particular segment of the torch’s unprecedented 45,000 km journey, which will visit 1,000 Canadian communities.

“They call it an ‘Alternative Mode of Transportation,’” Adam chuckled.

Adam was one of 160 torchbearers who carried the flame more than 110 kilometres across Newfoundland on Friday.

On a day when his Olympic teammates with Team Gushue were officially eliminated in the race to defend their championship in Vancouver, thousands of miles away in Prince George, British Columbia, Adam spoke poignantly about his return to the club.

“It’s been almost a year and a half since I’ve been back here,” said Adam, who now lives in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia.

“It would have been great to have everybody back here for this, but the boys had to be out west.

“I give the organizers full marks for including curling, and our team, in this amazing journey.”

There’s more from Adam and his big Friday in today’s edition of the St. John’s Telegram.

Later today, Alberta front-end curling legend Don Bartlett runs with the torch, in his original hometown of Gander, Newfoundland.

Other Olympic curlers slated to carry the torch are Russ Howard (Moncton, Nov. 29), Don Walchuk (Moose Jaw, Sask. on Jan. 10), alternate Ken Tralnberg (Hague, Sask. on Jan. 11), Marcie Gudereit (Lloydminster, Sask. on Jan. 12), alternate Sandra Jenkins (Salmon Arm, B.C. on Jan. 27) and Georgina Wheatcroft, who will bear the flame at Whistler Olympic Park on Feb. 5.

The full list of 300 Canadian Olympians who will act as torch bearers can be seen here.

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Russ roars and so much more

Russ Howard roared, particularly on this stone (a missed draw for two in the seventh end) but to no avail, as he lost yesterday’s Bern Open finale to Norway’s Thomas Ulsrud by a 7-5 score.

The 2006 Olympic and two-time world curling champion had a 4-1 lead but watched the Norwegian 2010 Olympic hopefuls take two in the fourth end plus a big three in the sixth to assume control.

Howard previously won the event in 2007, beating Ulsrud 4-3 in the semifinal with a steal in an extra-end.

Of course, if you are following The Curling News Twitter page (aka Tweets) then you would be aware of these results, and more (check it out now for Barrie results, wheelchair curling results in Norway, and stuff about broken toes).

And on the TCN Twitpic page you can see – yes, actually see – a blow-by-blow account of the conclusion to the Bern Open semifinal between Ulsrud and Scotland’s Peter Loudon, in which Ulsrud took two in the eighth before producing the hit and roll of the tournament, in the extra-end, for the 6-4 win.

Meanwhile, in nearby Kuesnacht, a battle of 2010 Olympic women’s hopefuls took place at the Grasshopper Women’s Masters. When the smoke cleared, Germany’s Andrea Schoepp had stolen a 7-6, extra-end win over Debbie McCormick of the United States.

In London, more Olympic internationals are through to today’s playoffs of the Southwestern Ontario Women’s Cashspiel (SWOWC) along with two-time defending champion Rachel Homan of Ottawa, Sherry Middaugh, Alison Goring and others.

At Medicine Hat, the Meyers Norris Penny Charity Classic also wraps up today – for both men and women – and the first big U.S. Tour stop of the season took place in St. Paul, MN, with Thunder Bay’s Mike Pozihun bringing the title back to Canada.

[Thanks to Switzerland’s LAOLA TV curling channel and Europe’s Curling Champions Tour for the visuals]

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Canuck Curling Coaches

As faithful TCN readers already know, the Swiss coaching experiment starring Russ Howard is more-or-less over but a dual Manitoba-Swiss experiment, at the national team level, has just begun.

Yesterday’s news that Alberta’s Rennee Sonnenberg has agreed to coach the Danish Olympic women’s team is just one more example of Canada’s influence in the world of curling. And there already exists an example within Denmark: Winnipeg’s John Helston, who won the 1984 Brier with skip Mike Riley, has been working with the Olympic men’s team – skipped by Ulrik Schmidt – for a few years now.

Which brings us to another Schmidt. We understand that the U.S. Olympic teams will be jetting to Switzerland, tomorrow, for 10 days of training, accompanied with teams from Austria, the Czech Republic and Switzerland.

The training centre is the Kussnacht Curlinghalle, which just happens to be one of the stomping grounds of Rodger Schmidt, the Canadian-born curling coach who has been based in Switzerland for many years.

Schmidt, of course, is the well-regarded European columnist for The Curling News… although we dug this news up from our side of the Atlantic, using Swiss search engines and U.S.-based spies.

And the Canadian coaching beat goes on.

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Swiss curling update

It’s all things Swiss in today’s The Curling News Blogpost.

Why?

Well… why not?

1. Team Mirjam Ott made some waves at the end of the 2008-09 season by replacing second Valeria Spaelty with team alternate Carmen Kueng. Spaelty was the last remaining member of Ott’s 2006 Olympic silver medallist foursome, and Kung had been the squad’s dedicated alternate the last couple of seasons.

A photo of the new Team Ott, who are pretty much confirmed to represent Switzerland at Vancouver 2010, is located here. The accompanying update states the squad will be taking a full six-month leave of absence from work to focus on the drive to Vancouver, which will include six weeks of training/touring in Canada.

2. Team Ralph Stoeckli, fourth-place finishers at the Ford Worlds in Moncton, need to win a special best-of-seven playoff against 2008 European rep Stefan Karnusian to book their tickets to Vancouver. But should they win, they will not be heading to the Games with team coach Russ Howard.

Russ has confirmed his gig with the CTV Olympic broadcast consortium – which of course features the TSN curling crew – and will be doing the suit and tie thing in Vancouver. Howard might still be jetting to Switzerland in September to do some work with the squad – this is still TBD – but he definitely won’t be wearing the white cross in February.

Here’s a photo of Howard in his Swiss duds, consulting with Stoeckli and lead Simon Struebin, who just happens to be Europe’s representative on the board of the new World Curling Players’ Association (as we revealed last month).

Back in November, you may recall that TCN scored the first photo of Russ in his new coaching career.

Speaking of photos, the CCA image above (shot by Michael Burns) shows Stoeckli in a huge fist pump just as his final throw settles into the button for a big win in Moncton.

3. But there’s another Canadian coaching saga in Switzerland… two, in fact. The husband and wife team of Lorne and Chris Hamblin have been hired as Swiss Curling’s new national team coaches.

According to the Winnipeg Free Press story, Hamblin said he and his wife only wanted a chance to coach at a high level and the Swiss opportunity came along before any other. “If there had been similar opportunities in Canada,” said Hamblin, “we would have pursued that. But there weren’t.”

4. Andreas “Andi” Schwaller has hung up his boots… for now. The man who rivalled Stoeckli for Swiss skipping honours throughout this decade – winning world silver in 2001 and Olympic bronze in 2002 – has retired from competition… but perhaps only for a year, as this story would indicate.

You can also listen to a radio interview with Schwaller – in German, of course – on this page.

So, there you go. Anything else for the rest of this North American holiday week?

• CTV’s retrospective Olympic features titled “Where Are They Now?” includes Joan McCusker, and that famed 1998 Olympic championship squad

• Sudbury, Ontario is currently hosting its annual Dominion Amethyst Curling Camp, which is previewed here and also featured here

• Three-quarters of Team Jennifer Jones made an appearance last weekend in Blackfalds, Alberta …

• Kansas City, USA curling action takes place on Monday nights through August 31 …

• And finally, the New Zealand curling championships started today, with the finals set to wrap up on Sunday …

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Murdoch: not really the first

Okay. Not that we wish to correct TSN, The Sports Network, when they declare that Scotland’s David Murdoch will become the first international team to compete in the third annual Casino Rama Curling Skins Game in January, 2010.

Because they’re right. In the three-year history of this event, only Canadian teams have featured. So let’s call today’s story a… clarification.

Because when we look back at the last three decades of TV skins curling, there have actually been a few international skirmishes. Before Casino Rama’s time, of course.

The first is pictured above, from the cover of the December 1993/January 1994 edition of Canadian Curling News (click on image to zoom in).

Do you remember this edition of the old McCain/TSN Skins Game? The 1993 event, hosted in Ottawa, was a doozy.

Russ Howard – with brother Glenn and the front-end tandem of Wayne Middaugh and Peter Corner – had just won the Brier and Worlds, and looked very good early on in their semifinal against unheralded Milt Sinclair of Abbotsford, B.C. Howard won the first three skins over the first five ends.

But it began to unravel and the left coasters then took the lead. It was only on the last stone of the match that Howard pulled it out, grabbing a $3,000 skin for a narrow $9,000 to $7,000 victory.

In the final, Howard met up with the first international team to ever be invited to the Skins: David Smith of Scotland, who had upended Ottawa’s Bill Walsh in the other semi (Walsh won $7,750 in another tight match).

Curling fans may remember the very public and vitriolic reaction from Eddie “The Wrench” Werenich, who of course missed out on the chance to compete because of the invitation given to Team Smith. The Wrench was, er, not very happy.

And it was all-Scotland through much of the final. In fact, as the photo shows, the Howards were blanked through the first eight ends, down $15,000 to zero, and Russ was clearly reeling. One wonders if Smitty was actually beginning to feel sorry for him. If so, big mistake.

Russ and Co. had blanked the seventh and Smith had blanked the eighth, leaving an $11,000 skin on the table in the ninth. Howard finally cashed in, making a tap-back to score the skin and make the 10th end meaningful, as it almost always is/was (Casino Rama Skins Games are now eight ends in length, of course).

And lo and behold, the Wounded Moose pulled it off in the final end too, stealing the final $6,000 skin and the victory when Smith missed a last-ditch runback for the win.

The champs took home $37,000, which also included the $10,000 winner’s bonus and another $1,000 for winning the pre-event draw to the button.

This was also the first Skins Game in which all three games went down to the last stone.

And there are two more international skins appearances to remind you of.

We are pretty darned sure – and please correct us if you think we’re wrong – that Norway’s Pal Trulsen appeared in the McCain/TSN shootout soon after his Olympic triumph in 2002.

And another Scottish team, skipped by Tom Brewster, appeared in one of the short-lived M&M Meat Shops Skins events – and made it all the way to the final of the six-team event – televised by rival broadcaster Rogers Sportsnet. Remember that one, folks?

Anything else going on, you ask?

• Wednesday is “Camp Day” at all Tim Hortons stores across Canada, a special day where every penny earned in coffee sales goes to a worthy cause: the Brier sponsor’s Tim Horton Children’s Foundation. Don’t be surprised to see some of Canada’s top curling stars slinging coffee and donuts at various store locations tomorrow …

• The twin sons of TSN curling colour man Ray Turnbull – affectionately labelled “in-turn” and “out-turn” – were in the news last weekend

Brad Gushue’s hometown St. John’s Telegram recently published a look back at his squad’s – er, sorry, Russ’ squad’s – 2006 Olympic triumph

• SHAMELESS SELF-PROMOTION 101: For some reason, Canwest News recently recycled this online story from March’s Brier frenzy, in which The Curling News boss George Karrys was quoted on the rarely-discussed question of curling songs …

• Speaking of curling songs, Skip Cottage liked our recent highlight of the bizarro Jamie Jay Singh song, reposted here… and this here video tribute to Seattle’s Granite Curling Club boasts its own original curling song

• Less than two months after the successful Ford Worlds came to New Brunswick, that province’s Interscholastic Athletic Association will vote today on whether or not to throw five sports – including curling – off the provincial high school athletic roster

• Finally, would anyone care to guess why these apartments for rent in Hoboken, NJ have been called Curling Club apartments?

In Hoboken, New Joisey?

Somebody help us understand. Please.

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Ford World Curling: Near-final thoughts

MONCTON – Some thoughts on the 50th anniversary Ford Worlds in Moncton, before we hand the last word(s) over to ace blogstress Katja Kiiskinen:

• We (The Curling News) printed a loud warning to Canadian curling fans on the front cover of the January 2009 issue, when we described David Murdoch as the “Neo” of curling and explained that his full-time curling duties are now focussed specifically on beating Canada for Olympic gold next year in Vancouver.

Three wins in a row over the hosts in Moncton, for his second trophy in four years, is a good start to his ultimate goal.

• Having said that, we note that the young Scots’ two major wins this season came on steals in the championship final: a heavy draw from Norway’s Thomas Ulsrud at the Europeans and Kevin Martin’s shanked raise takeout last night.

What does this mean? Like all the curling greats, these Scots can find a number of ways to win.

• Speaking of Martin, the questions will continue to come all this week as the Grey Power Players’ Championship gets underway tomorrow – yes, tomorrow – in Grande Prairie. Martin is in the hunt for big bucks, but will his head be in the hunt?

You can find many of these questions online, such as the 62 comments posted (at this time of writing) listed below this CBC Sports Online story.

Other queries come from Terry Jones, who is a big fan of John Morris’ “Gong Show” quote, and who gathered quotes from rival Randy Ferbey and even The Old Bear Cubs from the on-ice microphones for this interesting story.

Here’s another from Dan Barnes, another Edmonton writer who is joining in on the pile-on atop one of his town’s favourite sons.

There’s also this one here from Al Cameron, although we beg to differ that “not a soul” in the Coliseum could see Martin’s non-throw coming.

We did. And we told our media bench neighbours about it, and we were vindicated when it happened.

KMart is known for this kind of thing. Skins Games, in which he throws tens of thousands of dollars away just to keep the hammer coming home. Extreme corner guards, just off the carpet, when trying to steal… just to make the other skip pause and think a little.

We saw it coming. And we called it.

This Cameron finale points a finger at Scottish second Peter Smith, who also had some struggles in earlier matches in Moncton …

• Yet another Al Cam piece – this one from his blog – also points out the cringe-worthy anthem that was played at ice level during the closing ceremony. Ye Gods.

Scottish people do NOT like hearing Ingerlund’s national anthem in place of their own.

Ye Gods!

• As for the Scots, what do they think? Mike Haggerty’s words – which include the classic “mayhem” – are located here, while Bob Cowan wondered if it was all a dream

• Yes, the opening ceremony dragged on far too long but it was quite a thrill to see something so “big” and glitzy to start the week. The legends who were there – all four Richardsons, The Owl, Eigil Ramsfjell, The Ferb and more – were a fantastic addition. The ancient trophies – from the Scotch Cup to both Silver Brooms – were amazing to see.

• Funny stuff you TV viewers never get to see: veteran curling arena announcer Stuart Brown screaming KMart’s pre-game (semifinal) intro before a crazed crowd: “Kevin HOWARD!”

This on live television, beamed around the world.

Martin’s teammates collapse in gales of laughter.

Martin himself looks befuddled, then smiles, shaking his head.

Stu drops to his knees in disbelief.

Russ Howard is, of course, loving it.

“That was hilarious,” said Martin afterwards.

“You know what? The problem is I don’t hear very well. I actually didn’t hear it. Had to ask the boys what happened and they were killing themselves.

“That’s a good blooper. But I don’t think he (Brown) mixed me up with Russ (Howard). I’ll bet he mixed me up with Glenn (Howard).

“Glenn and I have the similar hairline.”

• What does Moncton think? Here’s not one but two pieces in today’s local blat. And we agree: great show, folks.

• A reminder that you can watch highlights and full-game rebroadcasts through TSN’s Video On Demand player, via this page.

CCA photo by Michael Burns

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Ford World Curling: The Final

by Katja Kiiskinen

MONCTON – Since I have now successfully dodged the subject of the actual curlingcompetition for the entire week thus far, it might be time to bring it up.

For the first five days of the competition it was Canada versus The Rest of The World.

Team Martin had no problem reading the ice (which was at times a bit tricky) and they were making every shot. With the exception of their Germany game on Monday, Canada seemed to have every game won in the first five ends.

Still, their first loss was coming all week and some might suggest that Canada’s loss in that last draw against Scotland was the worst possible timing.

When you’re finally challenged and beaten after a week of “easy” games, suddenly adjusting your mental approach to the game takes some effort.

And lots more effort if you then find yourself with two losses in a row.

For the rest of the teams who still had a chance to make it in the top four, it was time to buy some beers for the David Murdoch’s Scottish boys.

Team Kevin Martin definitely knows how to win, but once Scotland had them by the throat on Thursday, we could actually see an inkling of uncertainty in the hometown team’s performance.

Then, in Friday’s playoff (CCA photo by Michael Burns) we saw more than just an inkling. And I can’t blame them – in front of this crowd, losing can seem like a scary prospect. The “Go Canada Go!” cheers we heard here on Friday sounded like they were almost demanding their boys to step up their game.

At the beginning of the week, if you had asked me who would win this thing, I would not have hesitated to say Canada, even though Scotland and Norway were also standout squads. Despite a couple of losses, Scotland and Norway were both performing consistently and seemed like sure candidates for the top four, and the ones to challenge Canada.

However, after having the courage to mix it up, Russ Howard’s Team Switzerland found the confidence and started improving their play, game by game, and became part of the equation.

After a much more convincing performance, Canada will be part of the final after all.

For me, this week has clearly shown the importance of a team’s mental strength and willpower. The body language and commitment of Team Martin tonight was miles away from what we saw yesterday against Scotland. They have been able to pull it together.

Still, if you ask me now, I think Scotland is no longer merely a contender. Because they were able to shake the ground under Canada, it will be an even, and hopefully entertaining, championship final tomorrow, and the pressure is definitely on Canada.