Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Scotties: The Field is Spreading

Going to Draw 9 of the 2007 Scotties Tournament of Hearts, it looked as if the field of competing teams had pretty much divided itself into two groups: the contenders and the others. Saskatchewan looked unbeatable, and Manitoba, Team Canada, Ontario, and BC all had very good records. But now the field is beginning to spread out a bit, with a few of the weaker teams with good records losing and a few of the better teams with bad records picking up a win or two. And who knows how Saskatchewan will perform after having two draws off in a row.

Nova Scotia and New Brunswick are clearly not as good as the other teams, and they are still winless. And Newfoundland's performance seems more in line with their abilities, confirming the suspicion that their making the play-offs last year was a feat that would not likely be repeated this year.

PEI has some flashes of brilliance at times and looks tremendously over-matched at others. I remember having the same impression of their rink last year, when they played in London. With a record of 2W and 4L, they are not likely to make the playoffs, but they might be good enough to cause trouble for some of the contenders along the way, as they did for BC this morning. The NWT seems about the same.

Alberta, on average, looks better than PEI, but I'm not sure they are good enough to crack the top four.

The real puzzle for me is Ontario. They have a great record so far, but their wins have mostly come against the weaker teams. They were blown away by Saskatchewan, but they looked quite good in their 11-end loss to Canada. They certainly seem to have improved considerably since last year.

And although Manitoba started with a loss to Saskatchewan, they have come on strong. Here's hoping I get to see more of the head-to-head matches between the top teams as the week progresses.

I had the opportunity to sneak a peek at the Ontario - Canada draw in my office, now and then this morning, via CurlTV. It sure is nice having that service available, even though there are many ways in which it can be improved.

Another information source that Alan and I discussed at length last year is CurlCast, which provides regular updates of scores and tonnes of other data. I see they still have not made their window resizable (which I would love, so I could put it up top of my screen and keep working), but the information they provide is absolutely amazing.

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