Friday, February 27, 2009

Page 1-2 Playoff: BC v Quebec, continued

Through the first five ends, the teams seem quite evenly match, as shown by the score and by the identical team percentages.

End #6 developed nicely for BC and Quebec had trouble breaking it up. Several misses by Quebec, and a perfect hit-and-roll by BC. Considerable discussion by BC despite their doing so well. Now considerable disccusion by Quebec. Larouche's last shot is left wide open, leaving Mallett with a hit for three (narrowly missed a double for five).
BC 5, Quebec 2

And I'm just too tired to keep this up.

Update: Well, I see that the sixth end was pretty much the determining end, in terms of scoring. Quebec never recovered, and BC ended up winning this game 7-5.

This afternoon (2:30 EST) it will be the 3-4 page play-off featuring Saskatchewan v. Team Canada. And this evening at 7pm (EST) the semifinal, with Quebec playing the winner of the 3-4 playoff.

I may be able to see most of this afternoon`s game, but I will miss tonight`s game completely, unfortunately. Also, our granddaughter is singing in a concert tomorrow afternoon, but it looks as if we will not have miss the final, which is at 8pm EST on Sunday.


Page 1-2: BC v. Quebec

Well, after all the excitement in the tie-breaker, it sure is a let-down that TSN is showing an over-time hockey game, and TSN2 is showing basketball, and TSN.CA isn't showing anything so far as I can tell. Well, finally the hockey game is over. Now we have to wait for the intros to be completed.

It looks as if we'll miss only the first end, and BC blanked that one (according to CurlCast).

End #2:
Quebec sets up two corner guards, and they take turns trying to come around them. Quebec succeeds, but BC picks it out. BC freezes to a Q rock in the back 12, but Q misses its attempt to freeze. Mallett draws around the corner guard, but is a bit short of being 2nd shot. Larouche hits the BC rock in the back 12, forcing BC to draw for one.... barely.

Note: Does Mallett's eye makeup seem a bit more pronounced this evening??
BC 1, Q 0

End #3:
Gushulak hit and roll for BC, but it popped out. Q's LeMay hit it but didn't roll behind cover. Nice draw by MacInnes. Larouche is set up for a hit and flop with her first shot, but stuck wide open. Mallett with a nice hit and roll forces Larouche to draw for one (with a LOT of help from the front end!)
BC 1, Q 1

End #4:
A boring exchange of rocks in the rings after a Q guard slipped into the rings. The exchange continued until Mallett throws the hammer but misses the blank.
BC 2, Q 1

End #5:
BC set the end up well and was in a good position to take at least two. Larouche's last rock, though, was a nice draw, leading to consternation on the part of BC. Mallett picked it out. Larouch hit, but didn't roll, leaving Mallett with a hit for three. So Larouche is forced to draw for 1.
BC2, Q 2

fifth end break. More in the next posting (but again I likely will not finish and will not see the entire game).


Canada-PEI Tiebreaker

End #1: PEI with the hammer in the first end. PEI fails to get around the Team Canada guard. Askin is in now behind the front guards and in front of the T-line. PEI now trying to clean up the front of the house - full of nonsense right now. Current shot helped a small bit.
Jennifer Jones produces one of the most beautiful smiles I have ever seen in my life.
Canada now has two rocks guarded nicely in the house so I can see the reason for the smile.
PEI clean up the front a tad. After some exchanges, we have the front more open but Canada rocks still dominating the house. Likely a pick on an Overton rock and PEI bury a rock beautifully on the center line. Jones taps it back perfectly and Jones sits two.
MacPhee doubles the two Team Canada rocks out! Very pretty. Jones leaves MacPhee a shot at blanking. And they do!
End #2: OK I am sadly forgetful - there was MacPhee content in the Gaudet rink. Someone please enlighten me!
Anyway back to actual curling!
PEI now have two rocks in the house behind a Canada guard!
Officer blasts the Canada guard away and the shooter. (Can Officer ever blast!)
PEI put a rock out in the 12-foot on the right side. (They have two in the middle of the house.) Well, they did until Officer blasted them out - Canada rock over near the remaining PEI rock. Muzika makes a great shot - removes Officer rock and rolls into the middle.
Straight hit from Canada. And PEI do the same. And then Overton. And now MacPhee (the Rebecca version).
PEI is not going to roll over to Team Canada!
Exchanges continue. PEI make a big mis
End #3: No credit to anyone so far. Askin makes a great shot through a couple of holes to get a Canada rock up front. PEI sink a beauty in behind cover. Everyone is laughing. It was that good. Canada clean up the front - PEI guard out front and rock in the front of the 12-foot.
PEI put a rock a bit too deep - just behind the T-line behind the guard. Canada out a guard up in front of it.
Jones has to draw for one. PEI have a sure steal of one, noe measuring for two.
These MacPhees are real!
Overton comes back into the top of the 8-foot, but not shot.
PEI is happy to guard and Rebecca wrecks on the center guard but remains an obstruction.
Jones' first rock is way too light. PEI still has shot.
They plan to tap a rock into second shot behind cover. And they do!!
Jones comes up off the mark and yields a steal of two to PEI.
These MacPhees are pretty spectacular!
End #4:
This is stunning - PEI ahead 3-0 over Team Canada. But PEI has played very well all week so we should not be too surprised.
My mind wandered but this is not looking pretty for Jones. PEI rocks all over the front of the house.
I have to apologize - distracted by my shambling representative of work responsibility. PEI still own the front of the house, though Overton cleaned things up a bit. Sorry - more distraction. Jones really has to draw in to stop the destruction. Sweepers drag the rock into the top 4 - utterly brilliant. MacPhee clears it - Jones makes a totally brilliant double and score two! The game is ON!
End #5: Mind wandering again!
I need to focus my life more on this.
I am still absorbing the fact that the fabulous Cathy Overton, with 10 appearances at Nationals, has the most of those of any Manitoban.
As I reflect on this she makes a great shot.
Too many Canada rocks in the front of the 8-foot - front guards are now gone.
Sorry - too much distraction lately.
First skip PEI rock comes up way short.
Two Canada rocks in the 8-foot. Jones will guard. Not lousily. PEI has to draw against two. Hmm no - maybe a tap. Yes it is a raise of a rock in teh 12-foot though I hear her say "I like the draw:.
It's the draw! And she hits a guard but make it!
4-2 PEI into the break.
End #6:
PEI's Lowther screws up her first shot by going too deep and the next one comes up too light. Askin attacks and sits in the top of the 8-foot. PEI wreck on a guard. Officer knocks the Canda rock out. (Not good.) PEI kill the Canada rock - their rock is open. Officer wrecks mildly on a guard and ends up behind the T-line. Not ideal.
Looked away - that rock is gone. Overton's shot looks useless - almost through the house.
PEI now put a beauty in the fron of the 8-foot behind cover. Overton wrecks on a guard and finishes in the 8-foot. Robyn MacPhee cleans the house up and lise 4! Wow. This is one heck of a team! Jones totally wrecks on a guard. Robyn MacPhee puts a rock into a very annoying place for Canda, ignoring Canada's fumbled rock.
Jones will try to draw against 4. Wow! She too wrecks on a guard but scores her one! After all, she IS Jennifer Jones!
End #7: Wandered off for a bit. Canada finally get a rock to the back of the button, surrounded by PEI rocks. Simplest description is Canada screwed up. Each team tries to lose the end and PEI fails and succeeds by taking one. 5-3 PEI.
End #8:
By halfway through Muzika did the needed destruction. Officer and a MacPhee screw up. Cathy O gets to the button. PEI clean up the house! It was a miss but a luck one.
Great sequence as the MacPhees debate the shot except for the fact that hey agreed!
Jones misses a shot and the MacPhees clean things up. They are tough!
Team Canada choose to blank. This is by NO means over.
End #9: At this point I no longer miss Gaudet. These MacPhees are spectacular!
Sorry - no details. 5-4 PEI with the hammer after 9! Can it get more exciting?!
End# 10: Canada have a couple of good center-line guards. And the PEI front end have done nothing ti remove them.
Officer puts a decent shot into the house and Muzika kills one guard.
Officer does something that makes nobody happy.
Muzika misses. Canada rocks everywhere. Major cleanup by PEI but Canada can still be trouble, And are - burying a rock behind protection in the 8-foot. PEI fail to clear it.
Wow!! At the end PEI have a stark choice - give Jones credit - she is one major survivor.
PEI screw up on their second last shot. PEI need a draw to the button to win.
This has really been exciting and I think Jones may yet win.
OK Well not yet. Extra end!
PEI tick the first Canada guard perfectly. And again!! This is really impressive.
And probably incomprehensible to a non-curling fan.
PEI make a total miss.
Overton comes up short.
One of the MacPhees cleans up a bit of stuff.
Overton gets to the top of the 12-foot.
PEI seem to have cleared some other guard I failed to notice.
Jones places yet another guard.
A MacPhee removes another front guard.
Jones is coming into the house. She is not simply beautiful, but also really tough.
This is just too great!
Her shot is brilliant!
PEI has to win to win,
I think Canada just make it.
This is heartbreaking in a way - PEI REALLY deserved to go forward.
But crazily so did Jones.

The Day Ahead

This should be fun. I would NEVER have picked the MacPhee rink to be in it still - I was casually and ignorantly sorry not to see Gaudet here, remembering her stunning Scott debut still from a few years ago. But the MacPhee rink has been impressive. And they will be challenging Canada in the first tiebreaker today.
Later, and likely unwitnessed by me live, will be the 1-2 Page playoff game (I hope Doc can blog it), which really does not have much in the way of consequences, as both teams remain alive at the end.
From what I have seen, both BC and Quebec have earned their part in that game. And for all my complaints about the over-exposure of Saskatchewan on TSN this week, I look forward to watching them in the 3-4 Page playoff game.
There is really no rink that has been unwilling to play aggressively. BC do love the hitting but their games have been an entertainment. Rules changes can sure help cure a sport. To think that even Kevin Martin has become a tactician!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Draw 17: Second half

After the first five ends, Team Canada leads BC 4-2, and BC has the hammer.

Great quote from Cathy Overton-Clapham during the break:
Jenn's in her own little space and we let her stay there
Judging from the conversations and announcers' comments, it sounds as if Team Canada didn't scout BC's proclivity for hitting very well. I don't understand Jones's decision with her last rock. She tried a hit with minor roll and seems to have gotten it, forcing Mallett to try for one; Ms. Eclectic and I wondered why she didn't draw around the BC guards. Mallett's draw percentage is pretty low, and forcing her to draw seems as if it would be a good strategy. Mallett tries for a hit and stick instead of a draw and sticks it.

Canada 4, BC 3 after six.
Jones has the hammer. With her first stone, she took waaayyy too much ice and was wide open. Mallett hit, but didn't roll. Wide open, allowing a Jones hit-and-stick for one.

Canada 5, BC 3 after seven. BC has the hammer.

I'm fading fast. It's been a long day. I'm not even sure I'll see the end, which is annoying, to say the least.

Cathy OC is narrow, yet again! and jams a double attempt, leaving BC sitting 1-2. Nice tap up and split by BC to sit three. Jones goes for the triple, got two of 'em, leaving BC sitting shot, but Canada has the next three. BC can split the rings and guarantee two. Wtf are they dithering about? Even a novice like me can see the shot. But remember Mallett's draw percentage is only 67%, and indeed, her first attempt is two feet too heavy. Jones peels the shot rock, leaving Mallett with an attempt at a double for two or a draw for one. She opts to try for the double. Linda and Ray both say it'll be a difficult shot. She made the double but lost the shooter.

After 8 ends, Canada 5, BC 4; Canada has the hammer.

No more from me for tonight.... too bad....


Draw 17: So Much Is On The Line!

Well, whatdya know: the featured game on TSN does not include Saskatchewan!

But all four of the games are crucial for at least one of the teams.
  1. Nfld needs to defeat NS to stay at only 5 losses and have a ghost of a chance of being in a tie-breaker.
  2. Ontario needs to defeat Alberta to stay at 5 losses and to drag Alberta down to 5 losses.
  3. Saskatchewan needs to beat Manitoba to avoid slipping to 5 losses and the monumental mess of tie-breakers.
  4. Canada must beat BC to avoid slipping to 5 losses.
So far, in the featured game, Canada/Jones took two in the first end and forced BC to take one in the second end. The Jones rink looks both concerned and determined to me. So far, the TSN announcers are puzzled that Jones seems to be playing the BC game of keeping things clean. So clean, in fact, that they managed to blank the third end.

We just realized that if Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Canada all win, there will five teams tied for second with records of 7-4. Fun stuff!!

In the 4th end, Mallett (BC skip) made a perfect hit and roll, forcing Jones to draw to the 8' to take one, but her shot was way too heavy and so BC stole one.

2-2 after the 4th end.

In the 5th end, the Jones rink had a chance to sit for three, but Overton-Clapham's 2nd shot rolled out, so in the end Team Canada scored two.

Canada 4, BC 2

Time for the fifth end break. Second half in a new posting.


It is Brutal and Simple

Three teams make the playoffs - BC, PEI, and Quebec. There is much stunning about this! And it is also wonderful.
Tonight Team Canada play BC (who have NO need to win), Alberta play Ontario (who need close to a miracle to make the playoffs), and Saskatchewan play Manitoba (who will be in screw-you mode). Seems there is a vague hope that those with 5 losses (NL, Ontario) might get through. Pretty vague.

Lawton Again????????????????

OK there is a reason but this is insane.
And Doc is right - they all have bangs. Nobody's quite match Marla Mallett's but I did notice Marliese Kasner's.
They are playing Quebec (hair all tied back - no bangs) and are down one. This is a key match.
Sorry - keep having to pay attention elsewhere, to less important things.
Back again shortly.
WOW!!!!!!! 5-5 tenth end.
Larouche trying a run-back - and it is perfect! Quebec win. High risk - they finish 7-4 and will be in the playoffs.
PEI beat BC. Wow! This is getting wild. PEI are 7-4 too.
What will tonight bring.

Sorry, Alan....

Ms. Eclectic just called and says that once again TSN is featuring Saskatchewan! What are the total numbers of times each team has been featured?

Plan for tonight: go home. nap. watch curling. order pizza. crack open some more cider.


Not Saskatchewan!

I am confident this morning's 15th Draw telecast will NOT feature the Saskatchewan rink. I hope it will be PEI-Team Canada, as that appears to be the only match between teams both contending for the playoffs.
Also, later today I will verify the claim that the whole Saskatchewan team feature bangs. I think my obsession about BC is just that Marla Mallett's are so aggressive. (That is a compliment.)
Woo-hoo! It is Canada-PEI!
PEI will certainly have earned their way into the playoffs if they survive today - they play Team Canada and then BC.
End #1: Jones makes a fine shot at to nudge a PEI rock after a lot of complication. She had hoped to demote it to third counter - it takes a measurement to decide on her success. And a long measurement! In the end Canada get only one.
End #2: Cathy Overton buries a shot perfectly behind a PEI center-line guard and Rebecca MacPhee removes it summarily and sticks. Jones hits and rolls behind some guards on the left. Robyn MacPhee goes a bit deeper than she wanted behind the center guard. Jones comes and sits on top of it on the button. MacPhee nudges it. Another measurement! This could be one long draw if we need measurement in every end. Team Canada get a steal of 1.
End #3: Sorry - my mind was wandering - after all, Tiger is back on The Golf Channel! PEI blank the third.
End #4: PEI take 2. Nobody actually tries to make much of a play with the last couple of rocks, the scene having become so messy.
End #5: Apologies - letting my few remaining responsibilities that resemble work interfere. Somehow PEI stole 2.
End #6: Team Canada get 2 back. This is turning into a heck of a match. Sadly my mind must be mostly elsewhere.
End #7: Omigosh - Team Canada have created a brutal house. Can PEI even get one? Nope - steal of two for Team Canada.
Hmm we are in End #9 and it is 6-all! I just looked up.
Jones' first rock in this end slides past a bunch of PEI rocks. She gives up a steal of one but goes to the tenth end with the hammer so is probably not too fussed.
Amazing - I look up again and see it is 7-7 after ten ends! Into an extra end and PEI have the hammer. Might Team Canada miss the playoffs?
End #11: Brilliant come-around by Canada, and PEI clean away the center guard. Jones makes a bad shot. PEI win.

Log Jam..... Again

Wow, isn't it fun to speculate about the standings, the play-offs, and potential tie-breaker games?

After Wednesday night's play, the BC rink had clinched a spot in the play-offs of the 2009 Scott Tournament of Hearts, but after that, there were two rinks tied at 6-3, followed by FIVE (count 'em, 5) rinks tied at 5-4.

When Alan and I were covering the Scott for CHRW news a few years ago in London, Ontario, this type of situation led to all sorts of fun, speculation, mathematical computations, etc. among the media as we discussed all the options. I'm sure it will be no different this morning in Victoria, and I'm sure the TSN telecasters will be going into orgasmic delight over the possibilities. It is loads of fun!

Unfortunately, I'll have to miss the first two draws today (on the road, again; first in Hanover, then in London; sadly, both in Ontario, not Europe). And after all the day's activities, I'll probably fall asleep before the 17th draw this evening at 9:30pm EST.

Maybe I'll take a nap when I get home...

Labels: ,

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Reflections from the Road

Ms. Eclectic and I were traveling a bit today, but we did manage to follow Alan's postings via our iPhones (thanks, Alan!). Unfortunately, the CurlCast stats require "flash" technology, which doesn't seem to work on iPhones.

At about 1:30pm, we stopped at Walker's Landing in Walkerton for some cider and lunch. While there, we managed to catch the 7th end of the Canada-Quebec draw. We couldn't hear the announcers, but what on earth were the skips doing in that end??? It looked as if Jones had things well in hand and then called a run back of her own rock, which knocked out their rock instead of the Quebec rock. And then Larouche made an equally puzzling call to hand the advantage right back to the Jones rink.

Around dinner time we ended up at The Albion in Bayfield. No cider there, dammit, not even in bottles. But they very pleasantly turned their tv from the golf channel to TSN so we could watch curling.

After watching Saskatchewan yet again (Ms. Eclectic was delighted, since she always cheers for the Sask teams), I confess to bemused confusion about Alan's nickname for the BC rink: all four curlers for Sask have bangs!

As the 9th end concluded, I happened to look at the Exeter weather radar on my iPhone and saw the freak and unanticipated snowstorm hitting our area, so, with Sask up by two, we left for home and figured we might make it home in time to see the last few shots of the 10th end. Alas, the storm was fairly serious, so we crept home, arriving only in time to learn there was to be an 11th end. Geez the Sask rink sure does look a lot better than they did in those first three games that they lost. Now they're in the thick of things. The way they're playing, it won't be the last we'll see of them. Sorry, Alan!

Labels: ,

TSN - Lawton yet yet again!? I quit

I refuse to blog about this featured round. This has become ridiculous.
UPDATE: OK OK It is after all involving Cheryl Bernard and Marliese Kasner.
End #1: Saskatchewan go very aggressive but are undermined by a great Alberta rock. Alberta stunningly force Lawton to take one. Which she gets.
I am pretty sure Bernard's Joan Crawford eyebrows involve the use of makeup.
End #2: Alberta draw for one. And get it.
End #3: Focus on dinner for me. Missed most of the end. Blanked.
End #4: Lawton comes up short on their first skip shot. Bernard tosses up an obstruction. Lawton has only an angle raise. She whiffs and Alberta steal 1.
End #5: Kasner clears away some guards very nicely. Alberta does not get guards quite where they want. Lawton misses nonetheless so Alberta steal one more.
As much as it annoys me that TSN keeps featuring Saskatchewan, I can watch Marliese Kasner until the cows come home.
End #6: Lawton needs and makes a great runback to lie one. Bernard plans a wildish in-off; it backfires. Lawton can draw for two. 3-3.
End 7: Bernard takes 1 after a lot of mess.
The cows came home - I am out of here (maybe).

Draw 12

I think TSN is offering Canada-Quebec, a rather amusing idea of a matchup. If it were other than just curling, and of course this is just curling.
Meanwhile the team with the bangs, BC, dominate at 6-1.
Apologies - this match turned into a wipeout so not worth posting on. Team Canada won big time.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Grace MacInnes is Fierce

Oh the shark has pearly teeth. So does Grace MacInnes, BC's third.
She is fabulous! Even without bangs. And she could likely fix that failing without losing the teeth.

She's Got a Great Future in This Game

Uttered a few minutes ago about Andrea Kelly, New Brunswick Skip, in the midst of a battle against the Bangs team from BC.
But I thought about the claim. I recall Kelly vividly from the Scott Tournament Doc and I covered.
So what about her future?
In the Canadian system, though she is apparently shooting the best among all the skips being rated, she can recruit her team only from New Brunswick, and really gets no chance to play in any larger context without people she can persuade to move to New Brunswick.
This regionalism kills curling as a sport. Each year I keep hearing praise of our regional system. I think this is utter nonsense.
A little more money in the sport and it would not matter - people could be properly paid to move (Coase Theorem.). We see this already in the men's game (John Morris).
Could Curling Canada ever break this stupid geography worship? I doubt it.
But I wish they could. An Andrea Kelly not bound to recruit from inside New Brunswick could create a far more entertaining team.

Curl, Like You're Supposed To

A comment from the BC-NB game in Draw 11.
Too perfect. And it did curl.
UPDATE: The one bangs-free BC player, Ms. MacInnes, is really tough. That is the role of a third.

Lawton Yet Again!

Saskatchewan against Team Canada in Draw 9.
There is something very curious about Lawton's prevalence on the TSN coverage.
End #1: Wildly aggressive, and Jones is throwing against three Saskatchewan rocks to try to cut the steal to one. Russ Howard thinks the draw she has chosen is risky, on untested ice - the sweepers have to work very hard to get the rock past even one of the Lawton rocks. Saskatchewan steal 2.
End #2: Blanked though there were quite a few rocks in play at various points.
End #3: Lawton's first shot is brilliant, tucks in behind a guard and joins another Saskatchewan rock in the front of the house on the center line. Jones tucks a rock in behind those, partially protected. Lawton punches it out, forcing Jones to play for one. Successfully. 2-1 Sask.
I now feel officially over-exposed to the Saskatchewan team. Might be back for Draw 10 though!
UPDATE: I fibbed - Jones gets her 2-point end - 3-3 after 5.
UPDATE: 4-4 after 7. Canada open with one rock past the T-line, and one through the house (not intended). Lana Vey puts up a guard and a perfect shot behind it. Officer tries to freeze to it but Sherri Singler has no trouble punching it out. Officer removes one Saskatchewan rock. Singler removes Officer's rock but spills. Exchange of takeouts follows. Lawton ends up having to draw against three. And misses, giving up a steal of two.
OK now I should be tired of Saskatchewan.
UPDATE: I confess. I fibbed again. I actually watched the whole tenth end after Lawton tied it up in 9, because in 10 Saskatchewan was on the hunt for a steal from very early. And they do steal, but just barely! Lawton rink wins 7-6.

Monday, February 23, 2009

CurlTV in Korea?

According to all the advance material I have seen, nobody in Canada will be televising any of the round robin games of the Women's World Curling Championships in 2009 from Korea. So I looked to see what draws CurlTV might be showing on their internet tv service.

When I couldn't find an answer on the CurlTV website, I wrote them, and received a very quick response:
Unfortunately it is too early to know which draws we will be covering form the World Women’s in Korea in March. The event is just under four weeks away and we will likely not know the broadcast schedule until a week or two before the event begins.
Does anyone have any information about other possible ways to watch those draws? Ms. Eclectic and (and apparently Alan, too) are erratic sleepers, and watching the worlds during the middle of the night might be a great option for us and many others.


Scotties Draw 7

End #2: Laroche sinks a beauty behind a bunch of guards and Bernard responds by punching one of the guards back into the house. Great shots, both of them. Larouche is drawing against two.
She comes up short and Alberta steal one.
End #3: Sorry - too caught up in Cheryl Bernard's eyebrows. Despite Doc's views, I think she IS applying some makeup. (I like it.) Alberta got some points there, when Larouche missed.
End #9: Back again! Quebec up 6-5.

Scotties 2009 - Draw 6

Excellent - two undefeated teams - BC (bangs) versus Quebec (no bangs).
End #1 : Somewhat conservative end, with some misses. For a 3-0 record, Mallett has an oddly low shooting percentage (73% to Larouche's 83%). Larouche leaves a biter with her last rock. Mallett still blanks handily.
End #2: Perhaps the game has begun. Quebec guard up, and BC in behind it. Two Quebec rocks out front, two BC rocks in the house. This could be an interesting end. Wow - LeMay clears the house, except for her rock, now in the front of the house. BC kills it and sit in front of the house. Quebec reciprocate. BC wreck on a guard. There is a lot of obstacling in front of the house. Quebec draw in just behind the T-line, and not entirely covered. BC remove it, and stay open. Quebec do the same. BC wreck on a guard. Quebec toss up yet another guard, not quite where they wanted it. Nice BC hit and roll by Mallett, tucked in behind a few guards. Larouche for Quebec is just a little too heavy - Mallett can draw nicely for two. Howard does not like the initial broom placement, and BC narrow it per his specs. The draw is perfect. 2-0 BC
End #3: Was off making lunch. Russ Howard is impressed with the aggression of the Quebec team, ignoring a BC rock in the house, and trying to come around a guard - but they missed. BC toss a rock up in the very front of the house. Quebec remove it. BC put a guard up that does not guard. Quebec kill the BC rock in the house, and sit, but open. BC kill the Quebec rock and lose the shooter. Quebec tap one of their guards into the house. Thge port is minimal. Amazing shot - just clears guards and puts a BC rock behind some cover. Larouche now planning to follow Mallett in - she wrecks and adds another guard for the BC rock. Mallett puts a rock just behind the button behind a guard. It is behind the T-line so gives Larouche a shot for one. But a tough one. Quebec comes up short. BC steal one. 3-0 BC.
End #4: Meanwhile Saskatchewan may prevail in a match. At the moment I still yearn for an Ontario-Saskatchewan final, but it is not looking good. Lunch preparation is complicated so I have missed a few shots. BC has rocks in front of the house and in the house, and those aggressive Quebecers do not get into the house as planned and leave a rock in front. BC's Gushulak whacks the Quebec inadvertent guard. Quebec's next try goes through the house. BC's 'guard' comes into the rings. Quebec remove it but remain wide open. BC do roughly the same. Quebec have buried a non-shot rock now. Mallett misses tinily but puts an obstacle in Quebec's path. Larouche does not get what she wanted- her rock is totally open. Mallett kills the Quebec rock and Larouche must take one. And do, 3-1 BC
End #5: Again - off working on lunch. Quebec seem to have some problems in place and BC is hitting at the moment to clear things up. Mind wandered - but what a great shot - BC remove Quebec rock in the house. I have little useful to say about this end. Larouche gets a perfect roll onto the button on a late hit. Mallett clears it and sits two. Larouche leaves a BC rock in the rings after her hit. Mallett draws nicely for two. BC 5-1
Off to watch Law and Order and return later.
End #9: 7-4 BC. Probably no need to keep calling it. If it gets exciting I shall return.
Last end, I am pretty sure. Down to last skip rocks, BC ahead 7-5.
Quebec has one player with bangs, BC one player arguably without. Mallett has easy hit to win. And does.
Meanwhile, Andrea Kelly, who was also marvelous back in 2006, and started badly, now has a win from McCarville.
Lawton can go to 0-4. This does not seem right! She steals one in the tenth end to go to 1-3.
Meanwhile in their tenth end, NL decide to obstruct with a guard to keep the NWT/Y options small. The guard looks good. Galusha's shot is magnificent! She gets the two she needs, dragged by the sweepers. Extra end! Heather Strong's first rock clears up the house with a superb double. But her last shot leaves NWT/Y with a win.

Marla's Bangs

Wow - three against McCarville!
Meanwhile NL are great! And then NL whiff! Saskatchewan are back in the house.
BC win again over Ontario. Bangs city! Over really weird glasses.
NL beat Saskatchewan, for whom I am worried at 0-3.

Lawton Again!?

Oscars over, and me still awake, I decide to check on the Scotties, a far more honest enterprise.
Saskatchewan is featured yet again! I am happy, as a total fan of Marliese Kasner and her sister.
Heather Strong, though, draws for five against them! Wow.
Far more interesting than Sean Penn's self-absorption, or Kate Winslet's.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

The 2009 Scott: Draw #4

Alan says he was worn out from the excitement of the close matches in draw three, and so I guess that leaves it to me to do some updates on the fourth draw. The TSN featured game is between Quebec and PEI. Some opening observations:
  1. Is it just me and the way I see things, or are the curlers wearing less makeup today than they were last night?
  2. It looks to me as if several of the curlers are putting more handle (spin) on their rocks than I am used to seeing. Is there a reason for this?
  3. At our club, the ice seems to slope downward toward the outside walls on the outer sheets. I wonder if that happened there yesterday.
A nice come-around by Belanger set the end up for Quebec to force PEI to take one.

End #2:
Nice hit-and-roll by PEI set up the end early, and the Quebec second couldn't really get the long-guard run-backs. But the vice made a good double peel of the guards, followed by a good run-back tap-and-peel. MacPhee (PEI skip) really muffed her first shot this end, taking out HER shot rock. She tried to redeem herself, going for a double, but took out only one Quebec rock, leaving Quebec with an easy draw for two.

Quebec 2, PEI 1

End #3:
The end started as a mess with a bunch of center line stone for both teams. Quebec was definitely in control this end, until MacPhee (vice) made two doubles, peeling the guards and then driving two Quebec rocks from the house. Larouche nose hits a PEI rock on purpose, MacPhee-skip comes up short, and LaRouche taps up her own center guard but leaves a hole for R.MacPhee to draw through for one.

Quebec 2, PEI 2

End #4:
Lemay (Quebec 2nd) made a great tap up to put Quebec in a dominant position, and MacPhee (vice) came up short with her first shot. But then Belanger (vice - Que) essentially whiffed on a take-out attempt. PEI set up more guards, leaving a narrow port for Quebec, but Quebec instead opted for a double peel of two PEI guards. Nice guard by PEI skip, leaving Que skip a double bump attempt which she barely missed (over curled due to too little weight). PEI goes with an aggressive attempt to steal, but touches the guard. Larouche finds a small port, and drives a double tap back to bump out the PEI stone to score three. Exciting shot. Ray sounds as if he might be having a heart attack!

Quebec 5, PEI 2

End #5:
Lots of guards and run-back opportunities with Quebec sitting 1-2. And Quebec just keeps putting up guards. Looks almost like club-level curling at this point. With all the guards, PEI is left a difficult double-raise double-take-out. Hit perfectly but a tad light. Steal of one for Quebec.

Quebec 6, PEI 2

End #6:

As the end opens, Quebec gets lots of rocks in play, and PEI struggles to do much of anything. In fact Quebec even removed one of its own guards, to keep things cleaner.

Meanwhile, Team Canada smokes NS 9-1.

Quebec seemed to dominate the entire 6th end, but Larouche was three inches heavy, leaving a tap for two for PEI, but it was a bit wide. Another steal of one for Quebec.

Quebec 7, PEI 2


Oops. A break for dinner and to wring our hands about CUPE's latest, and when we come back to the curling, we see that TSN has given up on the Quebec-PEI game even though PEI stole one in the 7th and now trails 7-4. TSN is focusing on Alberta-Manitoba, where Alberta leads 5-4 in the 9th without the hammer.


Scotties Round 3 not done

Newfoundland-Labrador and British Columbia in extra ends!
Two NL guards up front and a BC rock also up front, having wrecked on a guard. BC rock at the back of the button.
NL freeze attempt is vulnerable.
Rather than clear guards, BC goes after the rock in the house and simply promote the enemy rock.
NL put another guard in place, with a rock on the button, and NOT with the hammer.
Now BC clear the two center guards.
Cathy Cunningham puts up a pretty decent NL center-line guard.
BC really clean up the middle!
NL put another guard up but there is room to get by. BC go after the guard. And clear it nicely.
NL guard replacement is pretty short.
BC's skip, Marla Mallett (I really like her bangs) does not quite get rid of the NL counter - comes into the house, and does open up the button.
NL still shot rock - want time out to consider.
Heather Strong places a rock in the front of the button behind some guard.
Mallett punches Strong's rock out! Wow - she stole two in the 10th from Lawton yesterday. Mallett is causing trouble!

Scotties Round 3

TSN is featuring Saskatchewan-Ontario, so we see Lawton again.
First end - Saskatchewan put up a front guard, Ontario come around it. Russ Howard likes the apparent enterprise of both teams, not passively exploring the ice. It is one of my recollections of the 2006 Scotties Tournament I attended that McCarville's rink played quite fearlessly. Ontario get 2 in the first end.
End 2: Saskatchewan get 2.
End 3. Neither team can get behind two Saskatchewan rocks at the front of the house until McCarville's first rock finally executes the necessary hit and roll. Lawton tries to draw in behind but wrecks on one of her guards. McCarville throws a perfect draw through the hole for 2.
Ontario 4-2.
End 4: Ontario has a couple of rocks in the house behind the T-line. Saskatchewan's last second rock tucks behind a front guard enough that Ontario wrecks on the guard. Saskatchewan just gets a rock to touch the rings at the front - too light. Ontario lying three, again with two rocks available for a freeze. The attempted freeze is a big miss - too MUCH weight this time. McCarville overthrows a little and puts a rock on the button, according to Russ Howard, 'perfect' for a Lawton freeze. She is heavy too and her shot is fairly open, and removed handily by McCarville. Lawton has to draw against 5. Perfect rock to the button. Ontario 4-3 after 4.
End 5: Ooopps. Got to reading about Miley Cyrus but back. Saskatchewan has two buried on the button behind a front center-line guard and Ontario seem to be clearing their own rocks out of the house. Saskatchewan put another rock up in the front of the 8-foot. Ontario wrecks on the front guard. We are now up to third rocks. Saskatchewan inadvertently put another guard up beside the other one. Tara George's attempt to clear things up does not quite do it. Marliese Kasner deliberately tosses up another guard. George's response is no help - now two guards out front. Russ Howard points out that Ontario's shots have not missed by much, but all in just the wrong way. Lawton does not do what she wants but adds further obstruction in front of the house. McCarville is planning a raise - as I said above, fearless. Howard calls this a 'high degree of difficulty'. And it misses, opening the center a bit. Lawton puts a perfect guard up - there seems no way into the house. Howard thinks Ontario can play only to give up just two. She does it perfectly. Saskatchewan 5-4 after 5. This is turning into quite the roller-coaster ride.
End 6: Ice has been refreshed and it seems everyone is confused. Action now is all in the back of the house; Ontario missed a good freeze opportunity. Ontario is trying to find a spot into which to put a rock in front of Saskatchewan backing. Bad bump. Marliese Kasner cleans up somewhat of a mess. George almost freezes to the one remaining Saskatchewan rock, and Kasner just misses freezing to hers. George cleans up a bit too, but not quite as planned. Lawton's freeze attempt winds up beside the Ontario rock. McCarville hits it with a prefect roll. These two teams are SO much fun to watch! Open hit for McCarville for two. Perfect nose hit. After 6, 6-5 Ontario. Wow!!
End 7: Lost the thread a bit - I do have a life. But back in front of the screen. Three Ontario rocks in the house, Saskatchewan ignoring them. George's first rock wrecks on a guard. Saskatchewan has the counting rock and Kasner tosses up another guard. George tries again and makes it third rock - not an entirely great solution. Kasner clears the Ontario rock and sits under cover with another Saskatchewan rock. McCarville parks a rock in front of those, just in front of the T-line. Lawton misses a double attempt. To quote Howard again, "All of a sudden it was the wrong call". McCarville puts a rock in the 8-foot in front of her own. Lawton misses a planned double and now Ontario steals 1. Ontario 7-5 after 7.
End 8: Back from the kitchen, the first shot I see is an Ontario whiff. A couple of rocks later Saskatchewan manage a great hit and roll to lie 2 with good guards up front. Somewhat later, George just misses a great shot and creates an even bigger mess. Two guarded rocks in the house after Kasner puts up another guard. Ontario needs raises now - McCarville's first try gets rid of one Lawton rock. Lawton misses and now has a guard, to sounds of "Sorry". McCarville's draw attempt comes up a bit short, and does not get to being shot. Lawton has a draw for two, and puts it on the button. 7-all after 8!
End 9: Ontario surely wants to blank and early rocks seem to help them. No guards. Really clean end so far because of a Lana Vey small error. End is now an exchange of hit and sticks. Even worse, now an empty house, and McCarville JUST hangs onto the rings. Lawton knows about this from earlier in the match. (In the second end she got one from a bare biter.) Lawton hits and sticks. McCarville blanks perfectly. Woo-hoo!! Tied up into the final end! Can it be better?
End 10: Two Saskatchewan guards up front, two Ontario rocks in house. Saskatchewan comes into the house, but not counting at the moment. Ontario hits a guard but simply leave their own there. Saskatchewan now come in to the house, but behind the T-line, if buried. Ontario clear out the front guards finally. Kasner guards teh Saskatchewan rocks. George peels the guard. Kasner replaces it.Georgre - rinse, lather, and repeat. Lawton puts a guard back. Two Ontario stones and one Saskatchewan. McCarville gets aggressive and misses big, going through most of the house. McCarville must really be wondering about weight now. Lawton pust a great obstruction up in the front of the button. "Do you like this call, Russ?" "I don't like it if I am throwing it." STUNNING SHOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! She bumps another Ontario rock into the button. Ontario win 8-7.
Can I dream this will be the final next ThursdaySunday (sorry - too excited)?

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Alan at the Tankard

Earlier, Alan posted several photos he took at the Ontario Tankard several weeks ago. Here's the only photo I took (with my iPhone):

Labels: ,

Scotties Round 1

This is arguably the toughest women's curling competition in the world each year.
I plan to post odd comments as the first round is played.
Whom will we be seeing? Saskatchewan and BC. Delightfully, I know none of the BC people. Saskatchewan's Stephanie Lawton team are somewhat familiar to us.
First End: Second first Sask rock is terrible. OTOH BC's two rocks in the house are behind the T-line.
First BC second rock clears up much of the mess but not all of it. BC puts a rock in the front of the four-foot. Cleared now by Sask. Next BC shot sadly leaves a BC rock in the house as the whole residue.
House now empty. Big early nervous errors.
First end a tad weird, but blanked.
Second end:
BC start with two nice shots in the front to the four-foot. Sask replace the fron one with on of theirs. BC clear it, but a bit concerned about the ice speed. Sask clea rone of those and slide in really beautifully behing a guard of theirs on the right. BC almost freeze to that nice rock. The 'almnost' means it can be cleared.
Instead, Sask remove the other BC rock and bounce into the house in a pro.ected position. BC clears it cleanly, and now sit 2, doublable. They do not clear but are in great shape now.
Weird and messy house now. A miss but it leaves Sask with rocks up front. Brilliant shot leaves two Sask rocks counting. BC wants to double the Sask rocks out. Nope - leaves one of them still there and counting. Sask have to take one. And do.
Third end: Sorry - of on another deal
Fourth End:
Called away: Sask 5-2 after 5.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

The Latest Nude Women of Curling Calendar

The 2009 - 2011 calendar featuring exquisitely artful photos of female curlers is available. The photos were posed and/or taken by Ana Arce, herself a curler. You can see most of the photos here. The one below is especially captivating. The side-lighting is very effective.


Yes, this calendar runs for thirty-six months and has 36 different photos.

[h/t to Craig Newmark for the pointer]


Saturday, February 07, 2009

Scenes from the TSC Tankard, Feb 6 afternoon round

Some skips in characteristic poses:
Glenn Howard:

Mike Harris:

Rick Thurston:

The Howard rink study a messy house:

Peter Corner studies a messy house:

And it's curling so there should be sweeping! The Howard front end - just look at the lean into the brushes!

Monday, February 02, 2009

The Ontario Men's Playdowns!

Unbelievable - my local cable channel is covering this too.
Unbelievable again - the first round is covered on tape delay. So it is pointless live-blogging it.
Go look for the scores here.

Strength versus Delicacy?

Watching the Superbowl on the weekend, one of my brothers and I were reflecting on how many sports at the highest levels no longer resemble the sports of our childhood; largely, we agreed, this is the result of drawing from a larger pool of potential athletes, some technology, likely some coaching, and a much greater focus on fitness and skills.
This article
in Macleans looks at curling. I think most of the factors above explain what I see as the major changes in the quality at least of men's curling. The article's analysis of whether performance-enhancing drugs might matter seems generally interesting, though I am astonished at this passage, which seem to me simply foolish:

Bulking up may help sweeping, but players have to maintain the “touch” in order to throw—finesse still trumps muscle power, says Martin

Err, umm, what is the contradiction between being stronger and having more touch? It seems to me added strength simply provides more options, and likely more delicacy too. Is there any research or data to suggest otherwise? I find the idea that these are in conflict nonsensical. It seems to me that greater strength in general should provide greater touch.
And of course this is why Doc's question in this post has, at the very top levels, an answer that seems to me utterly obvious. (My answer is "Yes", at the highest levels.)
Watching men's competitive curling is different from watching the women's game at that level - shots you simply expect the men to make become more exciting in the women's game.

McCarville Represents Ontario in the Scotties

I did not manage to see the whole McCarville-Goring match, as I had responsibilities elsewhere.
But what I saw was wonderful - four straight blanked ends! I am not sure I have ever seen the like.
I remain skeptical of the "steal one-take two" strategy and would love to see a Sabermetrics study of it, but the ability to blank four ends impresses me no end.
After those ends I had to leave, but Krista ScharfMcCarville is back to the Scotties, I think for the first time since Doc and I were the main media people at the event.
Congratulations to the McCarville rink! We were big fans then and surely will be again.
UPDATE: I think I am wrong and McCarville's rink has been at the Scotties when I failed to notice. This could only be because my work life interfered with proper attention.