Monday, February 01, 2010

Reflections on the Morning Draw

I managed to watch much of the two games of the Monday morning draw of the 2010 Scott Tournament of Hearts. I really enjoyed the curling in the later ends between Ontario and Saskatchewan. Lots of rocks in play, interesting discussions (including the insightful commentary from Russ Howard), and some really fun, challenging shots. The strategies, knowledge, and skill required to curl at this level are what make watching curling so exciting.

At the same time, I'm still puzzled about why the curling percentages for so many of the players seem so low. Are the scorers being harder on the curlers this year? Or are the curlers just not quite so good? In defence of the second view, both Ms. Eclectic and I have wondered, based on what we have seen so far, which, if any, of these teams can win the world championship this year.



At 2/01/2010 4:35 p.m., Blogger catester said...

The scores of the players seem so low because the players are missing so many shots.

The times, when TSN gets around to showing them, have been 16.5 for a draw. That is really, really keen ice. Normally you expect arena ice to be 14.5-ish. The extra keen ice means that leads are coming into the house and in some cases right out the back, when what the skip is calling for is a front stone.

Scoring is based on what is made in comparison to what is called. If a lead is asked to put up a tight centre line guard and goes out the back, that is a zero.

When the leads can't get their rocks where the skips want them --- for whatever reason --- it's harder for the seconds to make their shots and their stats reflect that.

The effect cascades right to the skips. If every time your skip gets in the hack she's facing three or four, her shots are also tougher, she's not going to make as many of them, and the scoring will reflect that.

Stats are just stats. They can be helpful in analyzing what's going on, but in fact you can have lousy stats and make key shots to bail out your team or win an end. The stats are still lousy, but the score is what's important.

The reverse is also true. Your team can make everything you call, but if you call a crappy game you lose, even if your team makes all their shots and comes away with good stats. Again, it's the score that's important.

What will be interesting is to see how the stats change over the course of the event. This will happen if/when the players become more comfortable with the ice conditions or if/when the ice conditions change such that they are more like what players typically expect in an arena. Looking at the stats for six draws is interesting, but not terribly informative. You can look right out on the sheet and say, "Wow, they need to get those guards up better!"


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