Sunday, January 30, 2011

Some Old Faces Going to the Scott

Amber Holland out-curled Stephanie Lawton quite steadily throughout the Saskatchewan final to win the right to represent Saskatchewan at the Scott Tournament of Hearts in PEI. Top-seeded Lawton had dominated her pool and had handily won her page play-off. But the second-seeded Holland, who struggled to make it to the finals, both played and strategized superbly.

Elsewhere, Kelley Scott will once again be representing BC, and Shannon Kleibrink will be Alberta's representative at the Scott. As we noted earlier, Homan (a new winner from Ontario) will be there. Also, Cathy Overton-Clapham is skipping her own rink (sans Jones et al, who will return as reigning champions) and will be the Manitoba representative.

All-in-all, the 2011 Scott in PEI should be a fine mix of old and new.


I have been a big McCarville fan but I Love a sport that is so open to allowing new people to prevail.
Welcome Homan team! (And hey I am from Ottawa.)

Some Early Results

Amber Holland jumped off to a 4-0 lead with a steal of three in the second end and never looked back, defeating Cindy Ricci 9-2 in their semi-final of the Saskatchewan Scott Tournament of Hearts. Holland meets Lawton in the final this evening. Through the round robin, Lawton looked spectacular and Holland struggled.

Canadian Open: Apparently the 4th-end break helped the Howard rink regroup, as they tied the game with McEwen 4-4 in regulation play. In the extra end, Howard made what looked to be an unmake-able double, but then McEwen played a very tight take-out for the win. I'm sure lots and lots of hockey fans were inspired by that curling! 8-)

Ontario: As I'm writing this, Homan leads McCarville 9-6 after 9 ends. Homan jumped out to a 4-0 lead, but McCarville edged her way back and stole 2 in the 8th to make it close. Homan scored 2 in the 9th to take a three-rock lead into the 10th end. [Update: Homan wins 9-6]

Additional thoughts/questions:
  • I'm still struggling, trying to get used to 8-end games like the Canadian Open among the pros and semi-pros. We play lots of 8-end games at our club, but I keep expecting more. If they've cut back on curling to have more cutesy interviews, I'm less-than-keen on them.
  • Kudos to Saskcurl for trying to do so much with their website. The webcasts have been very good. At the same time, though, they really need to work on fixing all the things on their site that don't work.

Ontario Playdown

Well one thing I can do is give you all a link where you can follow the match.
The young 'uns clearly scored big early. It will be interesting to see how well they hold their position.

Apologies - Ontario Playdown

Seems Rogers has decided to run some useless hockey game. So sorry, I cannot live-blog the women's playdown.
How stupid can people be?

Lots of Curling Action Today

As Alan watches the Ontario women's playdown to determine the qualifier for this year's Tournament of Hearts, I didn't make it to Outlook, so I'm watching the Saskatchewan women's playdown via their webcast AND watching Howard vs. McEwen on CBC at the Canadian Open.

The semi-final in Outlook is just beginning, but the final of the Open is just underway. Howard's team's performance in the first few ends reminded me of his performance in the Olympic trials: deer in the headlights type of stun. At the same time, McEwen looks very good.

Meanwhile, women's playdowns are being held in most of the other provinces as well. The entrants for the Tournament of Hearts will also be determined this weekend in Alberta, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, PEI (delayed until Monday due to the weather), and the Territories. [links here with results at the very bottom of that page.]

Ontario Playdown

As Doc follows the Saskatchewan playdown, I am now ready for this afternoon's Rogers broadcast of the Ontario playdown.
I am pleased, nay delighted, that Krista McCarville's rink, who were a highlight of my past Scotties experience, have made the Ontario final. But the rink of the tournament so far is clearly that of Rachel Homan, which went 8-1 in the round-robin part of the playdown.
What is shocking to me is that Krista McCarville's rink is now the senior team!
This actually makes me very happy - it is nice to see there is a wave of younger people ready to take on the establishment. And it is interesting to see from the Homan team's web page that Olympic possibilities have been a big motivator.
I hope to live-blog the final, starting at 2.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Lawton Looks Unbeatable

The Stephanie Lawton rink defeated the Cindy Ricci rink 9 - 5 in eight ends in the page one playoff at the Saskatchewan women's curling tournament.

Never in the entire tournament has Lawton had to throw her last rock!

(trial posting from my iPhone)

Addendum: that worked all right. Maybe I can live-blog the draws tomorrow on my iPhone? Hmmm. I wonder if there is any Rogers service in Outlook....


Peel Your Own Rock???
intriguing strategy

I'm sure it has happened before, albeit infrequently, but in the tie-breaker between Folk and Holland at the Saskatchewan Scott Tournament of Hearts, Holland purposely peeled one of her own rocks.

The setting was this: Holland was up by one in the tenth end with the hammer and had one rock in the rings. Everything else was clear, as Folk's attempt to hide behind that one rock had barely coasted through the rings. So rather than leave Folk anything to freeze to, or anything to hide behind, Holland just peeled her own rock, leaving Folk with an empty house for her last rock.

Sure as shootin', Folk drew to the button with her last rock, and then Holland peeled that rock for the win. It sure was fun to watch that process.

Addendum: I didn't make it to Outlook today. I'm still thinking of going tomorrow. I've been watching the tie-breakers on the webcast site (see the posting below this one). As I've tried to say before, it is remarkably good for having only two cameras and no replays.


Thursday, January 27, 2011

Saskatchewan Women's Curling Available on the Web

For those of you who would like to watch the playdowns to determine which women's team will represent Saskatchewan at the Scott Tournament of Hearts, there is live coverage available as a webcast here. The site is often very slow to load because it is being overwhelmed by viewers and others looking for information, but the coverage is a pleasant surprise in quality of picture and quality of commentary.

If I have a chance, I'd like to go to Outlook, SK, this weekend to watch the last two days of the tournament. If I go, I'll try to report live from there from time to time.

Addendum: There are several teams in this tournament whose names you will recognize. There are lots of good curlers in Saskatchewan. Let me add that the webcast really is quite good for this type of thing in a province with such a small population. The curlers in the feature games are miked, and there seem to be several different camera angles. Also the resolution is acceptable. The server overload and database problems seem endemic to curling (see our comments in recent years), but overall this is an impressive bit of webcasting.

I'm living in Regina for the next few months and looking forward to enjoy a lot of curling while I'm out here, including the Men's World Championship.

Update: The Saskcurl website is seriously overloaded, but using the direct link to their webcast sometimes lets you avoid that problem. Here is a one way to reach their webcast directly:

Free video streaming by Ustream


Sunday, January 16, 2011

Lisa - Thanks! More on the Continental Cup

OK with the competing (for coverage) NFL semi-final slowly turning into the predicted farce (I resisted the prediction), I am now trying to enjoy the Continental Cup coverage.
Some of Lisa`s points from her comment on this rather grumpy post are helping.
And it does NOT help that there is little really competitive aspect anymore to this. TSN`s coverage reamins pretty good - I find Russ Howard very interesting and it is hardly surprising that he seems to know stuff. Linda Moore is up there too.
So I want to thank Lisa for helping me enjoy this more.
Part of me wonders, "Is there still some golf?".

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Let Me Try to Understand the Alternatives?

OK on TSN I get some weird curling skills challenge. Involving players weirdly from around the world.
ON CTV (BTW Which owns TSN) I get to watch an NFL playoff match; moreover it is between Baltimore and Pittsburgh. It will be rigorous.
Wow - this is tough.
Who exactly will be left watching the curling? All of you please comment!
Good luck curling as a sport!

Is Curling Finished?

This appears to be the first post on this blog in a wrong while. I fear strongly this is a symptom.
I am currently watching the Continental Cup on TSN and have NO motivation to blog about it. Why, I ask myself?
And I think I know.
It is really boring.
And in a way this is shocking.
It is really sad to see the quality of the talent involved in this competition and see the incredibly large number of empty seats, despite TSN's clear efforts at obscuring the lack of bums in seats, and I would guess viewers (though I am here for the moment, but maybe not till the end).
Why do I care about these teams? They are a jumbled-up mix of actual playing teams, and yeah I LOVE watching Carmen Schaefer deliver a rock, but everyone here is playing in some weird artificial tournament, with teams not resembling teams I know and care about, and I would guess also suffering since they are such artificial teams. It is VERY clear that the key elements of communication in teams is utterly eroded by the team jumbling.
What happened? Wasn't curling supposed to pick up steam with its Olympic recognition? And yes it was.
Instead, it seems to have challenged its traditional notions of team formation, in Canada, at least, which is I suspect the only place to have an impact in sponsors.
Instead it seems to have undermined what made curling REALLY work in Canada?
Am I wrong?
All I can say is *I* find it really hard to motivate myself to watch this tournament any more (and have found it really hard the last couple of days).
This is despite the fact that this is REALLY a bunch of the best players in the world. But it is not like the Ryder Cup. It is not just the question of tradition, though that can be a bit of it.
I hope this blog finds new life but for some reason I feel imperiled by the curling world.
We shall see.