Thursday, December 24, 2009

We've moved!

Welcome to our 799th post here at The Curling News Blog... and our last one on the Blogger platform.

Each and every posting dating back more than four years, starting with our very first one in September 2005, has moved over to our new bloghome, which is located here.

This is, of course, also the location of our brand-new website, which launched somewhat quietly during the Canadian (Olympic) Curling Trials earlier in December.

As you can see from the screen capture above, we have kicked things off with a new blogpost at our new home. So do check back, and often, at our new location... just as so many of you curling fans did at this former location, and quite religiously, over the years.

We've moved, but we're not leaving. We are The Curling News, founded in 1957, and we love curling.

Merry Ho Ho, everyone!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Olympic Trials postscript

by Margo Weber

As I write this I can barely keep my eyes open. Immediately upon completion of this blogpost, I will put my kids into bed and fall into the sack myself.

What a week! I had a blast trying to come up with stuff to fill up your brains. I can’t wait for the Olympics. My girlfriends are discussing a girls trip out to Vancouver (oh my GAWD). We’ll see, I think my husband and kids are attention-starved right now. The good news is, there is NO curling this week to distract me.

Here's a final pic from my camera... in the midst of the Team Cheryl Bernard fan club, who dressed up to the nines in their black-and-whites.

Thanks to my editor, gk, for being pretty much unavailable and for making me want to gouge my eyeballs out. However, I did have fun and enjoyed hearing ‘What’s up Playah!?’ from my friends in the Patch.

Congrats to The Curling News on a fantastic new web site...  and don’t forget to check out the @curling Twitter feed (gk and I have a relationship eerily similar to John Mayer and Jennifer Aniston; he spends more time twittering than discussing curling with me.)

I also got a Facebook message from TCN yesterday; apparently there's a super subscription deal on, but only until the end of... tomorrow, as in December 15.

Subscribe before the end of the day and get three extra issues tacked onto your subscription, and if you happen to give a gift subscription, gk and co. will mail a special card to the recipient, in time for next week's holidays, naming you as the gift-giver. Not bad. So why not just give'r! Head to the website for the PayPal thing, or ring them at 1-800-605-CURL (or +1 905 887 1261).

Until next time... good couch curling!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Dude is gonna be a star

by Margo Weber

Okay, so I didn’t go to the final game, and watched it at my in-law’s house. They had a pre-Christmas dinner. We do more than one Christmas on that side of the family.

As soon as the game was over and last rock was thrown... the TV was turned off. Sigh. My favourite part... and I missed it.

I don’t have much to say about the game, except for the obvious: the Kevin Martin squad was the team to beat. They played better, they were just plain better. They will be our best representatives from a skill standpoint... not that I’m in love with his international record but hey, let’s not beat a dead horse here.

I still see some shiny medals coming home to Alberta. I suspect gold in colour, but who knows.

I look forward to seeing how outrageous the John Morris campaigns will be. I’d imagine we’re going to be seeing him rake in some serious cash for advertisements etc. Especially if he helps bring home the gold. Right now, every curling fan in Canada knows who he is. The Olympics are a whole different animal. Dude is gonna be a star.

I like to think of opportunities for curlers at a time like this. The Martin and Cheryl Bernard team members are funded to the tune of $1,500 each a month, tax-exempt, for 30 months. And if they win gold, it will be even more profitable to stick it out and curl and curl and curl and curl and in some cases, treat it like a job.

Don’t get me wrong, nobody’s getting rich curling. But things like getting cash for Olympic medals (is it still $20,000 for gold?) certainly help out the wallet.

Just don’t blow it all on souvenirs.

Photo caption:
KMART: Geez young fellah, you are so gonna overshadow me in Vancouver!
JMO (contemplatively): Yes. I know.

[CCA photo by Michael Burns]

Sunday, December 13, 2009

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.

Curling immortality

by Margo Weber

EDMONTON – Oh, what a night.

Here's a pic I snapped from last night's women's final at the Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings, aka the Olympic Curling Trials.

This is the quick scrum they do for media with immediate deadlines – this used to be just the print guys, but now everybody wants everything they can get right NOW – right after the last rock, and before the march down the ice to the podiums, and the TV finale.

There's more media scrumming afterwards, of course, and you can see the interviews with champion Cheryl Bernard and finalist Shannon Kleibrink here.

Awesome to see Bernard family members, including Cheryl's husband Terry Meek in the foreground (in the Bernard jacket), watching her take that big step into curling immortality.

I've got another post regarding the women's match before the men's final today, so stay tuned... but for much, much more on all this great stuff (including another one of my pics from last night) make sure you subscribe to/follow/whatever the TCN Twitter feed, located here.

Hack in the USSR

Remember this past post on the Beatles and their legendary one-time curling escapade?

Blogreader and fan of The Curling News "Shansy" came across this amusing Sports Deke posting, which lists eight Beatles tunes reworked in a curling vein... all with the Roar of the Rings in mind.

Thanks for sharing, Shansy!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Night at the Patch

by Margo Weber

EDMONTON – Last night was a good one for those that like a party, but the gist amongst the crowd was that tonight, the final night, will be the big one. Can’t wait!

Here’s some fun things you would have heard and seen if you were at the Patch last night…

• TSN talkie Ray Turnbull confirmed his departure from TV after this year, to much resounding boos from the audience. He also confirmed his homosexual relationship with Tiger Woods.

Kari MacLean from Team Krista McCarville had a steady line-up of males waiting to talk to her.

Kevin Koe’s wife, Carla, walked up to Wayne Middaugh and said “Wayne, I could have made those two shots with my hiking boots on.”

Susan O’Connor of Team Cheryl Bernard promised to be the ‘drunkest girl in the patch’ after their final game tonight, regardless of outcome.

• The rest of Jason Gunnlaugson’s team wanting to get in on autographing some boobs (heavily censored photo above).

• A re-cap on the big screen from the night before when Middaugh third Jonathan Mead danced around in undershorts (his) and a black bra (some else's).

Patch it up, folks! It's always a party!

Trials All-Star Hotties

by Margo Weber

EDMONTON – Come on. You read the blog mayhem from the Calgary Brier, right?

You know I had to "go there" eventually, right?

Okay, here they are... the long awaited All Star Hottie Teams at these here Tim Hortons Canadian (Olympic) Curling Trials.

I give no explanation for my picks, except for sheer hotness. There is a serious Alberta flavour here, but I did try not to be biased. Remember, there were six Alberta teams in the field...

I caught a lot of heck – Dalene Heck? – for my Brier picks, but I think these choices are, for the most part, obvious. Whatever.


Fourth – David Nedohin
Third – John Morris
Second – Carter Rycroft
Lead – The farmer from the Dekalb TV commercials. Note: there are two farmers, I’m talking about the scruffy cute one.


Skip – Crystal Webster
Third – Jeanna Schrader
Second – Sheri Singler
Lead – Chelsey Bell

** My husband wants a disclaimer here that his picks are Jennifer Jones, Kim Schneider and Kari MacLean and he thinks I should be playing lead on one of these teams. To THAT I say I’d have to start going to the gym.

Agree with my picks? Disagree? Feel free to discuss!

[CCA photo of Morris by Michael Burns]

Latvia makes curling history

Meet Iveta Stasa-Sarsune, everyone.

Iveta... meet everyone.

This gal has played quite well for Latvia at the past two World Mixed Doubles Championships (in Italy and Finland, respectively) but she and her teammates took it to another level at the 2009 Le Gruyere European Curling Championships in Aberdeen, Scotland this past week.

Team Latvia won the B-pool and then defeated Finland (skipped by TCN correspondent Katja Kiiskiken) in a best of three World Challenge series to qualify for the 2010 Ford World Women's Curling Championship in Swift Current, Saskatchewan.

This remarkable result comes on the heels of a recent medal scored by the Latvian men's team, in the B-pool of the 2007 Europeans at Fuessen, Germany.

Congratulations to Iveta and all curling-mad Latvians! If your cheering squad is anything like that of the legendary Latvian hockey fans, Swift Current will be rocking out!

Want even more curling news?

• Subscribe to The Curling News – via our new website!

• Follow our Twitter feed – it's bursting at the seams with curling stuff!

[Photo by Bob Cowan]

Friday, December 11, 2009

Not a fashion show?

by Margo Weber

EDMONTON – There comes a time when we have to put the actual curling skills aside, and state the obvious.

As we have mentioned before, this is not a fashion show... but at these 2009 Roar of the Rings Olympic Trials, it seems the women in particular have been preparing in a big way.

There’s the TV time. There’s the big crowds. Let us ponder, for one moment, what it would cost to come and look your best while competing at such an event. A few hundred dollars, in some cases?

I’m pretty sure some entire teams got makeovers within the last week or two. There’s some serious French manicures out there. There is not one natural strand of hair in sight when the women take the ice (except perhaps on Amber Holland).

But they’re looking good! As a whole, this sport has come a long way. Gone are the days of Cathy King’s huge plastic earrings. Good job, ladies. And good on Mondetta for the attire the players are sporting. I’d say the outfits are flattering on most.

Let’s talk about the earrings. I think Kelly Scott has more piercings in her little ears than my entire six person family. Kim Schneider, from Holland’s squad (CCA photo by Michael Burns) has some seriously huge hearts dangling from her lobes.

Regarding the hair. I’ve been waiting for some of the skips to tie back their hair a bit, I got it Wednesday morning when both Crystal Webster and Cheryl Bernard ponytailed it up. Previous to that, I was thinking about leaving a little bag of ponytails behind each sheet.

I realize that although most skips don’t partake in sweeping duties... I think it’s their duty as players... possible future Olympic athletes... to look like convince people that this is indeed a sport. Maybe we could start with a bobby pin or two... just put the frickin’ hair back so you can see where you’re going!

I’ll leave the men alone... for now. I see no harm in the crazy white belts the Glenn Howard team insists on wearing. As for the hair, I do applaud the Kevin Koes and Jonathan Meads for not fighting with nature and just shaving it all off. Nice work, boys.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Playah: Brent Laing


by Margo Weber

EDMONTON – What’s up, Playah? My pick for today’s superstar is you, Brent Laing.

You rocked the house against Randy Ferbey this morning. You have Olympic rings in your eyes and you are quickly becoming one of those killer seconds. You were almost perfect in your game today, outcurling Scott Pfeifer by more than 10 per cent, and he threw mid-eighties! You made a seriously sweet long raise double, ouch! And a squeaker hit through a tiny port… I felt that, yowza!

Tonight you play off against Kevin Martin for a spot in the final, you’ll be battling another hot shot second, Marc Kennedy. You’ve got your work cut out for you, but guess what. My husband is a serious Glenn Howard fan and will be wearing a white belt at Rexall Place tonight.

I will mention that Ben Hebert made the tick shot twice, perfectly, for skipper Martin in this morning’s game against Kevin Koe… but, nah. I’m sticking with you, Lainger.

Keep 'er going, Playah!

Men keep it simple

 by Margo Weber

EDMONTON – Okay, this is the situation for the dudes.

Tonight, Glenn Howard and Kevin Martin play for a spot in the final. Loser goes directly into the semifinal.

Jeff Stoughton (4-2) and both Kevin Koe and Randy Ferbey (3-3) are still in the mix.

However, if Stoughton beats Pat Simmons tonight, he is in the semi. Everyone else is out. If he loses, then he must play a tiebreaker against the winner of the Ferbey/Koe game.

See? The men keep it simple!

PS: The editor, gk, has asked me to remind you all about the TCN Twitter feed. I just checked it out myself and my gawd, there is so much extra curling stuff on there – including big news from the Euros over in Aberdeen, Scotland – that I think you could use the info to publish an extra edition of The Curling News every month.

So click here and check it out.

[CCA photo of Kevin Martin by Michael Burns]

This is where it gets fun

by Margo Weber

EDMONTON – Okay, so with one round robin game left, this is how it shakes down today on the women’s side.

Cheryl Bernard has a bye to the final by virtue of her 6-0 record. Shannon Kleibrink has a bye to the semi.

This is where it gets fun. Amber Holland, Krista McCarville and Stephanie Lawton are all at 3-3. They all play different teams and if they all LOSE – they bring in Crystal Webster and possibly Jennifer Jones, both at 2-4… Webster in this scenario would win her game, and Jones would then have to win hers as well in order to be included in the mix. 

Let me paint the picture for you. This is very unlikely.

You see with all three of the 3-3 teams needing to lose in order for this scenario to work, Lawton needs to beat the wrecking ball that is Cheryl Bernard. Then Holland has to lose to Kelly Scott, and McCarville has to lose to Webster. Then we are looking at tiebreakers. 

And if Jones beats Kleibrink that then brings them into the mix too. So Jennifer Jones has to hope for every single sheet to go her way in order to have a chance at some tiebreakers and the Olympic Winter Games.

So we will watch here at 1:00pm and see what happens. The Bernard and Kleibrink squads likely have no interest in showing any mercy, so it should be fun to see the other teams scramble for what is still technically possible. The only team out of contention at this point is Kelly Scott.

I would like to take a moment to breathe a sigh of relief at not making predictions this week. And I shall point out that on this here TCN blog,  Mary Anne Arsenault picked Kelly Scott to win… and Cheryl Bernard to come in last. 

This is how close this field is.

[CCA photo of Jennifer Jones by Michael Burns]