Friday, December 16, 2005

Catching up, and in mourning

After a few days of rest, we're back... and it's true. The Brad Gushue and Shannon Kleibrink teams won the Trials, and Ferbey, Martin, Jones, The Other Jones, Stoughton, and The Other Howard... didn't.

Gushue leads the media impressions report by a 2-1 margin, but that doesn't mean Calgary isn't going ga-ga over their new Olympians. In fact, other western provs like Saskatchewan are in on the fun, as the third-coach tandem of Amy and Daryl Nixon hail from The Gap, and only left for Cowtown in 1995.

Something didn't ring right when, at the athlete reception in Halifax, CCA brass talked about shipping Kleibrink and Gushue to Scotland and then Italy in early January. Let's see... for Team Kleibrink, the skip has two kids and a husband transferred to the U.S., the second is nursing a three-month old, and the third and second both work for a law firm.

On the Gush side, there's the mammoth BDO Classic Canadian Open in Winnipeg, one of the Grand Slams, hitting the ice in early Jan.

Kudos then to CCA for listening to the players. Gushue is now headed to the Peg, while there are rumours of a special Team Kleibrink appearance on the final Slam Sunday as well. Stay tuned for more.

On the press watch these days, there is a minor furor over a Toronto sports columnist – sorry, satiristtaking shots at Newfoundlanders. A day later he has clarified his intentions of satire, claiming that:

There is nothing in my columns that readers don't see every week on the CBC's This Hour Has 22 Minutes. And, while I'm no Shaun Majumder, the tenor (if not the quality of humour) of my columns is no different than anything written for his show -- and most of that stuff is written by Easterners.

Is he right? Check out Majumder's "Raj Binder At Curling" segement right now on the 22 Minutes website.

Not to be outdone is the bad boy of Halifax, Jeff Stoughton, who of course noted that Gushue had "no chance" of winning the event. This week it emerged that he's often misunderstood, and that he also likes to have fun with ink-stained wretches. Heck, we could have told you that. And as if to confirm this, here's what the 'Toban had to say after the final:

Anyone who goes through here (the Trials) and plays as well as they did and beats everybody who's here, they're more than great representatives for us to bring back the gold medal.

Overseas, the European Championships wrap up Saturday, and Scotland's highly-controversial women's team has crashed out in the tiebreakers. Meanwhile, the men's squad is in first place and through to the semifinals, which means it may well be that David Murdoch is off to Torino with certainty. Rhona Martin's status (photo) on the women's side, of that we're not so sure.

Finally, the Canadian sports world is mourning the death of TSN's Paul McLean, who succumbed to cancer Wednesday night at only 39 years of age. Booted upstairs into management the past few years, "Mac" was a long-time curling producer, delivering the shows which inspired a curling nation, and during the Trials he was still on the phone with friends.

His hijinks and humour in the Dome truck, as well as his solid professionalism, will be sorely missed.

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