Monday, February 20, 2006

Canadian men through, Swedish rumours

It started badly... well before the match, in fact, with word that Team Canada men’s lead Jamie Korab was sick – up all night with flu-like symptoms – as well as Canadian women’s third Amy Nixon, the latest to fall to a carnival of Italian bugs.

But fifth man Mike Adam (at right in photo) was steady, Russ Howard (throwing) overcame a rough start, Mark Nichols (brushing) threw countless bullet bailouts – overcoming a couple of clunkers – and Brad Gushue established himself as a playoff curler as Canada defeated Pete Fenson’s Americanos 6-3 to claim a playoff spot at 6-3... and a repeat match with the USA (also 6-3) in Wednesday’s semi-final.

In the other semi, first-place Finland (7-2) will battle Great Britain (6-3). Watching today’s match with keen interest were tiebreaker hopefuls Pal Trulsen and Switzerland’s Ralph Stoeckli, both out of the running at 5-4.

It doesn't matter to us who we play, Fenson said afterwards. I think everyone who is in the semifinals is playing well. No one snuck in the back door.

All it takes is for somebody to get hot for a day or two and the gold is theirs, said U.S. third Shawn Rojeski.

So the Gushies have done their part in trying to give Pinerolo a full Tuesday off. Meanwhile, Shannon Kleibrink’s Canuck girls did have Nixon in the lineup tonight until just five minutes before game time, but she had to bail and Sandra Jenkins is in action for tonight’s critical match with Denmark. The good news is that Dordi Nordby won her morning game against Denmark, it’s all in Canada’s hands, once again. A Canuck win, over Denmark, puts them through to the semis at 6-3 along with Sweden (first at 7-2) and Norway and Switzerland.

How's this for a vicious rumour... it says that Sweden's Anette Norberg threw her final game this morning against the Russians, allowing Norway or Switzerland (both in action tonight) to finish first, thus dodging a particular team in the semis.

True or false?

Also in conclusive women’s action tonight are three tiebreaker hopefuls: the remarkable Japanese, the surprising Russians and the reeling Britons.

In addition:

George Bush watched curling... a Newsday writer finally acknowledged enjoyment of curling, and further inquires about a curling club on Long Island – anyone?... a TV Blog has a discussion on American curling TV coverage, with TCN weighing in (naturally). The original poster, a negative kind of guy, was shouted down by positive Blogtorts, although he was bang on with this earlier posting...

Speaking of TV, more ratings numbers on Olympic curling – numbers which would make Statman slather... the GB vs Japan game yesterday drew over 2 million Brits... and about 12 million Japanese. The squad skipped by Ayumi Onadero is still winning and their exploits have captured the imagination of their results-starved nation... and puts this Mainichi story from two days ago into the “premature” pile...

Here's an interesting story logging Olympic excuses, incl some curlers... a comparison of the two GB teams, and Rhona Martin’s comments on her last hopes tonight versus the USA... ya just gotta love a curling story – plus photo – appearing in a paper called The Desert Sun. Why can’t we have a Winter Olympics every two years? ... here's an amusing one from Aspen, including axes for brooms and severed heads for rocks... this senior ESPN writer is now a fan... and finally, the call for LOC volunteers has gone out for Bahstahn and all areas near Lowell, Mass...