Friday, December 07, 2007

Casino Rama Skins: Preview

by Matt Hames

RAMA, ON – When you’re watching the TSN Skins game, you’ll be watching an ongoing debate unfold.

A few years ago, Kevin Martin famously gave up a steal, on purpose, to Jeff Stoughton in order to get last rock in the last end. That was in the days of the three-rock rule.

In fact, we’ve seen him do this a couple of times. The last time he tried it, I think his effort went for naught.

Anyway, I forget how many times he’s tried it.

Kevin forgets stuff, too. Like when he brought out the corn broom, not once but twice, at the 1991 Safeway Worlds in Winnipeg. Kevin forgot all about that on yesterday’s TSN talk show Off The Record which pitted the four Skins skips – KMart, Glenn Howard, Wayne Middaugh, Glenn Howard and Brad Gushue – in the debating pit (photo courtesy TSN). Wayner called KMart on it, and KMart said nothing. Did you see that? No? Then go here and watch it... look for the EVENTS tab/link. Wow.

Four of the best teams in the world will, starting tomorrow, help us answer this question: would you rather be up one coming home without, or down one coming home with last rock?

The Skins Game is really just the last end played over and over. If you have the hammer, you need two. If you don’t, you need to steal. Essentially the situation in the last end of a one-point game.

The BDO Black Book of Curling says the odds favor the team up one with. But I think we’re all still working out how to play the last end. In a non-skins match, the team up one without last rock throws it top four foot. If the team that needs two wants to generate offense, they need to throw a guard. In doing so, they leave the team that went first with a free guard on the possible steal point.

I know. It’s all so technical. But I can’t wait to see how the team without the hammer plays the end. I suspect they’ll just throw a center guard and get with it. But, they do have some options. And in thinking about the options, they’ll let us know if they like the hammer, or if they don’t.

Anyway, I’ll be there, blogging live right here at The Curling News Blog, with ace TCN photographer Anil Mungal alongside. That means you need to watch it on the telly and also keep a free hand on your computer. It’s going to be fun, so hit “Refresh” often.

I’m off to play some blackjack; we’ll see you here tomorrow. And the TSN show will be on High-Definition TV, a North American curling first ...

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