Saturday, March 07, 2009

Brier: Picking to Win

by Dalene Heck

CALGARY – Get yer Brier picks here! We got Scotty Pfiefer! We got Cheryl Bernard!

We got Grandma!

There are two kinds of picks in the sport of curling. One occurs on the ice and causes mayhem and anger. The other takes places in the days before a big event – like the Tim Hortons Brier – and it involves picking the winners. As in winners of games, champions of the entire event, et cetera.

Lots of “picks” have been made in the media in recent days. Many features have tried to analyze the two major combatants while others allow the players themselves – like Russ Howard – to articulate their own chances at success.

Othrer features seem to diminish Kevin Martin’s chances of repeating, just because the repeat doesn’t happen very often.

Of course, The Curling News features a repeat victory from 51 years ago in our latest issue... have you seen it yet? Anyone know if “Tay” Turnbull has seen it yet?

Research is also a key. Look at the cool Brier features at the National Post “Posted Sports” webpages... with team breakdowns here and this very cool Roadmap Through The 2009 Brier. This kind of stuff can be helpful.

Then, of course, there are media predictions themselves. And here are some from Winnipeg (here and here)... and from Toronto (see the sidebar alongside the main story)... and, of course, from Calgary.

But now... without further hesitation... what do the pros think?

Looking to make a little money on the games this week and need some help with your picks? Well, look no further! We’ve assembled a panel of local experts to assess the field and give their predictions as to who will walk away with a checkmark in the win column for each game. Check back every morning for each day’s picks!

Our esteemed experts are:

Cheryl Bernard – Cheryl has 4 Scotties hearts to her credit, and was Alberta’s representative at the Scotties held in Victoria just last week. Cheryl’s team has also been a dominant force on the Asham World Curling Tour, having placed sixth or higher in each of the last three years.

Dean Joanisse – A former Canadian Junior Champion, Dean has also made two Brier appearances, representing British Columbia in both 2001 and 2007. On Thursday night he managed to squeeze into that ancient World Juniors sweater – that’s right, sweater! – for the ceremonial first rock at the World Juniors now underway in Vancouver, his hometown.

Kevin Koe – Kevin is arguably one of the best Canadian curlers that has never competed in a Brier. Instead, he’ll have to settle for the $150,000-plus that his team has won on the Tour in only the last two years.

Scott Pfiefer – Five-time Brier champion, four-time World Champion, a couple of Canadian Junior titles, a few hundred thousand dollars won with Team Ferbey… need I say more?

My Grandma – That’s right folks. I can’t think of any other person in the world who has watched more curling then my Grandma, and boy, does she have an opinion! I’m throwing my support behind her picks, and if she happens to win me some money this week, then I might finally forgive her for the time she bet against me in junior provincials.

Brothers, boyfriends and hometown favourites aside… here are who our panel of experts are picking to win today’s games (see above, click to enlarge)!

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