My Tournament Picks

24/08/2018 Posted by admin

Alright- here’s my best educated guess at how the week in Regina is going to shape-up at the men’s Ford World Championships.

PLAYOFFS 

    CANADA        

The class of the Brier field in March – Steve Gould looks as hungry to win a world championship as the day he started curling;  the team is getting great “Reid’s” from their second position;  a playdown rejuvenated Jon Mead has been near perfect after a few year hiatus playing with Wayne Middaugh  –  throw in the home cooking and great fan support awaiting them and theior you have it, Jeff Stoughton and team Canada the favourites.  

    SWEDEN

This team has a lot going for it.  They are all young and improving at a rapid rate due to a serious work ethic unmatched by most teams.  These guys can play all the shots well, and despite admitting to playing on straighter ice at home, have gotten a lot of Canadian arena experience over the past couple of seasons.  Skip Niklas Edin has the savvy and mental make-up to lead this team to the promise land – sooner than later. 

    NORWAY 

Thomas Ulsrud and team Norway had a brilliant season last year finishing second at both the Olympics and World Championships, playing very consistently along the way.  Despite a small drop-off in consistency this year, this team is very experienced and dangerous to play.  If the skipper finds that draw weight touch that he usually possesses early in the week, they will be close. 

    USA 

A few weeks earlier I subbed in a spiel with Kevin Koe in Morris Manitoba – a spiel in which team USA attended.  After the opening night, a number of my team-mates had wallets full of American money following a late night poker game.  They proceeded to go 2 and 3 and lose out of the event prior to reaching a”C” qualifying game.  Not the greatest lead-up to a World Championship, so why 4th you ask?  Well, this will be the next best thing to a home world’s for them, and Pistol Pete brings loads of experience and that “water of a ducks back” kind of attitude that will allow him to forget about this lead-up spiel and any small short-comings throughout the week.  Combine that with a great showing at this year’s Continental Cup as part of team North America, and 4th may not be out of the question – albeit they may have to win a tiebreaker to get there.

JUST SHY 

 

GERMANY

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杭州楼凤

This will be the 13th appearance for German skip Andy Kapp who has placed anywhere from 2nd (1997, 2007) to 10th (1990).  Though I have not had the pleasure of playing this team, from watching I would make the comment that at times they look brilliant,  and other times far less than brilliant without a moments notice.  They will have to show good consistency this week if they want to be in the playoff hunt and must win the games they will be favoured in.  Can a skip who has reached this event as often as Andy without winning find the mental fortitude to get the job done on the 13th try?  Would make for quite a story. 

  

SCOTLAND

Nice to see one of the best curlers in Scotland for many years get to a much deserved World Championship.  What Tom Brewster lacks in World Championship experience, he makes up with Grand Slam and overall tour experience.  The same however cannot be said of his young team-mates.  One thing is for certain – this team will fight for every inch and play with as much or more passion than anyone in the field.  If they can harness all this energy positively, they may be eyeing final weekend play.  A good start may be the key here.

STILL BUILDING 

SWITZERLAND

 

I must apologize as I don’t know much personally about this Swiss team.  I do however know that Switzerland has a number of good teams / players and that due to the extensive nature of the playdown system, the team representing this country has had to play well over an extended time.  Previous experience is present on this squad, and I do expect they will compete, but fall short. 

  

CHINA 

 

We played this team from China as soon as a couple of weeks ago.  They are a different foursome than the team that has represented China the past number of seasons-even a different team that competed in the Pacific Rim Championships giving the country of China it’s berth into these current World’s.  A lot of similarities between this team and last remain.  They all have impeccable delivery mechanics but they also take a foot extra ice, slide eight inches tight, and crank.  If the ice is really moving, look for China to hit the most guards of any team this week, but look really good in doing so. 

  

 KOREA 

The Koreans, like many international teams, get to Canada now and again to train and compete in certain bonspiels.  We played them a couple of years ago and I remember thinking that when the strategy caught up to the mechanics, they were going to win some games.  Assuming further positive steps have been taken, I’ll give this team 3 or 4 wins, but they will have to play well to reach this mark. 

  

FRANCE 

  

French skip Thomas Dufour is gaining experience at the world level.  They are under-funded and probably see “Canadian” ice conditions as little as any of the teams in the field, yet continue to qualify as a country for the World Championships.  Expect the France – Korea game to be a battle with the winner having the better sub .500 record. 

  

PATCH TIME   

      CZECH REPUBLIC 

  

This will be Jiri Snitil’s 3rd World Championship appearance.  This team’s victory    was qualifying for this week.  A combined 5 and 17 over the other two World’s will hold true this year as well – chalk it up to a good week of experience. 

   

DENMARK 

  

 O.K – how about a comparison Saskatchewan people can relate to here.  Picture this – Randy Bryden wins the Sk provincial men’s championship.  Meanwhile, father Gary Bryden and team-mates decide its time to retire to the beautiful B.C, and end up remarkably winning the B.C provincial men’s championship.  Three weeks later at the Brier, both teams are feeding off each other and enjoying the experience.  Randy has a great week as team Sk, goes 10-1 and defeats Glenn Howard in the 1-2 game.  Gary and team go through Martin in a tiebreaker, and Stoughton in the 3-4 game before dismissing Howard in the semi-final in 7 ends setting up a dream final.  Randy is very excited; it’s a hard fought final – and just when it appears destiny is to take it’s due course in the extra end, Gary makes a board weight angle runback double leaving Sk no shot.  They proceed to shake hands and Gary asks if Randy could get time off to watch him at the World’s.   

  

Come on, who beats their son out of a birth to the World Curling Championships?  Gary wouldn’t do this, would he?  I see son Rasmus Stjerne is listed as coach – I’m cheering for him to break the world record for consumption at the patch, all on his father’s dime…

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