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Monday, December 30, 2013

(A Belated) Christmas Wrap of the Roar

I was there.  And I'm still surprised.  Not surprised that Jacobs won, I watched them at the Brier and you knew they had the talent and the fortitude.  Mind you, so did everyone else in this mens field.  I was surprised at how things transpired.  Martin winning two games he had no business winning, then losing to Jacobs and Morris in games they likely should have won.  Koe starting out 0-5 then taking away all play-off hopes from Howard and McEwen.  Calmly drawing the button against Howard same as he did in the 2010 Brier final.  Koe is now 4-13 against Howard since the 2010/11 Season and 7-21 overall.

Jennifer Jones winning was no real surprise.  You could certainly say the two teams that looked strongest all week came through and will likely be great reps in Sochi.  Who ever gets out of Northern Ontario this year better savour their Purple Hearts, they won't be available for many years to come.

I'm still working on a book and paper so I have limited time to commit (hence why I'm also late posting this), but a few thoughts:

1. I have no problem with Jacobs trying the double in the 9th end of the finals.  As I stated in a recent Curlingzone post:

Assume the shot for 1 is made 100% (it isn't quite that high).

Taking 1, Jacobs wins 89% of the time.

Attempting a double, a few things might happen.

Makes it for 2 - 99%
Morris Steals 1 - 78%
There's a slight chance he still gets one, if either a red spins to go between the 2 yellows or removes the yellow at the back of rings. Let's assume that's 0%.
He flashes. Let's assume that's 0%

Jacobs needs to make it about 50% of the time for it to make sense. Based on the margin for error for hitting a half rock, I'd say about every skip there could have called that shot and it would be correct.


It was initially my guess that Morris wanted to him to try the double, as it created a chance to steal. Then he said on air "I didn't think he'd try it". 

I actually believe you want him to try it but the rock could have been put further away to be more difficult. If Jacobs takes 1, you're still losing 89% of the time (and that's against the average team, possibly even worse against Jacobs). You want to create some type of scenario where you might possibly steal, even if it creates a risk at losing now. The better option may have been to try a partial guard/come around on the yellow in the top twelve.

2. How did Howard give up 4 in the 8th end, when 3 up against Martin?  
Laing missed a peel and Glenn missed both his shots.  So how could they have avoided four (a 40% Win Expectancy) and simply held Martin to 3 (a 78% WE)?  

- One suggestion early in the end was Linda and Russ mentioning NOT to put two rocks in the rings with lead rocks.  Many teams will put first shot top four foot and  throw the second through rather than come in and give more "shrapnel" as Russ called it for the other team to use.  This did hurt them as the peel into the pile pushed their rock to the back twelve which was then frozen to by Kennedy.  I agree, if you're 3 up (of even 2 up) more than 1 rock in the four foot can hurt you more often than it helps.  I don't have data to support this but I've always felt this way.  Anyone remember Ferbey vs Dacey final end of the 2004 Brier?

- Glenn's last shot.  Surprising that they discussed and didn't realize that throwing more weight would clear out the rocks.  Glenn was so focused on putting his shooter into a certain spot with a certain roll that they failed to notice that lighter weight and a miss by 2 inches would leave a shot for four.  If Glenn could throw it over again I suspect he throws more weight and makes sure of no worse than 3.  After he played the shot the camera caught him putting his head in his hand and whispering "Oh, Christ".  At that point, even divine intervention wasn't going to help them avoid a catastrophe, only a deuce in 10 could.
- Glenn had a difficult shot for 2 in 10 but it still appeared to be the correct call. remember he needs to make it only 1 in 5 tries to be the same as going to the extra end.
- TSN turning point - perhaps not even the 9th end but the last shot in the 8th when Glenn had a very makeable shot for 2 that would have put them up 4, and he wrecked on the front guard for only 1.
-  Glenn later said it was the "worst loss of his life".  It's not the biggest loss in the biggest moment as a skip (I think the loss to Menard in 2006 finals was most shocking perhaps), but with it being the Trials and the way it happened, likely one that will linger for a long time.  In curling, these types of things just aren't suppose to happen, yet every player, even the best in the world, has a memory of a game like this.  

3. Matt Dunstone and his Canadian Champion junior team was introduced to the crowd on Saturday during the 5th end break of the Semi-final.  They showed some great highlights on the jumbo-tron, but missed the most important one, this Manitoba curling commercial from the mid-80s starring his dad Dean Dunstone.  Matt naturally isn't visible in the video, but you can see the glint in Dean's eye.  You can also see that most hairdressers in the 80s had a cocaine addiction.

4. Mens Semi-final.  6th End.  It seemed like Kevin hit the in-between shot exactly.  Leaving his shooter in a terrible spot was the big mistake.  The nose on his blank attempt in 9 was interesting because of John's thoughts on where to put the rock.  No one was perhaps better suited to decide where Kevin would be most likely to bonk than his previous third.  Still a rare event and not expected.  Unfortunate result for Martin who had played as well or better than any player all week but was off on a couple of shots in this game.

Until next time...

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