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Monday, February 3, 2014

Howard Dethroned and Virtue Deposed

What a weekend.  Seattle took care of business, while Peyton Manning was left with a story to kibitz with his boss about (Elway and the Broncos were trounced 55-10 by the '49ers in 1990 and 42-10 by the Redskins in 1988).  What were the odds they were going to show that Montana highlight yesterday?.

Howard Streak Ends at 8!

Glenn Howard was shockingly upset in the Ontario provincial final, ending a run of 8 in a row.  The previous streak was 4 by Glenn's brother Russ between 1991 to 1994 (which included Glenn at third, of course).  Prior to the 1990s you have to go back to the 40s to find a team that won more than 2 years in a row (Percy Hall, '44-46).

Without spending an inordinate amount of time finding the correct data, (ok, I spent more time than I should have considering I'm about to release an ebook this Thursday!), I thought I'd try to estimate the odds of 8 OCA Tankard wins in a row.

I did a probability calculation estimating Glenn beats 7 teams in the field 90% of the time and 3 teams 75%.

Assumed 7 wins gets in playoff and 6 does 2/3 the time, but no tie-breakers (not time for that).

I realize they only had 10 teams in the field for 2006, '07 and '09, but I'm not adjusting for that.

Assumed the other 3 teams in a playoff all will be the harder competion (so Glenn is only 75% against them).

Added a hammer factor in the page playoff (not RR), where team with hammer has added 5% and without subtracts 5%.

If 10-0, Glenn has hammer in 1-2 game

If 9-1, Glenn has hammer 2/3 of the time in the 1-2 game

If 8-2, Glenn has hammer in 1-2 game 1/3, no hammer 2/3 (we assume he always make the 1-2 game at 8-2.  Yes, this is flawed.)

If 7-3, Glenn makes 1-2 game (without hammer) 1/3, has hammer in 3-4 1/3 and no hammer in 3-4 game 1/3.

If 6-4 Glenn makes 3-4 with hammer 1/3 and without 1/3 and misses play-offs 1/3.

The calculation results in Glenn making the playoffs 98.1% and winning a single event 69.4% and probability to win 8 straight is 5.4%

If I adjust the win probability against harder teams to 80%, it still only goes up to 13.3%

An impressive feat that may never be duplicated and Glenn, Richard, Brent, Craig and Wayne should be extremely proud.

Saskatchewan gets Spicey!

Brock Virtue was ejected from the Saskatchewan Provincial final game.  In the 8th end, Brock expressed some frustration, by doing what many past players have done, scolding their broom.  Unfortunately, Brock decided to do this in front of the official, apparently while looking at them and smiling (ok, I might have added that part).

Recall, this same team had a player (Chris Schille) removed from a playoff game last provincials.

I wasn't there so I prefer not to judge the specific situation or the actions of either side.

However, curling needs more colour, more character, and more life.  If you are going to cheer on Brad Jacobs fist pumping the crowd (and possibly disrupting another sheet, yes I saw his Justin Leonard at Brookline display at the Trials), then you also need to allow the negative emotion to burst out.  It is sports people, not lawn bowling (oh wait, is that a sport?).

I'm not condoning Brock's actions, as I said, I wasn't there to judge.  From what it sounds like, it was likely not a pertinent action.  But wasn't curling always a sport policed by the players?  If Brock did not disrupt the opponent or put anyone in harm, what is the issue?  Decorum?  Please.

In defence of the official, if Brock did actually perform this broom mutilating act while looking into the whites of their eyes, I suppose I also would have tossed him (or put him across my knee for a spanking), but perhaps it should never have gotten to that.

I would suspect (again, not in Saskatchewan and haven't talked to the team so I don't know the whole story) Team Virtue is starting to feel the spotlight is on them, rightly or wrongly.  The problem with a spotlight is that sometimes those who want to perform will put on their best show.

Manitoba Eludes McEwen Again

This might have been the year that the majority of Manitobans were rooting for Mike McEwen.  Jeff is a great winner and the team is dearly appreciated by everyone, but you'd have to think the empathy for Mike is starting to tip tthe scales in his favour.  I haven't watched the 1-2 game yet (it's sitting on my Tivo), but it looked like a great game.  Yesterdays final however must have left the fans feeling more saddness than joy.  At some point even Jeff must start to feel even a little sympathy for his provincial opponent in 3 of his last 4 finals. But he's also whispering, "your time will come lads, but not just yet".

As impressive as Glenn's results have been, Jeff's must be considered nearly equal.  Or more impressive if your a Manitoba supporter who claims the Safeway Select is harder than the OCA Tankard round robin format.  I don't know if the Manitoba modified double-double knockout (should be sponsored by Tim Hortons maybe) is harder to win than Ontario, but it is harder to understand.

Since the end of the boycott in 2003, Stoughton has won 7 of 11 Buffaloes.  Sorry, no time for the math on that but as someone who grew up in Manitoba and never thought 7 in a career was impossible, Jeff has done it in half a career. 

Congratulations to all provincial winners and good luck next year to those who fell short, including the Lobel brothers in Ontario.  My good friend Steve Lobel (third) and brother Rob (skip) had a terrible start at the Ontario Tankard but managed to defeat Epping and Rumfeldt (keeping both out of a tie-breaker), they lost in an extra-end to eventual winner Bice/Balsdon and even stole in 10 and 11 for a nailbiting win against  Team Canada, Rachel Homan Mark Homan.  


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