In Part 2 of my conversation with Paul Savage, we'll cover the 1987 Olympic Curling Trials and the controversy surrounding the qualification process. We talk about the early days of the Skins format, the Battle of the Sexes and Paul's experience as fifth man with the Mike Harris Rink during their run to a Silver Medal at the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan. There are a few extras after our talk as well. Paul shares stories from the Kurl for Kids Celebrity Bonspiel, Men With Brooms, the World Lefthanders Curling Championship and explains how to perform the plate dance. At the very end is an excerpt from Episode 8 where Warren Hansen discusses his version of the 1987 Trials, which I reference with Paul at the beginning of the show.
Monday, March 27, 2017
Tuesday, March 21, 2017
As the photo indicates, it wasn't a simple pick shot because there was a risk of jamming and possibly scoring only 1. I'm not certain their confidence in the ice on the shot (the higher second guard appeared to add to the difficulty), but it is an attempt to win the game right there, at a risk of only being down 1. In the moment, I wasn't sure I liked the call, but that could have been swayed by the emotion of how the game seemed to be shifting to their opponent. In a vacuum, it's the correct decision if Rachel makes it greater than 33% of the time. An alternative shot that they may have considered was the runback. It introduces a risk of double jam (and a steal of two) but I suspect Rachel's percent success with that shot is higher than the soft weight hit she attempted.
Monday, March 20, 2017
Monday, March 13, 2017
Monday, March 6, 2017
Monday, February 27, 2017
Tuesday, February 21, 2017
Monday, February 13, 2017
Tuesday, February 7, 2017
Speaking of Tier 2 teams. The Glenn Howard rink found themselves in the minor league portion of this seasons Tour Challenge, but despite their form this season and the age of their veteran skip, after the dust cleared at last week's Ontario Tankard, they were on top yet again. I've had a few Legends mention to me that the old time players like Ken Watson used to come out for games with their crests on their sweaters. Helped to remind their competitors who they were playing. Got me thinking that if Glenn Howard comes out with all of his Purple Hearts (17) on his jacket, the weight would make it difficult for him to stand erect.
Unfortunately, Howard's path to the Brier was paved by the apparent collapse of Team Epping. I say apparent, because without watching, I can't say for sure. I was unable to watch these games, due to some strange licensing contract that forced those of us from out of town to pay for streaming services. I'm not against paying but I was unsure whether you were required to watch live only or if a recorded copy of the game would be available to me afterwards. Actually, being from Winnipeg I'm also notoriously frugal and $15 per game seemed excessive (though maybe it was $15 for the event, it didn't really explain). Here's hoping Sportsnet provides coverage again soon.
You have to feel for John and his team. Up 5-3 without (against Howard in the 1vs2 game), and playing the 8th end, they should win about 81% of the time. In the semifinal, a 6-1 lead with 6 ends remaining should result in victory about 97%. It's not the 99.8% win expectancy that the Atlanta Falcons had in the 3rd quarter of the Super Bowl, but it's pretty close. I'm certain that Kyle Shanahan and Dan Quinn will have many sleepless nights wondering why they didn't just run 3 times into the line and kick a 40 yard field goal (Matt Bryant is 78.2% from 40-49 yards in his career). Side note, LI may have been the greatest gambling Super Bowl in history. A dramatic swing from an Atlanta win (at +3) and Under to New England -3 and Over 59 points. In fact, if NE had won with a field goal in overtime, both the moneyline and over/under would have tied. I can only imagine that would have been the largest push in the history of gambling.
I heard that Epping made an attempt at a double in the 8th end to go up 3 when he had a draw to go up two (against Tuck). As mentioned, I didn't see the shot call, so hard for me to judge, but the relative risk factor is as follows:
Win Expectancy (3 up, 2 end remain) = 96%
Win Expectancy (2 up, 2 end remain) = 86%
Win Expectancy (Tied with hammer, 2 end remain) = 66%
So the Skip Risk Factor (SRF) with a made double is +.10 but a steal results in -.20. Not certain the risk made sense but without seeing the shot, hard to judge the decision.
Clearly, with McEwen reaching the Brier last year, Epping will continue holding the BPTHNWAPH belt. Just as Mike did, I'm certain John will pass it to someone else eventually. Unless of course Glenn goes to Germany to visit Kobe Bryant's knee doctor and keeps winning these for another decade. If a 39 year old quarterback can throw 62 passes and win a Super Bowl, I suppose anything is possible.
The previous weekend, I dropped by my local St. Albert Curling Club to take in the Alberta Scotties. Not certain why it wasn't held in an arena (we have a perfectly good one that was used for the Continental Cup a few years back) but sadly I am rarely asked to provide my opinion on such matters.
Congratulations to Team Kleibrink, aided early in the week by super-sub Heather Nedohin. I was there for the hard fought and entertaining 1 vs 2 game, and then enjoyed the finals from the comfort of my couch. I did see an interesting call in an earlier game. During the B Qualifier semi-final, Casey Scheidegger was tied with hammer in the 9th against Geri-Lynn Ramsay. On thirds last rock, Ramsay (Yellow stones) calls a time-out to discuss their options:
They decide to play an angle raise on their stone in the four foot onto the Scheidegger stone at the back of the button. Not sure I agree with this call. Remember, they are tied without hammer and want to force a single by Casey or a steal. A blank is not a favourable result and they should be willing to take risks, even if it means a deuce or worse. The challenge is trying to keep their shooter for third shot and it just doesn't appear to be likely. Even with a made shot, Casey will have a double to sit 2. I suspect they were concerned that the current set-up would be easily doubled, if left as it was. It's also possible that the amount of curl (remember, club, not arena ice) did not allow them to bury enough to the face of the shot stone with an out-turn draw. I prefer attempting the draw, throwing a guard or playing a soft tap on the target stone (rather than a hit) in order to bump it into a freeze position on the pin. I could go into more detail of the benefits or risks of each option, but I need to get back to editing next week's podcast (Dan Carey).
The actual result was worse than expected, as they hit the top yellow stone and rolled out...
Scheidegger eventually scored two (and went on to win). Ultimately, she had a chance at three with little risk of a steal or force.
Thanks again to everyone who is listening to the new podcast. If you like it (or even if you don't), please tell your friends to listen. Please also tell your enemies, your families and tell complete strangers you meet in your everyday life.
Perhaps I'll upchuck another quick article during the Scotties and Brier in the coming weeks.
Until next time...
Monday, February 6, 2017
Thursday, February 2, 2017
Monday, January 30, 2017
Monday, January 23, 2017
Monday, January 16, 2017
Monday, January 9, 2017
Mike Riley had a passion for curling, but it never fully consumed him. Mike reached his greatest success when he found balance in pursuing business and travel along with his curling aspirations. As a high school curler, Mike remembers anticipating Christmas more for the Winnipeg Junior Bonspiel than the presents under the tree. As a young skip, he recalls testing his mettle against the legendary Don Duguid rink in the early 70s, and gaining confidence from the experience. Don's teammates Rod Hunter and Bryan Wood later recruited Mike to play third and were rewarded with a Purple Heart in 1975. After being dropped from the squad, Mike was back to skipping, trying to build his own winning team. In 1983, he found the magic ingredients with lead Russ Wookey, second John Helston and Brian Toews at third. The veteran rink quickly jelled into a Manitoba and Canadian Champion, using a rarely seen strategy of drawing around corner guards without last rock. The Riley Rink stunned fans and media alike by defeating Ed Werenich and his Dream Team in the Labatt Brier finals. A return trip to the Brier in 1986 fell short, and following the 1988 Grand Aggregate Trophy in the 100th MCA (the World's Largest Bonspiel), Mike spent more winters sailing the Caribbean than driving to curling clubs. But in 1995 he was recruited by Jon Mead, Hugh McFadyen and Don Harvey and nearly skipped them to a Provincial victory.
Monday, January 2, 2017
Check out the latest episode of Curling Legends Podcast