My apologies to my loyal readers for missing a week...
First of all – I think I little applause for me is in order for being pretty solid with my predictions for provincials...
On the men’s side – I had picked Francois Gagné as my dark horse pick to win it all – and he did.
I only saw one game – but Frankie was on fire. His team played well in front of him – but the finals were very much the Francois Gagné show, with Frank making everything, including a spectacular raise pick in 9 to set up a steal of 3.
Here is the link – if you want to see the shot. The Shot
Wow. Absolute pistol. As my old teammate Sebastian “Snaps” Robillard would surely say: “That was SICK!”
He also made a crazy draw against Serge Reid in the semis on Saturday night, burying around a rock in the top 8 against 4(!) and setting up a steal with no guards. Clutch.
I have been curling with or against Frank and Christian for over 20 years now - these guys deserve to go to a Brier. They have lived curling.
So Frank goes to the Brier, and with him goes Bob Desjardins playing 3rd. Bob is definitely the Phil Mickelson of curling, a guy who has deserved to go to the Brier for a long time but has never pulled off the big win. He has lost a lot of finals...including one where he blew a 4 point lead against Guy Hemmings.
A lot of people give Bob a hard time. His nickname is Pon-Pon, and it is not meant to be flattering. Admittedly, very little about Bob is “normal”. He is somewhat socially dysfunctional, and rubs people the wrong way sometimes. But the truth for those who know him well is that he is a passionate proponent of the game, and has worked harder than anyone to get to the show. He has a genuine love for all things curling, including the people who play it. I honestly think the game could use a few more Bobs - but alas there is only one.
Expect this team to be entertaining, and likely fan favourites at the Brier. The boys play with a LOT of emotion on the ice (some might even say too much), but it will be a refreshing change from watching Stoughton make a 20 foot runback triple and not even crack a damn smile.
I wish them luck. If Frank and Bob stay as hot as they are – expect to see them above 500, and possibly creeping into a playoff spot. As is the case with most highly emotional teams – if it goes well it will go very well, if it goes bad...
Speaking of emotion, I hear Curling Quebec will have to pick up a new scoreboard, after one of the boards was assailed by a javelined Performance broom from Marty Ferland. Here is a video of the broom throw:
Oops - wrong video.
On the women’s side, my pick to win (Chantal Osborne) fell just short, losing in an extra end to Marie -France Larouche. MF will of course represent Quebec well again at the Scotties, and has a very good chance of playing on the weekend. They are playing very well - and I promise to stop with the Star Trek jokes.
I think the combination men’s and women’s event has to be called a success. While the weekdays saw relatively few in attendance, the weekend draws were well attended. The curlers I have spoken to seemed to have had a great time with it. The women enjoyed playing in an arena - and the men enjoyed watching the women play in the arena.
I went to see some games on Saturday - and there was a very good atmosphere. I think a similar event held somewhere around Quebec City or Montreal would draw some serious crowds. Could have done without the freak snowstorm on the drive home!
What else is there to speak of?
Strangely – I am curling in a Calcutta at Glenmore this week.
For those of you who do not know what a Calcutta is, it is basically a week of gambling, and I believe there is some curling played as well. It is definitely good for clubs to get all of their members to mix it up and play in something fun for a week. It definitely gets the members talking, and exposes many new members to playing with fun skips who actually know what they are doing.
Hopefully I can make some cash - but will enjoy it either way. Betting on club-level curling is strangely entertaining. I found myself screaming from behind the glass last night, trying to implore a guy to throw a draw instead of the hit he was calling. He called the hit and lost - costing me a $73 exacta. Damn.
- The junior finals were on this weekend. Apparently the men's final was won a great shot. Unfortunately I had slipped in to a chicken-wing-induced coma following a Super Bowl party, so I only heard about it after. Whose idea was it to run the finals at the same time as the Super Bowl anyways?