Once again, I am writing to you with a set of wishes for Christmas for me and some of my fellow curlers. I realize that I was on the “naughty” list last year, which explains the autographed Wayne Middaugh shirt I found under the tree. Unfortunately I have not been able to find a good home for it on eBay yet, but I am still trying.
I feel that I have been particularly nice this year; my broom slamming and throwing was limited to but a few thoroughly justifiable occasions (I think even Mrs. Claus would have whammed something if her draw had stopped an inch short of shot in an extra end); hardly enough to warrant inclusion on the infamous “naughty curler” list.
So here are some gift suggestions:
- For Mark Dacey; a postcard from Charlevoix – saying: Come Back Soon! While I was not at Charlevoix this year, I heard he enjoyed himself very much, and had an especially good time with our local on-ice officials. (there might be some sarcasm here)
- For Brad Gushue; A new nickname. Not sure how or why Gush-bag (pronounced Gouche-Bag) came into being, but I think it clearly needs to be replaced by something more appropriate.
- For Ontario: Somebody other than Glenn Howard at the Brier. I like this team (except for Middaugh of course), but there are so many other quality teams of nice guys (Kean, Balsdon, Rumfeldt), you have to figure one of them will beat Glenn at some point. Some fresh faces in Red jackets would be a good thing.
- For Marco Ferraro: A better 2nd year at the helm of Curling Quebec. Over the Holidays, let’s hope Marco finds some love in his stocking, so we can all end the bitter feelings he has engendered within Quebec curling. He could start by finding a way to salvage the Caledonia Cup (a Ryder Cup-like event for club-level curlers), even if it means swallowing his pride. Quebec Curling is in need of all of us working together to make things better, not in-fighting and nasty letters.
- For Brad Jacobs and team; a fresh supply of protein shakes and a curling facility with full length mirrors along the sheets, so that their front end can check out their pipes and make squinty weightlifter faces after every shot they have to sweep.
- For Mike McEwen; A trip to the Brier. I don’t think he needs anything else.
- For Montreal – another National Championship. Montreal curling needs more exposure like the kind it got from the Mixed. (Okay Santa – I admit, I might have peeked in your bag already and seen the 2014 Scotties Montreal banner – don’t worry I will keep it a secret).
- For James Gratten: His own pair of onesie pyjamas, a new box of clementines, 20oz. of tequila and some colored nail polish. Still laughing at that one.
- For Kevin Martin: a quick recovery from Hernia surgery. I have always said he was a “gutsy” curler; he didn’t need to show us.
- For the CCA; Some brains and some balls to put an end to the horrible idea that is RELEGATION (where the bottom 4 Territories and Provinces have to play a double-knockout for the right to play at a National in the days before the event starts). I saw it this year at the Mixed - it is just too cruel a thing to do for the two teams that get sent home. That’s just not what the Brier/Scotties/Mixed is about. Shame on the CCA for not knowing better.
- For the NHL players and owners: Big lumps of coal in your stockings. And by “coal” I really mean lumps of shitballs, as Heather Nedohin would say.
- For my wife and my boss; A Mike clone to fill in for me around the house and at work when I am away spieling. (As long as she does not use the clone to fill in for other unmet needs when I am out of town).
- For me; I hear Edmonton in early March is beautiful.
PS I will leave some cookies and a Rye and Coke out for you by the tree as usual.
And best of luck in your upcoming Santa spiel!!! (see link for video from last year)
Santa Spiel on Youtube
Santa Spiel on Youtube
So what has been going on in Quebec Curling?
On the Men’s side:
- Ferland, Desjardins, Ménard and Lemay have all qualified for Provincials, to be held in Victoriaville at the end of January. Regional playdowns to determine the other 6 teams will be held the first week of January. I get to play in Quebec City with my team of Saguenéens, despite the fact that a Regional is being held all of 10 minutes from my house in my home club.
Who is the favorite? Hard to tell. Nobody has been even close to dominant in Quebec this year.
Ferland has looked great at times, but has looked kinda stinky in at least a few spiels. Ménard has probably been the most consistent, but they have had a mediocre season - at least by their high standards. Desjardins and Lemay? Both have struggled. So to sum up – it seems pretty wide open. Smart money as usual in on Ménard or Ferland, but that has been the case for the last three years where neither team ended up at the Brier.
Marie-France Larouche is once again the odds-on favorite, but a lot of teams can surely beat her on any given day. Allison Ross and team have been throwing about a million practice rocks, Julie Hamel has looked strong and Eve Bélisle has a new team. So expect an interesting provincial.
Not sure what this means, but Marie-France just narrowly lost a semi-final in a Men’s spiel featuring most of Quebec’s top teams.
So – Happy Holidays to all my readers – will update in the New Year or when I have something funny to say.