Sunday, March 1, 2009

Hammering On Mallett

The Scotties final will go tonight in Victoria with Marla Mallett and her Vancouver rink taking on the defending champ Jennifer Jones. The Winnipeg rink advancing to the final for a 2nd straight year by first beating Stefanie Lawton and her Saskatchewan rink in the 3 vs 4 game and then beating Quebec’s Marie France-Larouche in the semi-final. A curling blog known as “The Curling News” has an article on Mallett—and an unfavourable one at that from a Calgary curler named Margo Weber. Read on!

It’s probably no surprise to Marla Mallett that her team from BC has made the 1-2 playoff game at the 2009 Scotties Tournament of Hearts. But I bet it’s a surprise to everyone else.In a field that included Team Canada’s Jennifer Jones, Saskatoon’s Stephanie Lawton and Calgary’s Cheryl Bernard, the play of Team BC has been no less than remarkable.So can BC hold up their first place status and win one of two chances to make the final? This team made the 1-2 game by virtue of their eighth win on Wednesday night, however has subsequently lost their last two round robin games. If they can’t get things back on track, it’s going to be a long summer of what-ifs for Mallett and her squad from the Vancouver Curling Club.Mallett has certainly not let the extra pressure of being the home team diminish their chances. They don’t even seem to care what the crowd thinks.They chose not to participate in the Ford Hot Shots at the beginning of the week because they feared it would be a distraction from the real goal – winning the Scotties.Mallett also plays a less-than-crowd-pleasing style of game that is unbelievably boring and pretty lame for the fans. So they are less concerned about the event sponsors and the crowd, and more concerned with their own play. Fair enough.But Mallett herself got distracted enough in last night’s round robin game against Team Canada that she actually stopped herself in the hack, got up and refocused. Apparently bothered by some opposition team movement at the other end of the sheet, she was later shown jawing to Cathy Overton-Clapham about holding still.Was Cathy O doing the hokey pokey? How could someone of this curling calibre be so easily distracted over something so minute?For those that watched the TSN telecast, you heard Linda Moore comment how Mallett had to refocus quite a few times in the BC provincials due to minor distractions. Shouldn't something as trivial as a little movement in the background not bother her at this point?Yeesh, this is the home team, and the crowd is cheering “British Columbia” every five seconds. Yet she feels the need to talk to Cathy O about her movements. Weird.Okay, so let’s pretend BC does win tonight – or in the semi – and then faces one of three really good teams in the final. And let’s pretend she even wins that and goes on to represent Canada at the Worlds in Korea. How will she fare?As a fan of Canadian curling, my support will certainly be behind her in hopes that she captures the world title. But I would be a little nervous about their chances.First, this is a very defensive team, and the Victoria ice seems to lend to this style of play. But the ice in Korea is sure to be completely different than ice at home – isn’t it? – and the question is: would they be able to adjust?Second, if Mallett is easily distracted by other teams, the World Championship will not be the place for her. International teams are very different from Canadian teams. If you want to see a bunch of ladies jumping up and down, and high fiving just for making a hit and roll – watch a few games at the Worlds.I’m going to have to throw my hopes behind a team that isn’t afraid to mix it up. Best of luck to Team BC in their quest, but I want a Canadian gold in Korea, and I’m going to have to cheer for someone else. How about someone like Quebec’s Marie-France Larouche who puts the broom on the edge of the eight foot, goes down to the other end of the sheet and draws to the can without blinking an eye. Typical Mallett strategy would be to scan the house for any cross-house double so that she doesn’t have to draw.Or how about Saskatchewan, which has the major distraction of an illness in the family of the skip and third, yet has still rallied to a third-place round robin finish despite losing their first three games?Or Team Canada, an absolute powerhouse in women’s curling which has the major distraction of being Team Canada? Even when these girls are struggling they just plain refuse to roll over and die themselves, as we saw in last year’s STOH and just a few minutes ago, in the 2009 tiebreaker against poor PEI.There are so many great teams in the Scotties this year that I just don’t have it in me this time to cheer for the home province. Sorry, BC.
There are a lot of people out there that seemingly don’t like Jones even though I found her to be very co-operative and very friendly at last years event in Regina. That being said, I did hear stories about her being very “diva”-like but not to the level of Kelley Law. I don’t agree with Mallett not competing in the Hot Shots and I do agree with Webers comments on the confrontation with Cathy Overton-Clapham. It would seem that whoever wins tonight will have an unpopular faction amongst some. BTW I’m rooting for Jennifer. Speaking of the Hotshots, have you tried it, you can by going to
The Cougar ladies basketball team failed in its attempt to win the Canada West title. They were beaten 68-57 by Simon Fraser Saturday night. SFU and the U of R may have another chance to tango next weekend at the CIS Nationals which are happening in Regina.

A chance to see Regina’s Josh Harding guard the goal last night as the Minnesota Wild played the Oilers in the back half of the HNIC doubleheader. I’m hoping to see a lot more of Josh in the days and years to come as the Wild goalie. His time is now and with rumours of number one goalie Nick Backstrom perhaps being dealt at the trade deadline the Wild may be ready to turn the reins over to Josh. In my years of watching the Pats, he is the best goalie I have ever seen wearing a Pats uni and yes that includes the days of Eddie Staniowski. By the way, I am hearing Backstrom could be a Washington Capital by this time next week. If that happens, Washington gets stronger in goal and they will then have two players on their team named Nicklas Backstrom.
I didnt watch the first half of the HNIC doubleheader because it was the Leafs-Senators. While channel surfing, the movie "Weekend at Bernies" was just starting. It may be one of the cheeziest movies ever made but it truly is one of my favourites. I can't stop laughing at that show especially the scene where Bernie goes overboard on the boat and keeps hitting the buoys. Classic!!!!

No comments: