The Scotties …

As noted last week, curling returned this past week with the Scotties, inside a curling bubble in Calgary.  The format was modified to include 18 teams and to drop the traditional page playoff format — 1 vs 2, 3 vs 4 for to start, with the winner of the 1vs 2 game going straight to the final and the loser playing the winner of the 3 vs 4 game for the final spot — and instead have the top team after the Championship Round (top four teams from each pool play the teams from the other pool to get the final standings) go straight through to the finals and have the other two teams play against each other for the final spot.  This year, Rachel Homan’s team got that bye by virtue of beating Kerri Einarson’s team in the round robin and both teams losing to Jennifer Jones’ team in the Championship Round.  However, Jones herself was beaten by Laura Walker in a tiebreaker and so she didn’t make the playoffs, and Einarson beat Walker to face Homan in the final for the second season in a row, and she ended up beating Homan for the second year in a row to remain Team Canada.

One thing that I noticed this year was the role that luck plays and can play in a game, with a number of missed shots that ended up doing really good things.  No one would have ever planned that, and they wouldn’t have made those shots if they tried, but I noticed a number of lucky breaks that turned ends and even games around.  There is a notion of missing the right way, which means that you bias your shots so that if you do miss you’ll end up doing less disastrous things, but that wasn’t really the case here.  It was probably a side effect of there being more misses in general, as the teams came in a bit rusty from not being able to play any pre-Scotties tournaments, even the normal playdowns.  Which made for some interesting if not necessarily technically proficient games.

Youth was served in this year’s Scotties, with a lot of young teams making it in, especially on the basis of the Wild Cards where how many games were played mattered and a lot of young teams played a lot of games.  Also, there were some young teams that made it in last year that might not have managed to pull it off again this year that got back because there couldn’t be playdowns.  It was interesting to watch those teams and a number of them through their experiences might be able to get back to the Scotties on a more regular basis.  It also made me more annoyed with the older and regular teams like Kerry Galusha and Suzanne Birt, as they are teams that tend to be middle-of-the-pack and so can upset teams so they get a lot of attention, but I personally wanted to see more of the younger teams.  Yes, the commentators did comment on them, but I felt that those teams got more attention than they should have this time around, especially since neither of those teams made the Championship Round.

At any rate, the curling that I could watch was interesting, although the schedule and my work schedule limited the time I could spend watching.  I don’t know how much of the Briar — the men’s championships — I’ll watch, and the World Championships for the women are already cancelled, so the next curling I seriously watch might be the Grand Slam games in April.

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