Friday, 15 February 2013

Scotties Tournament of Hearts preview

Scotties Tournament of Hearts preview

The Scotties Tournament of Hearts begins Saturday at Kingston's K-Rock Centre (or as I like to call it—the Crock Pot.)

The field is deep with former champions Heather Nedohin, Kelly Scott and Mary-Anne Arsenault (along with Colleen Jones) from Nova Scotia.

I have my favourites, but I also like to cheer on a good story. There is nothing better than a feel good story, and this field has a lot of good stories to cheer for.

So without further ado, I rank down the Scotties field. What I've done is include what the headline could look like for each team if they won. News editors can thank me now.

I also was able to ask ice-maker Gord Downie what he thought of the ice in Kingston and he told me, “Sometimes the faster it gets, the less you need to know. But you gotta remember, the smarter it gets the further it's going to go. When you blow at high dough.”

Then he added, “It'd be better for us if you don't understand. It'd be better for me if you don't understand.”

OK, you got me, that's just some lyrics from Kingston's most famous sons—The Tragically Hip. The lyric might have something to do with the ice, it might not.
A little known fact: The Tragically Hip appeared in the curling flick 'Men With Brooms' and are reportedly huge curling fans. They will make a couple cameos in the following rankings.

As Casey Kasem would say ... on with the countdown:

Rachel Homan (Ontario)
Headline: Homan wins the  Scotties, won't be her last
I went out on a limb and compared Team Homan to Michael Jordan a couple days ago in this blog. Do you really think I was going to pick someone else?
The young guns, this could be their breakout party.

Heather Nedohin (Team Canada)
Headline: Holy Shitballs! Nedohin repeats as champs
I predict that Nedohin will lose her voice by Tuesday. She should cruise to the playoffs.

Kelly Scott (B.C.)
Headline: Great Scott! Scott takes the Scotties
Probably not the best adjective, but this team is scrappy. Always in games. This is her s̶e̶v̶e̶n̶t̶h̶ eighth Scotties appearance.
Also have to give a shot out to Scott. She was one of my first Twitter followers last month and one of the first to reply to us. That puts her on a pedestal in our books.

Jennifer Jones (Manitoba)
Oh baby! Jones bounces back with Scotties win
Whoa baby I feel fine. I'm pretty sure it's genuine. Again, a Tragically Hip lyric, but it could also apply to Jones.
Jones has had quite the season. First she underwent knee injury in the off-season, and then she gave birth to a baby girl in December and jumped back into curling in January.
A four-time champion, Jones and her team has to be considered a favourite.

Kristie Moore (Alberta)
Headline: Moore Excitement! Moore wins Scotties
A bit of an upset in Alberta to get here, but we figure that Alberta has the deepest women's field, so she has to be good.
Moore has experience with Heather Nedohin at a previous Scotties, so the experience isn't totally new.

Jill Shumay (Saskatchewan)
Headline: Shumay, she might, Saskatchewan wins tonight
Shumay was the upset winner in Saskatchewan. If she wins, the team will never have to buy another drink in Saskatchewan for the rest of their lives. Grocery stores from Moose Jaw to Weyburn to North Battleford will be selling Shumay Shreddies.
The Shumay team, including Kara Johnston, Taryn Holtby and Jinaye Ayrey, is making its Scotties debut She is 38 years-old and has never been to the Scotties. She is 38 years-old and has never been to the Scotties. I swear that is my last Tragically Hip reference.

Mary-Anne Arsenault (Nova Scotia)
Headline: Seventh heaven for Jones
Mary-Anne Arsenault will skip the Nova Scotia team with former teammates Colleen Jones — who is playing third — and second Kim Kelly. This will be Arsenault’s 11th trip to the Scotties. Arsenault, Colleen Jones (as skip), Kelly and fifth Nancy Delahunt won the Canadian title five times and the world championship twice. Together they still hold the record for consecutive Canadian wins, at four. Colleen Jones is the most decorated women’s curler in the game.
If this team makes it as far as the playoffs, the media will go bananas. I don't blame them, it might be the last kick at the can for most of this team. Would be nice to see them go out with a bang.

Suzanne Birt (P.E.I)
Headline: Birt is back
A few years ago it seemed that Birt, (formerly known as Suzanne Gaudet) was on the verge of being the next big thing in women's curling.
She is a two-time Canadian junior champion and former world champion who is making her seventh appearance at nationals. She finished with the bronze in 2003, but hasn't reached those heights since.

Kerry Galusha (NWT/Yukon)
Headline: Northern Exposure, Galusha rises to top
This is Galusha's 11th trip to the Scotties.
She too, was one of Hurry Hard's first followers, so she too is okay in our books.

Stacie Devereaux (Newfoundland and Labrador)
Headline: First Newfie Scotties winner
A former Canadian junior champ, Devereaux would be a Newfie legend if she could break on through.

Andrea Crawford (New Brunswick)
Headline: Crawford with the biggest curling upset ever
Actually it wouldn't be a huge upset. Crawford has four Scotties appearances, and in each one finished with a 5-6 record. She could break through and sniff the playoffs.

Allison Ross (Quebec)
Ross is the boss at Scotties
Ross will be a longshot. She was the lead for Kim Gellard's Ontario rink at the 1999 Scotties.

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southwestern Ontario, Canada
I am a curling junkie. Wanted to create one spot to bring fans of the roaring game together, for information, news and thoughts about curling.