Monday, February 23, 2009

Day 3 Canada preview

It's far too early for Canadian fans to panic. Having said that, this is a team built around Jim Armstrong, and when he struggles there is no one there to pick him up. It's not Jim's team, it's the team that he has been given, and while it may well be the team that he himself would have chosen, it is not a national team forged in adversity, with a personal history.

Jim is calling a great game, and it was fascinating to watch him attempt to put the pieces back together down four in the final end of their last two games. Had he been able to execute his own shots, Canada may well have come back from the dead and be sharing top of the table.

But his teammates are deferential. They talk and encourage each other while he is sitting alone at the other end, and they listen attentively to him during the break. But who's going to be the one to say "COME ON Jim, you can do it! Let's go!"

Jim had said before the championship that we would be impressed by how accurately the team would play, that wheelchair curling was moving away from being a game of misses. His game plan has always left Canada with a makeable last shot. But it remains extraordinarily difficult to throw a stone into the rings, period, let alone to a particular spot under pressure.

Jim has has decades of experience facing adversity. He'll find his touch, but throwing from a chair under this type of pressure is new for him. He's thrown as many and probably more rocks than anyone on the ice this past year. He has exprience at 3rd and the tournament's only soft opponent in Switzerland this afternoon. Look to Canada to rebuild their confidence before their USA grudge match this evening.

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