Monday, February 23, 2009

Draw 5 Review and updates

Switzerland played Canada tough for the first part of the game, going into the break 3 -2. Skip Manfred Bollinger bailed out his very inexperienced team mates on several occaisions. But it all fell apart in the fifth end. Canda put lots of rocks in the back of the house and Bollinger drew in to sit shot for a potential save. Jim Armstrong removed that stone and when Bollinger attempted the same draw, he was heavy and gave up a steal of four.

Canada took five with the hammer in the 7th by putting too many stones in the house for the Swiss' ability to hit.

USA started promisingly, taking two in the first against Korea. But things quickly fell apart when Korea took two in the second, stole one in the third, stole four in the fourth. USA skip Perez appears to have lost confidence in his draw, and keeps trying to hit his way out of trouble. It's just not working.

Sweden played Scotland not knowing which Scotland would turn up. It was Scotland's best performance of the tournament, said Coach Pendriegh. "Unfortunately poor shot selection in the third ruined what was other wise a good game. We could have thrown hits to reduce potential damage, but we failed at two freezes and gave up five."

Sweden's skip Jalle Jungnell said that he started the game with mis-matched rocks. One rock needed a foot of ice for a takeout, the other over two feet. Several skips have mentioned that matching the rocks has been very necessary.

Norway got back on track against Korea, finishing strong with a steal of three in the sixth and a single in the seventh to win 8-3. Teams are allowed 68 minutes plus one time out, but most teams had 10 or 15 minutes on their timeclocks by the end of the game.

Updating the replayed end in the Korea - Italy game last night: In the third end Korea was sitting one and asked for a measurement to see who was second shot. Before the measurement could be made, a volunteer moved the stones. By rule, Korea could have accepted the one point, or asked for a replay. They asked for a replay. Italy stole 3 and Korea failed to regain their composure, going on to lose 7-1.

In this evening's games, Canada plays USA and won't have forgotten the humiliating 8-1 defeat in the Bronze medal game at last year's Worlds. USA feel they need to win this game if they hope to qualify for the playoffs. USA are just not used to curling on ice that moves more than a foot. This week the rocks are curling between four and six feet. But we can't know if all of that is due to the ice, or if the brand new rocks are also a factor.

Scotland Coach Tom Pendreigh is disapointed with the playing conditions. "The curlers deserve better," he said. "The brand new rocks and difficult ice are making the games a bit of a lottery. To those who say the conditions are the same for everybody, I use the example of a putting challange to Tiger Woods. If we were putting in a ploughed field I would have a chance. In Augusta, I'd have no chance.

"We're adjusting to the conditions. Last night's win was encouraging. We had more than one player throwing well. Michael McCreadie will be skipping from third rocks, as he did in our win last night."

Canada coach Joe Rea agreed with Scotland coach Tom Pendriegh that the rocks were not allowing the players to play to their potential. "It's a shame that the spectators are not seeing the quality of curling that we know the players are capable of," said Coach Rea. "A lot of that is down to the rocks. It'll be interesting to see how the World Juniors cope when they add brushing."

The ice had been difficult at the start of the tournament but the ice-makers worked hard to strike a balance between ice speed and new rocks. The faster the ice, the more curl and these rocks curl plenty.

Scroll to the post below for live shot by shot coverage of the USA - Canada game.

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