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    Wednesday, March 4, 2009

    World Championship wrap-up

    First I want to say that without Cate doing the heavy lifting, the fetching and carrying, the struggling with a lousy internet connection and all the live blog typing our coverage wouldn't have been possible. Plus she worked for two days with a cold that has had me in bed the past three days.

    Promised photos never did arrive but yet may. We'll make them more of a priority another time. And a better internet connection would have meant fewer pauses and the ability to run CurlIt side by side with the blogging software. We sat at the level of the coaches, who guessed right along with us just whose rocks sat shot 200 feet away.

    One of the reasons I have been keen to attend a Worlds was to meet wheelchair curlers from other countries, and learn how the sport is developing elsewhere. I shared the WCF's Kate Caithness' disappointment with how cloistered coaches chose to keep their squads. While Team Canada were gracious about granting formal interviews arranged in advance, they were invisible off the ice. So too Scotland, the other team with significant national funding. The Germans, who had family in support were the exception. They were one of three club based sides at the championship, keen to win but also interested in what was going on around them. Sweden's skip, Jalle Jungnell also brought a club side and made an effort to show his face, as did Norway later in the week.

    There were few spectators, almost no press, a huge empty building and yet somehow most of the 49 international athletes managed to hide themselves away from anyone not competing. That's not a great way to advertise the sport, or pay dues to the spirit of the game. There was a 10 foot barrier behind a curtain that had my pass ever graduated to a green dot would have allowed me to sit, caged, and call to players as they passed. The green dots, available at any stationery store, were the open sesame, but though often promised one never arrived, and frankly we were both too tired to go shopping.

    Each sheet had an official who would indicate to the time keepers when clocks should run or stop in the event of confusion. Most teams were unfamiliar with time clocks and there was, according to head official Ian Addison, a level of anxiety early on that clocks might cheat players of precious seconds. In practice, they were a non-issue, with games moving quickly and few teams finishing with less than ten or fifteen minutes to spare.

    The other major rule change was widening the delivery zone, and from what I could see, certainly on ice that moved easily four and often six feet, few players paid attention to where their rock was precisely positioned. Often rocks were brought to a chair already in position, rather than in the more logical sequence of the skip deciding where the rock should be, then placing his broom, then having the shooter approach the stone.

    In some ways the professionalism of the Canadians felt like overkill in this company. They didn't win all their games because Jim Armstrong took some time to get comfortable throwing, and when he struggled so did the team. I just don't remember an end in twelve games where he didn't leave himself a path into the house.

    Most people I spoke to pre-tournament had marked the Koreans as a medal threat, but they are a club side, the Gangdong Dream, and did not take well to having a coach foisted onto them two weeks before the tournament. The coach, a Korean international player in his own right, said the team were not listening to him and had decided to do their own thing. That was mostly hit, regardless of situation.

    Most of the teams I watched aside from Canada would have done well to heed Linda Moore's advice that rocks behind the T line can be your friends, especially when you are down 3. Korea played as though this year's event, with a place in 2010 assured, wasn't that important, which is why they had to escape relegation by winning a tie break.

    Though I had a gut feeling it wasn't to be Norway's year, I was surprised by how much they struggled. "We just haven't practiced enough," complained coach Hognestad. "The ice we were promised last September is still not there, and we had to travel long distances to practice." But with their backs to the wall Norway are still a dangerous side. They played Canada in the final round robin draw and won, avoiding automatic relegation.

    Try as I might I couldn't find anyone with a kind word to say about Scottish coach Pendreigh's plan to throw from the near T-line rather than hogline. Michael McCreadie tells me the players have bought in so they're committed for another year. Hard to see the plan or the coach surviving a poor Paralympics.

    Team China were colourful, vocal and had a member who leant so far out of his chair his chin was on the rock handle. Several sides have modified their Adapter delivery slicks to allow the stone to be drawn back before delivery. The low tech solution to the very real problem of rocks sticking at delivery is to tighten the bracket under heat, and apply friction tape to the edges. Practice long before using in competition.

    Team USA, who beat Canada on a circus shot that only skip Perez saw, to have a chance at the playoffs, lost a medal they could already feel round their necks by a huge fluke, a last stone German mis-directed 30 foot runback that re-directed to take out USA's shot stone. USA are a very emotional team, and have grown under a very quiet soft-spoken Coach Brown, who handed on duties to the larger than life Rusty Schieber after the first weekend. That had to be a readjustment. The team was inconsistent, and 'Goose' Perez will come to realise that he can't just abandon the draw as he did several times during the week. With playing time on swingy ice, and some intensive training on recognising when to hit and when to draw, USA will put that emotion and fire to good purpose.

    But there you have it. All Team Canada need do is match their opponents shooting, and superior game calling will make the difference. And we haven't even got into rock matching, and opponent propensities and all the other skills that Jim Armstrong already brings to the game, and that most other teams can only dream about.

    Finally I'll close with a shout-out to the unsung heroes of wheelchair curling, the rock wranglers who gather the stones and wipe them off and without whom the games would last forever. Way to go!

    If you've come this far I would like to encourage you to leave a comment or send an email (eric@wheelchaircurling.com) with any suggestions on what we could do differently or better when we cover the Nationals in Nova Scotia later this month.

    67 comments:

    Anonymous said...

    Hello, Eric,

    I followed your very interesting coverage of the Worlds, almost shot by shot. Your summary above seems very accurate.

    Team Canada, under Jim Armstrong is a force to be reckoned with, especially now that Jim has a better idea of opponents and their strengths (and weaknesses!).

    You are absolutely correct, that if Canada can even match opponents shotmaking, then the big advantage lies with Jim's unsurpassed knowledge of the details of the sport.....ironically, nothing to do with the long overstated issue of his ability or disability.

    Jim seems to be a "take control" kind of guy, with his teammates and his opponents. Seems like Jim was always leaving himself an "out", even if he AS YET does not have all the technical skills mastered....this "out" as strategized by him is a new level to our sport by itself!

    I have talked to a couple of people who attended (unfortunately, I couldn't), and Jim was every bit the leader and sportsman that he exemplified in the able-bodied sport. I understand that Kate Caitness is his newest fan. I also understand that if not for Armstrong/Team Canada supporters, the arena would have been VERY quiet.

    Congratulations to Team Canada, and especially Big Jim for initiating the next big step in the ongoing development of our sport.

    We all should provide big kudos for what Armstrong has done for our sport so far, and who knows where he can advance it in the future.

    It is not "all about Jim", but what a great place to start, in my opinion.

    Anonymous said...

    Well said, blogger, and Eric

    Jim Armstrong has provided much needed media coverage and credibility for our sport, and I am sure will only improve!

    Anonymous said...

    An interesting week, with, I don't think an overly surprising result. Does Jim Armstrong's strength in controlling a game really show that much?

    Eric Eales said...

    I think it did if you are used to watching televised curling. It showed in how the play would go up a single side of the sheet, leaving an open side for his stones. It showed in knowing how to attempt a comeback down 4 in the final end. Had he made his final stones against China and Italy, Canada may well have scored 4 to force an extra, but then if he had been making his shots in those games they wouldn't have been down 4.

    And you can't shoot 80% as a team without being given straightforward high percentage shots to make.

    The loss to Norway was a wake-up, and really the playoff games were not even close.

    I didn't realise how huge the disparity in preparation and available tools between Canada as s semi-pro team with Jim and Darryl spending all their time throwing rocks together, and the other teams.

    The Scots are similarly funded, and potentially as good, but Michael McCreadie said to me "People forget I've only been skipping 3 years."

    Anonymous said...

    So, the "Armstrong Factor" is as big as it appears. As someone mentioned, it is a big advantage, unrelated to disability.

    Armstrong is going to get better technically, he never threw a rock until the start of 2007, and never really threw a competitive rock until Scotland, in October, 2008. Now he is the turnkey center of the World champions.

    Look out when he gets better!

    Anonymous said...

    It was mentioned earlier, Eric, if the "Armstrong factor" of strategy, ice reading, matching rocks, etc., etc., is so huge, perhaps we (internationally) would be more balanced, and better off without him.

    I don't know, but he may accelerate the game only to the benefit of Team Canada.

    What do you, and others, think????

    Anonymous said...

    Point....I believe that Armstrong's ability to read ice improves his team by at least 10%. That alone is a huge advantage, and I wish everyone else best of luck in catching Canada in the near future. Norway has the history, Canada has the future.

    Anonymous said...

    COme on, the person who now wants Jim banned because he know too much....Ya thinks USA would pull Jim if they had him?

    Bring on the next level of the game.

    Anonymous said...

    Hmmm.....Jim Armstrong has been medically assessed by the only assessor, and allowed to ply, to crys of "foul" from wannabees.

    Now, with only a couple of international bonspiels in his experience bag, wins the Worlds, and once again he shouldn't be allowed to play....why this time? Because he is too good.....Get out of your low mentality mind-fart position. He is the best thing to happen to this Sport, and will keep it from fading into the sunset.

    GET REAL, PEOPLE, and I would suggest others use Eric's forum to address this very issue, sooner rather than later.

    THIS WEBSITE IS THE BAROMETER OF OUR INTEREST IN OUR SPORT.

    Anonymous said...

    Watching Armstrong play was a little like watching Russ Howard skip in a Juniors provincial playdown.

    I just don't think that the other teams (Scotland a possible exception) have the resources to instill the sophistication that Canada now brings to the game.

    It's certainly good for medal prospects, and there's a chance that it may spur better preparation and improve overall play. Or it may just seem a little silly after 2010 is put to bed.

    Anonymous said...

    I don't think the argument is that Armstrong is too good - it's that he brings skills developed over 50 years to a sport full of non-curlers who have been convinced to try something new.

    Anonymous said...

    So, is that good or bad?

    The WCF is well funded, and this is Kate Caithness's baby. The sport will continue, and with the likes of Jim Armstrong will fluorish as well.

    Let's enjoy the media coverage we have, and let's respect im Armstrong's involvement

    Anonymous said...

    SO, if he is a plaYer in a group of non-players, is thAT GOOD OR BAD?

    Personally, I think he will be the guy that keeps the sport going and on the right track of improvement, rathe than being simply a fifth grade competition of bastardized newby curlers

    Anonymous said...

    Come on, you guys!

    Jim Armstrong provides credibility to a game that could be lost as a bunch of "crips" on the eighth page of some local rag.

    What do we have now? Television interviews, major newspaper coverage, and more to happen, I am sure. I haven't yet heard of any instance that Jim Armstrong will refuse to do an interview on behalf of our sport.

    Embrace him, people, I have said this before, and it now is more apparent than ever!

    Anonymous said...

    SO, i guess, the saga continues....is Jim good or bad for the game?

    I say, more power to him....he has certainly improved the profile of this game...soon to be a sport

    Anonymous said...

    Who can possibly question Jim Armstrong's impact? Embrace and enjoy his involvement, since without him, se are lost in the neverlands of nowhere.

    Anonymous said...

    Jim is absolutely good, or great for the sport. His involvement assures the future.

    You think sponsorship in this environment is easy?

    Kudo's to the Big Guy, and yes, I am , I hope, considered a friend.

    Anonymous said...

    This sport will develop as Armstrong or someone wih his pedigree takes it. It rrmains a huge surprise that he wasn't welcomed with open arms for the media coverage he has generated.

    Anonymous said...

    What's your spin on Jim Armstrong, Eric?

    Anonymous said...

    I am not Eric, but I see Jim as a well measured,intense student of the game his entire life. He has bought into this adaptation of his long-loved sport, and will address this venture as he did the able-bodied game. He is smart, articulate, and knows what he wants. That said, I see him as kind and considerate of his players (team-mates and opponents), and will use his notoriety to advance this sport. He is the only profie player we have at present, and he will help th game immensely, in my opinion.

    William B. said...

    All of you forget way to easy the history of this sport, people and players who laid the foundation of where the psort is today.

    The Silver, the Bronze and the Paralympic Gold! All forgotten on 1 person 1 accomplishement.

    What is bigger, Paraylmic or World gold.

    Worlds is big yes but Paralympic is bigger!!!!!!

    Where is the youth in this sport????

    No where, where is the opportunity for up and coming players?

    No where!!!! People we really need to look beyond 2010! What happens when Jim retires, when Darryl retires!!!

    We we even make the next worlds in 2012 or even the Paralympics in 2014?

    We have much more at risk then people are looking at....good players left or not even looked at.

    Canada may be great now!!! Even the best after Van 2010 but what if anything is being thought of there after!

    NOTHING!!!!!!!!!

    Will we lose all the best players we have... DAW is gone (could be a great alternate in 2010), Armstrong and Darryl will soon follow.

    The WHAT!

    Eric Eales said...
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    Eric Eales said...

    Jim is a great guy - entertaining, knowledgeable, committed to wheelchair curling's present prospects and future growth. But his effect on the team, on participation in Canada, and on the future is a lot more complicated than many posters here are allowing themselves to consider.

    If I am the CCA, or a Paralympic sponsor, I am all for him. Short-term he is all upside, bringing skills that no-one playing wheelchair curling since its inception can hope to emulate.

    At the moment the Press, who will remember him from his playing days, are staying with the "isn't it great that Big Jim's back" line, concentrating on how Jim's adapting to a new challenge. They could just as easily be talking about Canada bringing in a ringer.

    It's clear from the comments that many of Jim's supporters just do not comprehend how there could be a downside to his presence. But long term the crucial audience is not Vanoc sponsors, Own The Podium, or CCA employees. It is wheelchair users.

    Jim understands this. If you watch the video post, you'll hear both he and his wife talk about the sport as something accessible and fun for everyone.

    I would be uncomfortable with the idea of Jim settling in as skip of Team Canada for the next 10 years. Similarly, if his team repeat as National Champions, I hope he tries with a different group another year, spreading his experience.

    Even without Jim, Canada have the funding and coaching expertise to succeed. The fear that a team of Korean or Chinese automatons were going to take over the world was, it turned out, paranoia. They're enthusiastic and technically skilled, but not tactically sophisticated.

    I do not think Jim's emergence on the scene was handled well, nor has that been officially acknowledged. So Jim will continue to travel under a bit of a cloud until he demonstrates to full-time wheelchair users that he will have a positive effect on the long-term prosperity of the sport. For them it is not about medals.

    I used to be a competitive bridge player, and as I became better, I became more aware of what I did not know. I'm not sure most teams in Vancouver know what they don't know.

    I saw a lot of that last week; for example teams down three, trying to hit their way to victory. The temptation for Germany and Sweden to come off the ice saying Canada played well, is understandable but actually Canada's play was no better than average, especially if you take out the out-lier of that 83% game.

    Canada had a plan to win for every game, and other teams "just played our game" which inevitably meant Canada's game. It will be interesting to see which teams adjust to a game plan that can beat Canada. I've got one, sent it a plain brown wrapper, discretion assured, very reasonable rates :)

    Anonymous said...

    Hey, Eric:

    Very entertaining point!

    The reality is this, in my humble opinion......

    Armstrong brings the media-competitive sense that will retain the media....without it we are a bunch of "crips wannabees". His involvement brings media interest and credibility.....check out the Vancouve Sun covering the World championships...a tough market to crack, and crack it we did....why? Jim Armstrong....love him or hate him.....doesn't matter......if you want to see the sport continuing, with the dollars required, hook your star to Jim, for he will keep his and the sport's dream alive..

    Best future of our sport???? Jim plays for another ten years...why???? because he will continue to support and promote our sport.....Suggest someone else who has impacted like him in less than one season....

    Embrace this guy....he has the best interests and future of our sport at heart.

    Anonymous said...

    Your points regarding Jim Armstrong and the future are well presented. But let's look at the reality from the present, as we know it. I am reading and writing on you site because of one person,,,Jim Armstrong. I have followed his entire career, and found him to be a very charismatic guy, with the ability to turn media opportunities past himself to the sport. You don't remember when he took over the reins of the WCPA, a group that could have dissolved the competitive game as we now know it. Under him, there was a truce etween the CCA and the players, only to flare up as soon as he retired. But the game plan was in place, and sensitivity was acknowledged, and now players have the support from the CCA that was lacking, to the benefit of all, including the viewing public.

    I would hope that, as we go forward, the CCA and the WCF will look for suggestions and impact from Jim...he has or should have their ear, and, rest assured, he has the best interests of our/his sport at heart

    Anonymous said...

    To the guy (William B) that thinks Jim Armstrong's impact will be short lived.

    I think not.

    He will keep the sport on the front lines of the media. Coupled with 2010, he can set the standard of coverage and profile, which will/should continue post 2010. Hope that he continues beyond, what I suspect, is a contract that ends in 2010...

    Which brings up another point, Eric, does the CCA have him under contract, and if so, for how long?

    Anonymous said...

    Good point....

    Eric:

    Any idea on the CCA - Armstrong contract???

    I believe 5 or 6 are carded athletes, and some have other contracts, as well

    Anonymous said...

    For Wheelchair curling in Canada....5 "A" cards, and one Devolopmental card, I believe.

    I also heard that Chris Daw has a separate promotional contract with the CCA, but am not 100% certain as to existence or size.

    Would be interesting to know, since we all can aspire to this.

    Anonymous said...

    So, is the suggestion that Armstrong's interest is financially motivated?

    Anonymous said...

    Jim Armstrong, I believe is anything but financially motivated. Last year, as a "consultant", he never even billed for expenses, and to my understanding, he still receives NO renumeration of any type.

    Anonymous said...

    So, does the CCA run a "semi-professional" program, or not?

    I have some problem believing Jim is not renumerated, while others are. How can that be?

    Anonymous said...

    Can you add aany light on our "profeesional" program, eRIC?

    Anonymous said...

    Does anyone know what Scotland's budget is?

    Anonymous said...

    I believe the Scots are all paid, and quite well, including coaches and managers.

    Canada has some compensation for all, which, surely, must include Armstrong

    Anonymous said...

    So, I think all would like to know what compensation is beng paid, and to whom????

    Anonymous said...

    I don't think it matters who gets paid what (as much as I'd like to know). The bigger issue is the impact of Jim Armstrong and Team Canada. The impact is huge and positive, and Canada will lead the world in this game.

    Anonymous said...

    Let's sum it up and get on with the game. This sport will only go as well as Jim Armstrong's presence on the short term. HIS PRESENCE WILL BEAR WELL FOR POST 2010.

    Without him, what do potential sponsors have to hang their hats? Remember they have shareholders to answer to.

    He brings media coverage and interest, and that what sells sponsors.

    Can anyone argue the logic?

    Eric Eales said...

    Wheelchair curling presently sponsors 5 carded athletes, Sonja, Gary, Gerry, Darryl and Ina, plus Chris on a development card.

    Jim's eligibility was not decided until well into the cycle.

    Cardings expire June 30 and a new cycle begins July 1st, 2009.

    Jim has told me that he paid his own way at camps until his eligibility was ratified by the WCF assessor.

    Anonymous said...

    So, Eric, you suggested prior to Worlds that Jim's knowledge of the game, rocks,etc. would nt be utilzed UNLESS Team Canada played well enough to utilize these skills. It seems now that you feel that those skills shine through anyway. Not criticizist woould like to hear your take on it, since, I,too, felt that his expertise would be lost at this level. It is important for all teams to have a sense, since more time could be allocated to stategy, ice-calling, etc., rather than simply technical.

    Anonymous said...

    The above point, I would think is valid.

    Does Jim's expertise still show through regardless? I would have thought that the advantage of shot-calling, rocks, ice-reading may well have been lost until everyone was able to play better, in the future.

    Eric, seems you feel that it is already a big advantage.

    Anonymous said...

    Stats seem to suggest it is a big advantage, when you look at the way Canada dismanted everyone in the playoffs. Just an observation.

    Anonymous said...

    I would suggest that he would be calling too tough a game, and that is why they struggled. He figured it out and wham....no contest......ust don't know if it is fair to everyone else.

    Eric Eales said...

    I think the thing to remember is that Canada shot 56% or a couple of points lighter if you discount that out-lier game, which puts them on par with almost every other team. So they didn't win on superior shot execution, which I think came as a surprise to the team, if not the coaches.

    In my opinion, that level of execution negates superior ice reading and rock matching. It remains a game of misses.

    Where Jim Armstrong's skipping was vital, and I think the difference over the team that shot better last year in coming 4th, was his game calling. When Canada won he enticed his opponents into low percentage shots. More sophisticated opponents would have ignored the opening stone floated wide into the 12 foot. More experienced opponents would not have reflexively chased every draw deep in the house.

    For Canada to win, they had merely to throw deep, wait for the miss that was never long coming, and then draw in again. It wasn't brain surgery, but fooled most of their opponents.

    So it was calling shots that could be made, leaving a clear path into the house for skip stones, knowing you can't win by hitting when you're behind, and knowing when to guard that made the difference. And none of that was execution dependent.

    I think, watching so much curling in Canada, we take skipping skills for granted. If I was coaching a Paralympics team I would be making the skip watch hours of Scotties tapes (Brier play has no relevance to the wheelchair game) and call every shot. You have to be able to distinguish between a time to draw and a time to hit. Most teams didn't do that consistently. If a stone looked hittable a hit was attempted regardless of situation, because everyone agrees it's easier to hit than draw.

    Anonymous said...

    So, was he calling a fool's game and leading the opponents into it, was he simply making it a simple game and out-executing on the simple shots, was he out reading the opposition, or was he finding the winning formula?

    Or des it matter how he calls it? I don't get how they dominated when it mattered.

    Anonymous said...

    I actually believe that Armstrong had to simplify his game plan, then taking other teams out of the four foot area, where it doesn't really matter to Team Canada, and relied on obvious ICE-READING to be the difference...

    But there lies the difference....hecan mentally dissect the opposition, forcing them to make what he allows them, and goes with the statistics on his side.

    I don't think you can underestimate the impact, and I have no idea how to negate him, if it can be done.

    Anonymous said...

    I believe the above blogger is on the money. Jim Armstrong's ice reading ability, and to a lesser extent, his strategy advantage (since he will make NO mstakes with the score in mind). is a real and tangible advantage. It is an advantage that no other team can come close to in the near future.

    Anonymous said...

    No one's arguing that Jim has more ice reading ability than anyone out there. The question raised a few posts ago was, given the level of precision in shot execution, did it make any difference.

    I don't see, judging by the stats, that it did. All putting the broom down in the right place does, is make mid 50s per cent shooting down to the thrower and not the broom placer. It's still mid 50s.

    Anonymous said...

    Yhe obvious question is:

    What would the stats have been if the broom was not in the right place?

    Sorry, ice-reading is a big part of any game, including wheelchair

    Anonymous said...

    Does it come as a surprise, that after round robin, after Canada had played all rocks on all sheets (more or less), that the playoffs were laughable. Armstrong learned a lot early in the week in his first real competition, and applied it late......scary if you are competition.

    Anonymous said...

    I have to agree. Jimin his first competition does what Canada has not done before.....Luck????doubt it......coincidence???????? doubt it. New era in the sport???? absolutely

    Anonymous said...

    I think that strtgy and ice reading ae big in this game. It optimizes your results, and 5% in this game is actually a 10% spread in shots made (10% of 50% is 5%)

    The difference is Armstrong, and the spread will get larger next year.

    Anonymous said...

    Let's cut to the chase.

    Eric, why don't you call Jim and get his opinion?

    Will he discuss this with you?

    I would think that if he is as accessible as everyone says he is, let's hear from him.

    Anonymous said...

    I agree.....let's see what Jim has to say.

    Eric Eales said...

    Sorry, guys, but I lost track of this thread a while ago.

    What is the question?

    I really don't think there's anything complicated about Canada's success. They lost to Norway, which may have cost them a chance at the playoffs had China not lost to Scotland.

    They then had a big meeting, a big practice, and for reasons inexplicable to me, managed to get USA, Germany and Sweden to all attempt to play Wack-A-Mole.

    I doubt that opposing teams will be as obliging next year, but then I don't expect the shooting percentages at the back end to be this low next year either.

    Anonymous said...

    The worst hey couldhave done after beating Germany was a tie-breaker. I heard about the magic practice on Friday prior to the USA game, but come on, they just simply embarass the other final teams?

    Jim figured out what was necessary. Didn't he have another 80 plus% game againt USA?

    FURTHER, WHEN HAVE you seen anyone throw rocks through in the 7th end.....not once, but twice???

    Anonymous said...

    It is Jim's knwledge that is making the difference at present...it is the next level, and I don't know how anyone else gets there in a hurry.

    Anonymous said...

    I agree. He can take mediocre play and turn it into a win

    Anonymous said...

    Ice reading and shot calling is always an important part of the sport at any level.....MORE SO, when you are only playing 60%, in my opinion

    Anonymous said...

    The major advantage is Jim Armstrong's knowledge. His ice reading and stategywillmake Team Canada hard to beat for the next few years.

    Eric Eales said...

    I have just spoken to Jim Armstrong, and here's some of his thoughts on the Championship.

    He felt he placed the broom accurately 90% of the time, and that ice-reading was a significant factor in Canada's success, perhaps 6 or 8% on their shooting.

    He said the ice was tricky, true for all teams, but that Canada adapted to it. And he also said Canada were patient, realising not every stone thrown had to be shot stone.

    He noted that they never gave up more than 2, and said their plan, keeping the centre open, worked well and he was surprised so few teams chose to challenge Canada in the four foot.

    He acknowledged that his own shooting was not as good as he had expected, and that when he struggled so did the team. (I think that is part of the downside to having a team not made up of peers.) Also winning tended to be about relief at not losing, rather than joy at succeeding.

    He said he is totally committed to seeing wheelchair curling grow, and looks forward to many years of involvement in the sport. He said he is still on a learning curve understanding how different wheelchair curling is to the regular game, and doesn't always appreciate how much he takes for granted that may be less obvious to those less experienced.

    I think he sees himself as both teacher and competitor and that can only bring good things to the program, especially if he can find a way to share his knowledge at venues like the forthcoming Nationals.

    Anonymous said...

    Jim is not only good but realistic. Can't wait to seehim with another few months of throwing under his belt.

    As has been mentioned before, he simply is good for the game.

    Anonymous said...

    Jim has definitely provided the missing piece to Team Canada's present and future success.

    Anonymous said...

    Just wondering if last year's Team Canada might have won, anyway....a lot of change for no improvement in shooting stats.

    Anonymous said...

    I read in an article on Jim Armstrong, that the CCA put NO pressure on him, or Team Canada for results this season, looking towards next year. Is this really true? A whack of dough has been spent to date, with realy very little to show.

    Anonymous said...

    Regarding this year's Team Canada v last year, I think the common players should be asked about the difference. Further, ALL stats were lower this year, suggesting that the ice/rocks were more difficult this year.

    Anonymous said...

    I would suggest that the stats say it was a tougher environment this year. Remeber, other teams have a year's maturity over last. The other reason is that skips may have unknowingly called a tougher game, with tougher shots.

    Anonymous said...

    Hello, Eric:

    Just got caught up on all the threads, so bear with me......

    I noticed in an earlier comment that you now have met Jim Armstrong, not alwayslyng, and feel that his priorities regarding the sport are in the right place, but may be a little short-sighted, with questionable value post 2010.

    it is apparent that Jim does try to deflect the camera from him to the overall sport, but, obviously is not possible alll the time due to the focus of the interview.

    I do think that Jim really works for the sport and its future, but I still sense some serious negativity surrounding him.

    What is your take? I know you see him as a positive on the short term, but what about the future, or will he be retiring post 2010?