Sunday, November 29, 2009

SUI overwhelm NOR in final of Czech Open - Canada take bronze

Switzerland beat a full strength Canada 8-4 in the semi-final of the Czech Open in Prague today. They opened with a single point, scored facing four Canadian stones, then gave up 3 in the second. The game turned in the 3rd when Switzerland scored 5, and Canada were unable to recover, giving up a steal of 1 in the 4th to be down 7-3 at the break. Canada did have a chance for 3 in the 6th, but only scored 1 and the teams shook hands with Canada run out of rocks in the 7th. (The 5 ender was the costliest end of Armstrong's stewardship of the team.)

Canada         0 3 0 0 1 0 x x - 4
Switzerland*   1 0 5 1 0 1 x x - 8

In the other semi, Norway scored 4 in the final end for a come from behind victory over Sweden 8-6.

Norway    1 0 0 1 2 0 4 x - 8
Sweden*   0 0 5 0 0 1 0 x - 6

Switzerland, with the highly experienced Manfred Bollinger at skip, fielded a team with just one change from the squad that struggled at the 2009 Worlds. In the final they overwhelmed Norway 7-1, allowing the single point in the final end.

Norway            0 0 0 0 0 0 1 x - 1
Switzerland*      1 0 1 3 1 1 0 x - 7

Canada redeemed themselves with a 4-1 win over Sweden to take 3rd place.

Canada        0 0 0 1 2 1 0 X  4
Sweden        0 0 0 0 0 0 1 X  1

(Q) There were a lot of blank ends. Was that intentional, to keep things clean? Wendy Morgan - "It was the game plan based on ice conditions."
*Q) And how would you describe the ice conditions?
Wendy Morgan - "Previous games heavy and inconsistent - the final game sheet 4 was the best sheet we played on during the event - the 3 blank ends were the result of outstanding execution by both teams in a defensive style of play."

Morgan professed to being happy with the trip. "It was a terrific competition - we are very pleased with our results and moving forward to the new year."

That's understandable coach-speak, but the trip demonstrated that Canada can not expect to have things all their own way. They lost to Finland in a game that did not matter, and to Switzerland in a game that did. No cause for panic, and Jim Armstrong's play will doubtless improve as he continues his recovery from injury and is able to put in the ice-time to reach the standard Canada will need in Vancouver. But Sweden, Switzerland and Great Britain have all won international events this year. Norway's play is improving ("We don't want to peak too early," says coach Christensen.) USA have a big event skip, while Korea threaten to break the rocks with their hitting game.

It's going to be interesting in Vancouver.


Anonymous said...

I told you Jim was not a god, and I think Canada is totally beatable and teams are proving it.

In the last week, 2 no body teams have beat Canada

Japan, Finland and Swiss

Watch out Paralympics, Canada DOES NOT have a walk away!

Anonymous said...

I find it very funny, how now Canada has fallen just a little bit out of the GOD atmosphere they where built up to be that no body wants to write on the blog.

Anonymous said...

It seems that a previous poster may be correct.....CCA are putting the whip to Armstrong when he should be allowed to rehab and get over his unfortunate home issues....that said, Jim cannot have thrown many rocks so far, and everyone is expecting (and hoping!) that he will return to form shortly.

Anonymous said...

This is not true, Jim has thrown a ton of rocks.....everyday in fact.

Burn out, or lack of recovery time, or hey maybe he is just normal like the restof us!

Anonymous said...

Jim has not thrown that much. I used to see him virtually every day at RCC, but much more sporadic so far this season.

Anonymous said...

Jim is now ramping up his schedule. Look for an intersting run-up to March.

Anonymous said...

I don't think anyone was saying Canada would walk away with the Gold, but who else would you pick as the favourite? All teams BUT Canada have been training most of the summer, and certainly since September, while Jim never threw ANY rocks until they almost went on their first European jaunt. Look for considerble upside to Canada's improvement, whil no other team can lay claim to that.