Registered: Jan 2009
Location: Hovel of Fame
We can all play the prediction game every weekend with the cash events, provincial championships, nationals, worlds & this year, The Olympics.
For me the only thing that matters - THE BIG PREDICTION IF YOU WILL - is the Olympic Womens Final. At this point, and obviously I'm not going out on much of a limb - THE OLYMPIC FINAL WILL FEATURE:
RACHEL HOMAN (CANADA) VS. ALINA PAETZ (SWITZERLAND)
The bronze medal game should feature Scotland's Eve Muirhead vs. Sweden's Anna Hasselborg.
Note: that in this supposed final - both lady skips are the most known killers on the circuit. Homan - goes without saying. Her reputation precedes her. Paetz has a couple years of minor inconsistencies since taking the scalp of Jennifer Jones a few years back at worlds.
Now, it appears she's back in full force, taking names and in full Ladyhawke mode.
Muirhead is also a killer but doesn't have the Eve Army she needs to compete with Raytch & Paetz. Hasselborg might be the most talented team overall in this group - but her reputation as a non-killer prevents her from rising to pure greatness.
Paetz should get a stubborn test in the Swiss championships. While Silvana Tirinzoni is always a threat - the real threat is the other top swiss ladies team.
In Canada - the Olympic playdowns should almost book a berth in the finals for Homan - while letting the other teams vie for the designated opponent status. Jones & Sweeting bring the best teams (on paper) into the event other than Team Homan - but Jones has morphed into a wildly inconsistent performer who's increasingly leaning on the time clock, timeouts and redundant strategy discussions. Sweeting has more flow to her strategy than JJ - Val's main problem is still Val - who while still a top skip - stutters badly at the worst possible times.
In a Jones-Sweeting confrontation no leads are safe - lots of volatile lead changes, big ends, strategy goofs by Jones, missed line calls & frayed nerves by both teams. Sweeting's biggest advantage is maximizing use of her 3rd while Jones seems to minimize Kaitlyn Lawes - too often calling high degree of difficulty shots that when missed, compound the game. Sweeting puts herself into better positions with her last stones - using Lori O to clean out front rock problems, while Jones is usually left with longshot angle raises and in-offs. Lawes will still make 75 to 85% of her shots, game in and game out (which speaks to Kaitlyn's amazing skill as a 3rd player) but its those 15 to 20% shots missed that put Team Jones (and especially JJ) in major trouble.
Longshots in Canada would be Michelle Englot & Kelsey Rocque. . . . . Englot at 54 is a mighty mouse who uses sheer force of will to stay in games while who knows when Rocques' time has come. Can't forgot about the mercurial Chelsea Carey either, featuring Cathy O at 3rd. If nothing else Carey & O are inveterate ice-battlers who can damage all comers.
Englot is still the best story to watch in Canadian ladies curling. If she doesn't win the trials she has a real good chance of going back to the Scotties as Team Canada - assuming Homan makes her way to the actual Olympics.
So Englot would be Team Canada and her major challenges would come from a pool featuring: a wounded & petered out Jones, a defeated Sweeting, Rocque, Middaugh, Barb Spencer, Kerri Einarson, Chelsea Carey, etc.
I'm one of the good guys now!
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