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Manitoba Legend
Supreme Champion!

Registered: Jan 2009
Location: Hovel of Fame
Posts: 10514

Landscape of Womens Curling

This year has been a revelation to be sure!

In short, the super-fawns seem to have finally caught up to the monsters!

Teams like Schiedegger (particularly) have emerged unexpectedly, they look well-trained, well-coached and have quality shot-makers at all positions (kind of a key in the women's game)

Alison Flaxey team has taken their training seriously and appear capable of challenging almost anyone on the planet on any given day. That said, still a few strategy weaknesses and occasionally not playing to their strengths.

Kerri Einarson is playing regular on tour and has captured on major, been competitive in most - but returned to fawn/novice state in the last event, getting themselves whipped 'n bombed all over North Battleford. One other emerging rink in Manitoba is Shannon Birchard - may still be 2 or 3 years away from competing with the big girls on the national scene but quite capable of being a train robber in Manitoba. And don't forget veteran Cathy O - she's quite the revelation at 48 yrs of age. Could she press the trains in Manitoba? Who knows? She'd really savour that if she could pull it off!

Harrison's veteran fawn team seems to have replaced Jenn Hanna as a minor threat in Ontario - and lets not forget Sensational Sherry Middaugh is still around.

Lets not forget the double track threats in Northern Ontario - Tracy Fleury & Krista McCarville. Fleury plays the tour regularly and are in top shape - but lack at 3rd - just a bit average at 3rd w/ either Crystal Webster or Tracy's sister. Webster is a great team player and has command of all aspects of the game including being a decent strategist but she's just not there with the top thirds. If she was even up to the level of Lori Olson Johns, Fleury would present a real threat to win the STOH.

Brings us to the SUPER MONSTER SQUADS. Sweetings Suffragettes, Homan's Mean Girls and Jones' Enemies of the State.

Homan - the most highly trained, physical and youngest group are starting to fray slightly - expectations are so huge on this team - and when Rachel goes sour (even 65 to 75% sour) the team doesn't seem capable of winning vs. top flite teams.

Sweeting - other than a sluggish start this season (and whats wrong with that, you don't want to be peaking early anyways) she's been the most spectacular of all the monsters. When Val is on, she's really on. Unforutnately, same can be said when Val gets into a funk. Team is still solid - Ferguson appears in better shape than ever - and although I don't know why Brown dropped so much weight she appears fine and her percentages are almost always superior. Lori O is having a very good season - she's not a dominant 3rd like Miskew or Lawes but she's as consistent as they come.

Jones - the mercurial one is now showing signs of real deterioration in her game. The only thing I like is Jenn doesn't seem as frantic and invested in every shot like she used to. This weekend she seemed almost indifferent in bowing out to Schiedegger. I think I've put my finger on the Jones dilemma. Things go pretty much by the book for the first half of ends - then Jones goes hi-risk w/ either Lawes first or 2nd stone - if either don't get near perfect placement - Jones end rapidly unravels and the tide turns. This occurrence regularly repeats. Jones used to have the uncanny ability to routinely rescue such ends - not so much these days! She may also regret going to Vegas for the Konninnennal Cup, possibly tiring out her team on the eve of the Manitoba championships. What was earlier savoured as a nice pre-Manitoba Scotties tune-up might now have averse effects.

So now with the Rise of the Fawns the Big 3 Monsters have far more to worry about than themselves. About 10 teams capable of winning the STOH - however, if Homan ever gets her mojo back - she'll be tough to dislodge in either Ontario or the STOH.

Lets not forget our auto-berther, Chelsea Carey skipping Amy Nixon's Alberta team. Chelsea is the most up 'n down skip at the top levels; perhaps not as bad as the moody and dysfunctional Sidorova - but close! Chelsea hoping Amy doesn't make a last-minute move to replace her - but they've been as sloppy and dysfunctional as Sidorova this season. That said, all Chelsea has to do is get on a hot streak for 3 to 5 days at the STOH and she could easily end up in the playoff mix.

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Old Post 01-09-17 10:30AM
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curlerbroad
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Registered: Feb 2004
Location: Toronto
Posts: 1890

I was so impressed with Casey & her team. Not the least bit intimidated by Tirazoni and her super spare, I thought front end of Tirazoni seemed irritated with Cathy OC...Casey didn't panic or flounder at any time and her draw in the 8th was beautiful.

An example of a team that has a coach, no need for a psychologist if your skills are solid.

Perhaps Homan should take note....she better not book her ticket to,St. Catharines yet...a few teams in her way, same for Jones and Sweeting!

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Old Post 01-09-17 06:24PM
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Deliverer
Harvey Hacksmasher

Registered: Nov 2016
Location:
Posts: 30

Difficult to become too upset with an All-Star Third who's

curling at 87% in the championship game, eh? Far easier to get

upset with Tz who in the 4th end became totally unglued and

seemed incapable of making a strategic decision and was more

than reluctant to even call a time-out. The coach actually

made the decision which, incidentally, was identical to 'O's

original recommendation ! Ya don't win many championship

games with 58%.

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Old Post 01-10-17 11:15AM
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Manitoba Legend
Supreme Champion!

Registered: Jan 2009
Location: Hovel of Fame
Posts: 10514

quote:
Originally posted by curlerbroad
I was so impressed with Casey & her team. Not the least bit intimidated by Tirazoni and her super spare, I thought front end of Tirazoni seemed irritated with Cathy OC...Casey didn't panic or flounder at any time and her draw in the 8th was beautiful.

An example of a team that has a coach, no need for a psychologist if your skills are solid.

Perhaps Homan should take note....she better not book her ticket to,St. Catharines yet...a few teams in her way, same for Jones and Sweeting!



I still think the 3 Queenies of Canadian Curling are favoured to emerge from their respective provinces but I'd adjust their chances as follows from the beginning of this curling year:

Homan (Ontario) - at beginning of year 85%, now 70%
Jones (Manitoba) - at beginning of year 88%, now 75%
Sweeting (Alt.) - at beginning of year 77%, now 65%

Also think all 3 of the above teams may or may not disband shortly after this year's STOH - certainly after next year's Olympic Trials.

Not going out on a limb here - but I think the only way Jones, for instance keeps a curling after the next Olympics is if somehow, hope against hope - she wins another gold medal.

So even if the Jones dynasty is temporarily toppled by Einarson or anyone else this month in Winnipeg - she still has her Trials ticket - and you can be sure she'll make every attempt to re-adjust her game (something quite frankly she's not that good at) to defend her Olympic spot. Jones has had 3 goes at Olympics representation - her first couple verged on disasterous - her last attempt were nothing short of magical.

Homan - has 3 players who are still under 28 years of age - plus their wonderful 32 yr old lead in Weagle. Unless they are unfurling at the seams I can't see them disbanding until they've gone thru at least: A. This year's Ontario Scotties, B. This year's STOH & C. Next Year's Olympic Trials.

Sweeting - best team never to win a STOH. Val is fully capable of squashing any team in the world on any given day. She's also capable of turning in repulsive performances. So with her its "Which Val Shows UP?". No doubt she'll qualify for the next Trials if she hasn't already.

That said, its probably around a 10 (15% at the highest) that none of Sweeting, Homan & Jones fail to make their way to this year's scots. Won't change a thing for next year's Olympic Trials. Too much at stake - and lots of time for sagging squads to re-tool and re-build. Heck, Husky Harris even admitted that Val Sweeting had her total curling delivery re-built last summer and fall.

Changes which may be contemplated other than that - Homan and Jones getting qualified coaches, strategic changes by Jones and reversion to major hitting game by Homan.

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Old Post 01-10-17 11:48AM
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