Can you believe we are already at the Thanksgiving long weekend? Ok for those outside of Canada, this weekend is our Thanksgiving holiday (Monday October 12 to be exact). Time is flying just as fast as a Jason Gunnlaugson take out. Seriously, YouTube Gunner and just see how fast he can shoot a rock down the ice. Gunner is not just a play on his last name, his take out throws are literally like a bullet shooting from the barrel of a gun.
Last week saw many of the top men's and women's teams take some time off to refresh heading into this weekend's action. Don't let that fool you into thinking there was not some outstanding curling happening. Let's take a #GunnerRunback look into last week's action:
In Basel, Switzerland, Canada's Brad Gushue continued his red hot streak to the season, defeating a strong international field en route to the Swiss Cup Basel. With the likes of Ulsrud, Murdoch, Kauste, Brewster competing, who did Gushue beat in the final? The always dangerous Dutch team of Jaap van Dorp. Go back to my preview last week though and see why I named him a dark horse. This Dutch team is turning heads in European curling...and #TwineTime told you it would happen!
At the Prestige Hotels & Resorts Curling Classic in Vernon, B.C. we saw the return of two-time defending Brier champs Team Simmons on the ice for the first time this season and what a debut as they took home the championship, defeating in the final another team on a streak this season, B.C.'s own Dean Joanisse. On the women's side, the newly formed line up for Saskatchewan's Stef Lawton seems to be clicking as they defeated the former Heather Nedohin (now Chelsea Carey led) team in the final.
The Avonair Cash Spiel in Edmonton brought an Asian domination on both the men's and women's draws. On the men's side, Korea's Soo-Hyuk Kim defended his 2014 title besting Robert Collins in the final. For the women, an all-Asia final saw China's Jie Mei defeat Japan's Rina Ida for the title.
On the east coast in New Glasgow, N.S., Suzanne Birt celebrated her birthday weekend with an undefeated weekend, defeating Colleen Pinkney in the final. While on the men's side, Jamie Murphy defeated Shawn Adams to win the Sobey's Classic.
The #TwineTime predictions for last week came in hot once again I would say. Gushue claiming the win in Basel maybe was predictable, but calling van Dorp and Sterjne as qualifiers proved to be solid picks. Edmonton proved to be a success with Kim winning the men's side and Ida making the final. Similar success in New Glasgow with Birt claiming victory and Adams making the final. I may have come up short in my prediction's in Vernon but accurately calling 7 of the 8 qualifiers on the women's draw is not too shabby.
With most of the top teams in last week's #PowerRankings taking the week off, we should see little change in this week's updated rankings.
- Brad Gushue (LW: 1)
- Mike McEwen (2)
- Brad Jacobs (3)
- Kevin Koe (4)
- Glenn Howard (5)
Hon. Mention: Team Carruthers, Team Laycock, Team Edin, Team Simmons
- Gushue went across the pond and took care of business picking up another title. He cements himself into that top position. It looks like he is there to stay for awhile.
- The remaining Top 5 teams took the week off. With the inactivity of the honourable mention crews as well, little justification could be made for any movement.
- Team Simmons did crack the honourable mention list this week. In their first event of the season they come through with a championship. The ranking committee, #TwineTime, cannot ignore the strong season debut. They may be hard pressed to stay there though given the light tour schedule they have planned.
- Rachel Homan (LW: 1)
- Eve Muirhead (2)
- Alina Paetz (3)
- Jennifer Jones (4)
- Silvana Tirinzoni (5)
Hon. Mention: Team Sweeting, Team Kim, Team Sigfirdsson, Team Lawton
- The Top 5 all stay the same, given their inactivity over the past weekend.
- Stef Lawton's Saskatchewan team moves into honourable mention consideration with their win in Vernon. They survived a high quality field, including knocking off Chelsea Carey in the final RR game and in the championship.
Disagree with the #TwineTime men's power rankings? There is still time to cast your vote for the team you think should be ranked at the top of the list. Voting is open and can be found on the blog home page. Heading into Week 8, it appears we have a close 2-team race at the top of the fan vote between Brad Gushue and Mike McEwen, with Goo receiving 42% of the vote followed by #redpants 28%. Add your vote today!
Week 8 brings a few major events to the table on both the men's and women's tours. While you are sitting down to enjoy some turkey, stuffing and pie with your family, give thanks to the outstanding curling going on across the country....and to the many athletes you cheer and support on a weekly basis who are unable to enjoy the holiday with their loved one's. Throw some support their way and maybe take the family out to the curling club if you live in one of the host cities for this weekend's spiels. Cheer on the teams, maybe buy them a coffee or beverage of choice and give thanks to them for entertaining us all season.
Let's head into tour life predictions for 4 men's and women's events:
Championship: Team Laycock over Team Koe
Championship: Team McEwen over Team Jacobs
What 2 Watch 4 (W2W4): This is a great opportunity for many American curling teams to gain valuable points with the absence of top teams Shuster, Clark, Brown and Plys. The draw is scattered with a good mix of experienced veterans and young and upcoming teams. For those following the growth of the sport in the US, this is a great event to start seeing who could challenge for a US title and, ultimately, perhaps begin gaining ground and confidence towards the Olympic qualification process.
Championship: Team K. Dropkin over Team McCormick
Championship: Team MacDougall over Team O'Leary
Championship: Team Homan over Team Sweeting
Championship: Team Muirhead over Team Sigfridsson
Championship: Team Sinclair over Team Roth
Championship: Team Tatlock over Team Jones
#TwineTime will be up in Edmonton celebrating the wedding of a great friend this weekend. In fact, the wedding of a great friend who helped guide and support me towards starting this blog over a year ago (#ThanksMel). If I get the opportunity, I plan on checking out the Direct Horizontal Drilling Fall Classic as well and see some great curling action live and in person. You may want to jump over to CurlingGeek on Friday and check out some live coverage of a few draws. Also a great opportunity to talk curling with myself and other fans.
As this is the time of year to give thanks, I would like to do so. I would like to thank each and every one of you who takes the time to read this blog. When I started the #TwineTime blog over a year ago, I never thought people would actually read it and follow along. I started the blog because of my passion for sports, one of which being curling. To discover over the past year curling fans around the world have shared my joy for the sport by reading along is overwhelming.
I am thankful to CurlingZone for placing my curling blog posts on their website. I am thankful to SparkSports for picking up the blog posts and helping grow the sport to other sports-minded individuals around the world. I am extremely thankful for the curling athletes themselves who have reached out and tweeted or retweeted my posts and offered words of support. I never thought the athletes I watch and blog about would turn around and be supporters and fans as well. It is truly humbling, overwhelming and exciting.
Let's continue this ride for as long as possible.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!