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Monday, 27 August 2018

#PowerRankings W1

#BetweenTheSheets: The NEW Power Rankings
The #TwineTime system comes into play for the new rankings


Well then, welcome to the 2018/19 curling season rock heads and stoners. How about them rocks for opening weekend? We saw a few #TeamUpset results. We saw newly formed teams find success and struggles all in the same weekend, sometimes within the same day. And at the end of it all, we crowned a trio of champions to kick off the season.

So now the question is, how do these results affect the rankings? Well it is the perfect time to really put the #TwineTime proposed ranking and tour structure under the microscope and use real-time results to help formulate the new #PowerRankings.

Ready to see how it all plays out?

As mentioned, we saw three teams come out victorious over the weekend and start their season off in the best way possible. Lets take the always impressive and quick #GunnerRunback look at what went down on the ice this weekend:

  • At the #BadenMasters in Baden, Switzerland, a few familiar "Norden" rivals weaved their way through the RR and playoff bracket to once again meet face to face in a championship final. Norway's Thomas Ulsrud would get the better of the defending Baden Masters champion, and current world champion remember, Sweden's Niklas Edin in the final. Switzerland's Peter De Cruz and Norway's Steffen Walstad had strong showings picking up SF berths. It is worth noting this blog's team to watch for the season, Yannick Schwaller, did reach the QF. And we had a huge #TeamUpset result early with Germany's Klaudius Harsch also qualifying for the playoffs. And special props to Team Ulsrud, entering their 12th season together!
  • In Winnipeg, #TheIcebreaker saw a few familiar faces in the men's final. In fact we saw a repeat of last year's final with Braden Calvert squaring off against now Olympic champion John Shuster. As was the result last year so would be the result this year as Calvert is the first team this season to #DefendTheIce and repeat a win from a year ago defeating Shuster once more. The slightly altered Jason Gunnlaugson team and the #TeamUpset Sean Grassie team qualified for the SF. In an 8-team field only 4 teams reached the playoffs remember. Newly formed Team Dunstone and Team Muyres failed to advance due to the TB procedure as five teams finished the RR 2-2 with only 2 qualifier spots available, which went to Grassie and Calvert.
  • At #TheIcebreaker women's event, another familiar face from last year was back in the championship field and this time redemption was on her mind. Darcy Robertson, who lost last year's final to Kerri Einarson, would go one W better this year in knocking off Russia's Anna Sidorova to claim the title in an epic 2.5+ hour 8-end finale. In the 5-team playoff bracket, Allison Flaxey earned a direct spot in the SF (falling to Sidorova) while USA's Cory Christensen defeated the newly formed Tracy Fleury team in the QF. Christensen would go on to lose the SF to eventual champ Robertson.
Some very interesting results over the opening weekend. The early feel good story run from Germany's Harsch in Baden. The crazy multi-team TB in Winnipeg for the men, which saved defending champion Calvert from early elimination. The all-offence all-game women's final between Robertson and Sidorova. Opening weekend really did have something to offer for every type of curling fan.

So now lets see how these results play into the #TwineTime ranking format and help formulate the NEW #PowerRankings. To begin, the references used in this discussion go back to the format outlined in the season opening #RankingsRedux blog post. As mentioned in that post, we not only need to look at a new user friendly (athletes and fans) calculation formula for developing the rankings but also overhaul the tour structure itself. Lets break it down per event:

#BadenMasters

According to the #TwineTime tour structure, the Baden Masters event would be classified as a Tour 500 event. Under the Tour 500 rules, points would be awarded as follows: 500 (W), 300 (F), 180 (SF), 90 (QF) and 10 per RR W (to a max of 40 in a field of 24 teams or more). Here is the point distribution for this event:

Winner: Team Ulsrud - 500
Finalist: Team Edin - 300
SF: Team De Cruz, Team Walstad - 180
QF: Team Mouat, Team Harsch, Team Hess, Team Schwaller - 90
RR: Teams Lottenbach, van Dorp, Gempeler, Baumann - 20 each (2 wins)
RR: Teams Pfister, Wunderer, Sciboz, Schnider, Hoesli, Nyman - 10 each (1 win)

#TheIcebreaker

This event is a bit different as The Icebreaker would be classified as a Tour 250 event with a slightly lower point payout structure. For teams who fail to qualify but did pick up wins they would receive 5 points per W (to a max of 20 in a field of 24 teams or more). This event was also unique in awarding only 1 QF point value due to the 5-team playoff bracket for the women and a 4-team playoff bracket for the men. Here is the point distribution for this event:

Winners: Team Calvert, Team Robertson - 250
Finalists: Team Shuster, Team Sidorova - 150
SF: Team Gunnlaugson, Team Grassie, Team Flaxey, Team Christensen - 90
QF: Team Fleury - 45
RR: Teams Dunstone, Muyres, Dilello, Einarson - 10 each (2 wins)
RR: Teams Peterson, Chappellaz - 5 each (1 win)

Based on the formula and results above, here are the first #PowerRankings of the season:

MEN
  1. Team Ulsrud - 500
  2. Team Edin - 300
  3. Team Calvert - 250
  4. Team De Cruz - 180
  5. Team Walstad - 180
Hon. Mention: Team Shuster, Team Gunnlaugson, Team Grassie, Team Mouat, Team Harsch, Team Hess, Team Schwaller

WOMEN
  1. Team Robertson - 250
  2. Team Sidorova - 150
  3. Team Flaxey - 90
  4. Team Christensen - 90
  5. Team Fleury - 45
Hon. Mention: Team Einarson, Team Peterson, Team Chappellaz

The #PowerRankings speak based on on-ice results with a clear and precise formula. Ulsrud and Calvert both won events this weekend but Ulsrud won a higher level event and as such is rewarded with a higher ranking. Edin may have lost the championship final but, again, he played a higher classification event and is rewarded with a higher ranking than the Tour 250 winner Calvert.

Now if this was year two of this format, the numbers may change a bit based on the criteria where the points earned at this point last year would be removed from the teams total points and replaced with the points earned this year.

For example, lets use the #SwedishVikings points for clarity. Entering this weekend's event, Edin was listed on the rankings as having accumulated 496.98 points. For simplicity lets just say 500 as the new proposed #TwineTime system would not have these ridiculous decimal points. So Edin enters the weekend with 500 points. He is the defending Baden Masters champion, meaning he is trying to defend 500 points. Here is what the new formula would look like to determine Edin's points after this weekend:

500 (current points entering play) - 500 (points earned 1 year ago same week of season) + 300 (points earned this season) = 300 points

Overall Edin would actually lose 200 points because he failed to defend the points he won last season and he would now sit with a total rankings point base of 300. Got all that?

Lets use Kerri Einarson as another example. Einarson won #TheIcebreaker last season but with a different line-up. Her points for this season were adjusted under the 25-25-25-25 rule where each departing player from a now defunct team carries over 25% of the total points earned by the team. Going into the season, the new Einarson team is sitting at 194.286 ranking points. How would this weekend's results, failing to qualify as the defending champion for the skipper, affect the teams ranking points:

194.286 (current) - 62.5 (last year earned 250 divided by 4 for Einarson only allocation) - 22.5 (Birchard SF showing of 90 divided by 4 for team breakup) - 1.25 (Meilleur 1 W for 5 points divided by 4) + 10 (points earned this weekend) = 118.036

The new Team Einarson would take a huge hit for failing to replicate, at least, the strongest result from last season among the new team members. Under this new format and structure, teams have a great risk of being penalized for disbandment and failing to match or better the results of the strongest team member from one season ago. Which is fair. Why should a new team reap the benefits of points earned from old team members a year ago?

Think of the advantage for Team Einarson should they have won this past weekend. Rather than adding 10, they would have added the full 250 meaning their new point total could have been 358.036! What a total rankings point jump for them. See there is also a huge opportunity advantage for newly formed teams as well. They only eliminate 25% of each team members point total from a year ago but have the potential to win back way more with a strong result over the weekend. High risk, high reward?

This will get a lot more interesting week in and week out as more teams compete and we start seeing teams move up and down the mountain. For simplicity sake though, I must warn you all now I will not be omitting last years points and doing the breakdown similar to Team Einarson above. For this season, every team will start fresh and with hitting the reset button. There will be no point deductions based on last season results as each team begins the season with equal footing. Is that completely fair and accurate? No not really but this will truly determine the top team of the season based on on-ice results and not some weird and wacky dewey decimal system formula with a crazy strength of field multiplier and system fans, and many players, do not understand or enjoy.

#StayTuned for the updated #PowerRankings blog post every week following the weekend action and see how the new proposed #TwineTime system plays out.

This could get VERY interesting.....