#BetweenTheSheets: Welcome to Elimination Day
Can you live to see another day?
If you make it to Thursday at a world championship and you have not been eliminated, congratulations.
You have put together a stellar week of curling and this is where you want to be.
Unfortunately, as is usually the case, you work is far from over.
Surviving #MovingDay is great. Welcome to #EliminationDay!
There are 6 playoff spots on the line.
There are 6 Olympic tickets to claim.
And we enter Thursday play with 7...oh wait after the remarkable Sweden comeback vs. Canada Wednesday night, our 5 AND 6 loss teams are technically still in contention. 9 teams are still alive.
Welcome back to the bubble life Japan. Sorry we wrote you off so soon.
Of course 3 of these teams will not survive. Will any make it past #EliminationDay?
Here is where we stand entering Thursday draws:
Should Be In: USA
Closing In: #TeamVoldemort
Still Work To Do: Scotland
On The Bubble: Norway, Canada
Needs Help: Switzerland, Italy, Japan
Eliminated: Germany, Denmark, China, Korea, Netherlands
Moving Day held up its end of the bargain.
The big winners were USA. The defending Olympic champs went 2-0 and wrap up the RR against the three teams sitting at the bottom of the table.
Well, ok, the BIG winners were Sweden. Their epic comeback win over Canada, outscoring them 7-1 over the final 3 ends, secured their playoff spot and locked up the first ticket into the Olympic field (after hosts China of course). Congrats Sweden!
#TeamVoldemort also moved up with a big Wednesday afternoon win over Canada. They sit tied with Sweden atop the standings heading into Thursday. Who saw that coming?
With high's on the day also come the low's.
Canada suffered two heartbreaking losses and now sit with 4 losses and on the bubble. They hold down the final playoff spot entering #EliminationDay.
Norway also made a move on Wednesday but also in the wrong direction. They lost both of their games to go from atop the standings to clinging to one of the final playoff positions.
Who play one another tomorrow? Canada vs. Norway! Yikes!
The benefactor of a Sweden victory was Switzerland, Italy and Japan. All three remain alive. Italy and Switzerland even lost their games Wednesday night but still have hope.
Imagine a 7-6 record landing the final playoff spot and last direct entry ticket into the Olympics?
The blog preview mentioned in the past 6 losses was good enough for a playoff spot. It could happen again this year.
Oh Moving Day....you bring joy to some and heartbreak to others. Every. Single. Year.
A quick sidebar here folks. Remember, even those teams eliminated from playoff contention still have something to play for. The Olympic Qualification Event in December is scheduled but a host has not been determined and the running of the event will depend on the COVID situation for a host city and for travelling nations.
If the #OQE cannot take place for whatever reason, those nations who finish 7th through 9th (or 10th if China finishes 7th - 9th) may end up receiving an Olympic spot as well.
Yes this is a bit of a stretch and unknown right now but it is in the realm of possibility. So those teams at or near the bottom of the standings are fighting for a Top 9 finish.
Of course everyone would rather see the #OQE happen, namely because it would also hopefully be a signal we are getting back to "normal" by December this year. But, if not, the Olympic field would still need to be determined somehow.
The only metric to base qualification would be the completion of this world championship. Lots to play for still over these final two days for ALL the teams.
How did the #MovingDay results shake up the #TwineTime rankings mountain?
It's Time! It's Time! It's Power Rankings Time!!
Note in parenthesis is the team record and the ranking listed is their previous ranking from the Day 5 #PowerRankings blog post.
1. Sweden - Team Edin (9-2, #2): Well how else do you expect the two-time defending champions to lock up a playoff berth and Olympic spot than in truly epic style? Sweden's comeback over Canada Wednesday night was...jaw dropping. Canada controlled the entire game, looked set to pick up a huge W and Sweden turned it up the last 3 ends to "steal" the win. That is how you #DefendTheIce folks. Sweden hits the ice only once on Thursday to face Germany. A win should lock up a top two finish and a bye to the SF. Wow! Next Up: BYE, BYE, GER
2. #TeamVoldemort - Team Glukhov (8-2, #5): Voldemort magic continues. The extra end victory Wednesday afternoon over Canada was the first time a Russian team has defeated Canada at the world men's championship. #HIStory continues to be made. This team is also one win away from securing a playoff spot and a spot in the Winter Olympics. They have become the definition of #TeamUpset. The schedule is tough on Thursday, facing two contenders also looking to improve their playoff positioning. But we have second guessed this team from the beginning, maybe we should start getting on board. Next Up: NOR, SCO, BYE
3. USA - Team Shuster (7-3, #7): Speaking of winning...all they do is win, win, win, no matter what! Impressive Wednesday for Team Shuster. Two massive Ws over Norway and Scotland puts them in prime position for not only a playoff and Olympic spot but they have a legit shot at a top two RR finish and a SF bye. Lets be honest, we were not expecting this. Playoffs yes. Top two finish? Not so much. They have a winnable schedule to close out the RR too, facing all teams at the bottom of the table. Dangerous, dangerous under the radar championship threat now. Next Up: BYE, DEN, NED
4. Scotland - Team Mouat (8-3, #4): The teams above them stole all the attention on Wednesday for their winning ways. The teams below them received all the attention for the losing ways. And who was in the middle, flying under the radar and having nobody really talk about them? Yup, the Team Mouat mantra continues. They did what they needed to do on Wednesday. They went 1-1 and stayed in the same position they were in. Not moving up but, more importantly, not dropping down. They only have one game on Thursday, against #TeamVoldemort so they have a chance to make a move up the standings and bring a top contender back to the pack. Keep your eyes on this team folks. They are quietly navigating through the RR here. Do not forget about them. Next Up: BYE, #VOL, BYE
5. Norway - Team Walstad (7-3, #1): From first to fifth in a matter of 24hrs. Wednesday was exactly what Norway did not want to happen. They went 0-2 against fellow contenders. They draw two more contenders on Thursday. If they go 0-2 on #EliminationDay, it literally could become Elimination Day very quick. They end the RR on Friday against Scotland. This is not a schedule for the weak at heart. Going 0-3 might eliminate them. Going 1-2 MIGHT keep them alive due to their W over Switzerland. They can probably afford a slip up Thursday morning but they cannot afford the same Thursday night. Next Up: #VOL, BYE, CAN
6. Canada - Team Bottcher (7-4, #3): Speaking of Thursday night, that will be the next time Canada steps on the ice. And they are probably ready to get away from the arena for a majority of the day after how Wednesday played out. Going 0-2 against the top two teams in the standings is nothing to hang out head about. You played great both games. But, on the flip side, you played great both games and could have easily gone 2-0. The pressure on this team is going to be INTENSE for their remaining two games: Norway on Thursday, Germany on Friday. If they lose just one of those games, the Olympic spot is in jeopardy. You have to feel for this team. All those near misses at past Briers, they finally win one. They come to these championships looking to solidify an Olympic spot for their nation on home ice and are now in danger of letting that slip away. They need to regroup and regroup fast. A win on Thursday will be HUGE. Next Up: BYE, BYE, NOR
7. Switzerland - Team De Cruz (5-5, #6): Switzerland did themselves no favours Wednesday night losing on a last shot from Denmark. Had they won, they would be sitting in the final playoff spot tied with Canada at 4 losses and owning the TB due to defeating Canada earlier in the week. If they miss the playoffs, and the Olympic ticket, the loss to Denmark will be the one they look back and regret. Denmark outscored Switzerland 5-1 over the final 3 ends to "steal" the win. Even with all their struggles, 1 win in the last 6 games, they have to remain positive and know they are still in this. Sweden gave you a gift, take advantage of it as much as you can control. They end the RR with NED, KOR and CHN. Go 3-0 and cheer for your fellow Euro competitors Norway Thursday night and they might just "steal" the final Olympic ticket. Next Up: NED, BYE, KOR
8. Italy - Team Retornaz (5-6, #8): So Italy loses to Norway and Scotland on Wednesday and is STILL in 8th place and is STILL in contention for the final playoff spot. Wow! They should probably send a fine bottle of Italian wine to the Swedish players' hotel rooms. They are on the bubble, the VERY edge of the bubble. They cannot afford any more losses AND need lots of help. But anything can happen...remember #ExpectTheUnexpected. Here is the quirky thing though. Italy has the ENTIRE day off on Thursday. This is not a typo. Italy does not play another game until Friday, where they will play in the final two draws back-to-back. More than 24hrs off and then back-to-back games. The Italians go to bed Wednesday night still alive and could be eliminated when they go to bed Thursday night without even playing a game. Who made this schedule? They do wrap up the RR against NED and DEN so a 7-6 finish is possible. It just might not be enough...once again falling just short for Joel Retornaz. But lets worry about that Thursday night. Next Up: BYE, BYE, BYE
9. Japan - Team Matsumura (4-6, #12): The land of the rising sun indeed. Japan was given a second life Wednesday night with the Canada loss. This team looked left for dead 24hrs ago, sitting 2-6 and riding out the rest of their schedule. They went 2-0 on Wednesday, other results went their way and here they are back on the bubble. Amazing! Similar to Italy, they are on the very cusp of the bubble. They need to win out AND receive LOTS of help. They do have a W over Italy but not over Canada or Switzerland. Their current DSC is also the worst of the bunch. But if the right teams win and the right teams lose, they could sneak in. It is a very, very, very long shot mind you. What Japan can focus on is Thursday. They play both #PACC rivals. They have the chance to secure continental bragging rights with two wins and level their record to .500. Make the playoffs or not, winning both games tomorrow will be huge. They are making a push for a Top 9 finish. Next Up: KOR, CHN, BYE
10. Germany - Team Totzek (3-7, #9): Oh Germany, what happened today? The Germans came out a bit flat in their morning game against Netherlands and suffered a surprise loss. They did rebound nicely, stealing 5 points in the 9th end to close out the victory over Korea in their night cap. But the earlier loss probably cost them a Top 9 finish. And we know how important that is as mentioned above. They end the RR with China, Sweden and Canada. Can they be #TeamSpoiler against two powerhouse nations? Next Up: CHN, BYE, SWE
11. Denmark - Team Noergaard (3-7, #13): A mixed bag for Denmark on Wednesday. They struggled early in the day, taking a loss to Japan where they were completely outplayed the entire game. But they come out Wednesday evening and play spoiler to a Swiss team fighting for the final playoff spot. I like the resiliency of this team to quickly park a bad loss and rebound with a strong game against a contender. If only those hills and valleys would be less frequent this week. They have some momentum now though. They will look to play spoiler on Thursday against a red hot American squad. Next Up: BYE, USA, BYE
13. Netherlands - Team van Dorp (2-8, #14): Guess the time off in between games did prove to be beneficial for #TeamOranje. The Dutch hit the ice Wednesday morning, almost 24hrs after their last game Tuesday morning. But they came out on fire and picked up a solid victory over Euro rival Germany. They will try to play the ultimate spoiler on Thursday against Switzerland and USA before ending their RR on Friday vs. Italy. Next Up: SUI, BYE, USA
14. Korea - Team Jeong (2-8, #11): The young rookie team from Korea, who looked so good earlier in the week after that #HIStoric win over Canada, have fallen back to reality. It has been a tough go for the Korean boys since their win. They were outmatched in their lone game on Wednesday vs. Germany, running their losing streak to 3 games. Big game Thursday morning for #PACC bragging rights vs. Japan. They wrap up their RR with a Thursday night game vs. Switzerland and Friday afternoon vs. USA. Next Up: JPN, BYE, SUI