'Roar of the Rings' - Men's Draw 4

December 8, 2009

If things on the Women’s side has been a story of upsets, the Men’s side has been the exact opposite….with things sticking almost exactly to the expected script. Going into the evening draw, there seems to be a bit of a pack forming amongst the Top 5. Simmons still has a chance at (1-2), but has been a step behind the leaders all week. ‘Gunner’ and Middaugh are probably finished for all intents and purposes. There is more definition in the standings on the Men’s side, meaning that three losses probably won’t be good enough. They would need to jump a lot of teams, some that are two games up with 4 to go. If they are going to have ANY chance, they need to run the table here on out….and then pray for a lot of help.

 Glenn Howard....out front and eyeing that bye to the Finals

Men's Draw 4 - 8:00 PM

Ferbey (2-1) v. Gunnlaugson (0-3)
Ferbey has had the benefit of an ‘easy’ schedule this far, picking up wins over Simmons and Middaugh. He gets another break here facing the young 0-3 Gunnlaugson. Ferbey sits in a tie-break spot right now, but things get tougher down the stretch with games against Martin/Howard/Koe left. This is an important W for him to buffer against those matchups. He needs to go into that stretch at 3-1, not 2-2.

Gunnlaugson has impressed for his age, and has won over the crowd a bit. He’s certainly a fan favourite. However, after dropping to 0-3 this morning, his shot at the Olympics is probably over. His real target is the 2014 games, and by that time, he might return as a front-runner, rather than an underdog. He’s still a dangerous spoiler team, as Kevin Martin almost learned.

Stoughton (2-1) v. Martin (2-1)
This is clearly the biggest game of the draw, and probably the biggest game of the week so far. With that 4-way tie set up for 2nd through 5th, its very important to keep pace with the tiebreaker mark. However, one of these two teams will exit this game 2-2, probably needing to win three straight to make the playoffs.

Both of these teams really should be at 3-0, if it weren’t for last-shot mistakes by the skips. Stoughton botched his draw to the four-foot on Sunday against Howard, and Martin let at least an extra-end slip away against Simmons on Monday by flashing a hit. Those two losses are going to weigh very heavy all week, especially around the loser of this game.

For his part, Stoughton has the much easier schedule after this game, with Simmons/Gunnlaugson/Middaugh left. Win or lose, Stoughton could, borderline, should win his next 3. For that reason alone, barring upsets in those games, Stoughton is in a good position to finish 5-2 or 6-1…either of which would be good enough for a playoff berth.

After today, Martin has Ferbey/Koe/Howard left. Yikes. This is a big one for Kevin. He can’t go into that stretch at 2-2, needing all 3 to move on. Geez, he really needed that game against Simmons…

Middaugh (0-3) v. Koe (2-1)
Koe will look to rebound after dropping the morning game against Stoughton. He has a good chance here against a Middaugh team that is clearly struggling to put together a meaningful week. Koe has a stiff draw left after this in Howard/Martin/Ferbey, so this will be a big W for him. With the Stoughton/Martin game going on, he needs to keep pace with the winner, and take advantage of the chance to pull away from the loser.

Middaugh is now 5-16 all time at the Trials, according to the Curling News. About all you need to know right there. Middaugh has just looked out-classed all week, and is probably toast. If Koe can best him, it will just make it official.

Howard (3-0) v. Simmons (1-2)
After receiving a gift from Stoughton Sunday, Howard has rolled over Middaugh and Gunnlaugson on his way to a 3-0 start. Similar to Ferbey, the draw gets tougher as he goes on, with Koe/Ferbey/Martin after this. I’m sure he’d love to go into those final three matchups at 4-0, really only needing 1 of the 3 games to move on. However, I’m sure that he’s not just trying to scrape into the playoffs….the bye to the finals has to be pretty attractive. Howard is lucky in that he controls his destiny on that front. Run the round-robin and he can skip the semi-finals.

Simmons has struggled somewhat, despite being able to take down Martin on Monday. But that one was a bit of a gift, as Martin botched his last shot. Sitting at two losses, Simmons week isn’t over, but he sits a full game clear of tiebreakers right now, which I think will be a surprisingly difficult hill to climb…he needs at least THREE of Koe/Martin/Ferbey/Stougton to fall back to him. I expect at least two of those guys will stay ahead of Simmons.

But if Simmons can get past Howard, he has the two 0-3 teams up next, so he has a chance to rattle off 3-straight if he can just get the ball rolling. The problem is Howard represents a pretty big hurdle.


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This blog is the online chronicle of our adventures leading up to, and including, the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games. We hope to give you a little insight into what went into planning our trip and a first hand look at the Games from the ground in Vancouver.

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