Reading the title of this post I couldn’t help but think of that scene.
Anyway, the curling season is well underway. Last weekend saw several events scattered across Canada, with top teams from all over the world sprinkled throughout, while others opted to take the weekend off. This weekend, however, finds most of the top teams in the world at one of two events: the Point Optical Curling Classic (Men) in Saskatoon, and the Stockholm Ladies Curling Cup (Women…obviously) in Stockholm. Given these respective fields, I figured I’d take a shot at handicapping both events. Besides, I need more practice for the NerdCurl vs Twine-Time Challenge.
The Stockholm Ladies Curling Cup features 20 teams playing in 4 pools of 5 teams each, playing one another in round-robin format. The top 2 teams from each pool will advance to the playoffs, which will then follow a typical 8-4-2-1 quarterfinal-semifinal-final-winner format. For a full listing of pools and draws, check out the event website.
Action gets underway at 09:00 CET on Friday (02:00 AM CDT/03:00 EDT), and as usual you can follow the action via CurlingZone. The SLCC usually has webstreaming as well, and this year they are teaming up with WorldCurlingTV who will provide coverage of 7 games. There will be a featured game streamed with english commentary for round-robin draws 2-5, quarterfinals, semifinals, and the finals on Sunday. For a complete listing, check here. Most likely, you will find me over in the chat for these games, so pop in and say hi if you see me there.
Looking at the pools, things seem pretty evenly balanced. With Pool A I think there’s no doubt Muirhead will qualify. Feltscher would seem to be another obvious favorite, but my gut tells me they’re going to struggle this weekend. Coming off two disappointing outings in Canada and now playing in their native Sweden, I think Team Ahlmarks is going to be fired up to bounce back and make an impact. For Pool B I have no doubts that Paetz and Sigfridsson will make the cut. Onto Pool C, I think Jones is going to struggle (of note is that former Team Homan second Alison Kreviazuk is filling in for Dawn McEwen at lead), while on the other hand I anticipate a strong showing from Team Sidorova. Team Fleming has been playing well, and I think they will continue to do so here. Last but not least, I have a feeling that Homan will go 4-0 in Pool D, with Tirinzoni following behind to round out the qualifiers.
Qualifiers: Ahlmarks, Fleming, Homan, Muirhead, Paetz, Sidorova, Sigfridsson, Tirinzoni
Finals: Homan – Muirhead
The Point Optical Curling Classic features 26 teams playing in round-robin triple-knockout format. There will be 8 qualifiers (2 from the “A” event, 4 from the “B” event, and 2 from the “C” event), who will then face off in standard 8-4-2-1 quarterfinal-semifinal-final-winner format. A full list of all teams can be found here.
Play starts at 12:00 MT on Friday (1:00 CDT/2:00 EDT). Scores will be posted via CurlingZone. As far as I know, there is no streaming of the event. However, Team Laycock has been known to stream their games, and if they do they usually post the link on their Twitter. I’m also not sure if there will be any CurlingGeek coverage from the event either, but if there is they will post on their Twitter also.
I think Bottcher and Carruthers are definitely going to continue to play well at this event. Look for Edin to have his strongest playoff showing yet this season. I expect Epping to have another good showing as well. Jacobs will definitely be in the playoff mix, and Laycock playing on home ice is going to have that extra motivation. McEwen will almost certainly qualify, and I think Shuster will continue to step up their game and play even better than they did in Paradise. I don’t think Plys will qualify, but I do see them to have a much better showing than they did in Oakville.
Qualifiers: Bottcher, Carruthers, Edin, Epping, Jacobs, Laycock, McEwen, Shuster
Finals: McEwen – Laycock
Well, there you have it. After this weekend (well, including Monday in the case of the POCC) I think I’ll have a better idea if I have any talent when it comes to handicapping or if I need to figure out a way to weasel out of my wager with JCR.
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