Monday, January 13, 2014

Scotties Predictions- Heartbreaks and SweetHearts this Weekend

The stage has almost been set now for the 2014 Scotties Tournament of Hearts, only Quebec is still to be decided. I always feel for the Quebec teams leading into the Scotties has they have a week less to prepare and to recover from provincials and I wonder if some of their showings reflect a bit of burnout by week’s end at the Big Show. But we now know the majority of teams and one thing stands out; this is YOUNG field of teams. I put on Twitter that I don’t mind seeing these young players winning as long as it doesn’t mean I am getting old!

But for now we have a couple weeks until the Scotties begins and then 10 days of competition, also remembering that Sochi is going on at the same time, and all this can mean time for celebrating women’s curling! On the weekend Sportsnet aired Alberta, BC and Manitoba provincials plus updates and scores from ALL the other provinces. Thank you, thank you, thank you to those decision makers who made this possible! All this tv coverage showed that women’s curling is alive and well in Canada.

From Twitter, Facebook and texting it looked like women’s curling had people’s attention on the weekend, even more so than the men’s Skins Games on TSN (in my opinion). It also proved to me once again why we love the game of curling; when a berth at the Scotties makes me more excited and on the edge of my seat, than the men throwing a draw to the button shot for $37,000.00. When it came to the money you somehow knew they would both hit the button in some shape or form and that chances were high they were also somehow splitting the money under the table (or with bar tabs and bets!). But the history, provincial pride and emotion of a Scotties is so much more.

So as we continue celebrating women’s curling, I am putting it out there and making my Scotties predictions:

1.       A 6-5 record will make tiebreakers as the field is fairly even and anything looks possible. Expect tiebreakers and lots of them. I think many teams will still be alive come Wednesday night and moving day.

2.       Expect some upsets and close games but also expect a few blowout games when stress comes in and mistakes happen. I think we will see at least one team start out with a bang and then falter mid and end week and move out of the running.

3.       I think the week will be aggressive in general. Rocks in play, dynamic shots and will mean that sweeping will play a major factor in team successes. Figure out the ice fast!
As for standing (and where my money is):

Winner: Homan/Team Canada- Team Canada usually makes playoffs and this team is as strong, if not stronger, than last year. I think without the likes of Jennifer Jones and Kelly Scott not here this team will rise to the top.

Playoffs: Saskatchewan/Lawton, Alberta/Sweeting, Nova Scotia/Smith- This will be a good top 4, probably with Sweeting making it through to the final. Keeping in mind Alberta needs to pace themselves as this has been a long season for them

Tiebreakers: Manitoba/Carey, Ontario/Flaxley and New Brunswick/Crawford- I am always cheering for Carey in one way or another, watching their Manitoba final losses has been heartbreaking but I don’t know they have the nerves of steel in their rookie year at the Scotties. Scotties experience is a huge factor in success. Ontario and New Brunswick with have a strong, steady week.

Others: BC/van Osch, Yukon/Kolton, , Quebec, Nfld/Strong, PEI/Dowlan- I hate to make this type of category as I have always been placed down here and it sucks! And this year is even worse as we have relegation hovering over us but some teams needs to be out of the playoffs and I think these teams will be. PLEASE use this as motivation and prove me wrong, especially Kolton, I would love to see at least 4-5 wins out of this team!
So with that; best of luck to all the teams participating and for my curling friends who are either somewhat retired from the sport or lost out along the way… let’s have a glass of wine or a cold beer and continuing celebrating these players and the state of women’s curling. We have a lot to hold our head’s high over! And for those friends who suffered some bad losses, don't be shy and shed a tear or two into that drink and remembers as always... there is always next year!


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