Fri Feb 3 2006
KAMLOOPS, B.C. — Yes, they know panic buttons are being pushed all over Canada.
Push away, say the Canadian Olympic curling teams. The real test is two weeks hence in Pinerolo, Italy, not the Canada Cup of Curling.
There certainly weren’t many positives to be gleaned from the performances of Calgary’s Shannon Kleibrink and Brad Gushue of St. John’s at the Interior Savings Centre; both were knocked out of playoff contention yesterday, and neither team looked particularly sharp.
But then again, say the skips, the focus is on Italy, not Kamloops.
“We’re going to be fine,” insisted Kleibrink, who gassed her last shot in the 10th end against Heather Strong of St. John’s and lost 6-5 to fall to 1-3, ruining her chance to defend the Canada Cup title she won a year ago — she, third Amy Nixon, second Glenys Bakker and lead Christine Keshen were closing out round-robin play late yesterday against Renee Sonnenberg of Grande Prairie, Alta. “People have to realize that we’re playing good teams. It’s not like we’re playing club teams here,” added Gushue, who along with third Mark Nichols, second Russ Howard (who calls the game) and lead Jamie Korab, was drilled 11-3 by Edmonton’s Mark Johnson to fall to 1-3. “We’re playing teams that easily could have won the Olympic Trials like we did. Having said that, I think as much as we’re trying to concentrate on this week, you’re still looking ahead.”
While Kleibrink and Gushue will have the weekend off, the chase for the $33,500 first-place cheques for the men’s and women’s champs is tightening, with only defending champion Kevin Martin of Edmonton and Glenn Howard of Coldwater, Ont., having clinched playoff spots with 4-0 records. They will finish first in their respective round-robin pools regardless of today’s final men’s draw.
– CanWest News Service
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