As the final day of round robin play is upon us, there is one thing for certain and it is Ontario having clinched the top seed and will be in the 1 vs. 2 playoff game on Saturday. Other than that there is lots of moving to be done, up and down the Brier standings.
Ontario’s Glenn Howard and his rink have been perfect so far this week and will have chance to do something they could not do at the Olympic Trials in 2009. That is beat Kevin Martin inside Rexall Place. Howard has been the best on the ice all week at 9-0 including a classic match against Brad Gushue on Thursday. Both skips went shot for shot until Ontario got the better of Newfoundland in the end.
The game Friday night between Martin and Howard could be big based on what happens in the first two draws of the day. In the morning draw, Alberta takes on Newfoundland and Labrador where Brad Gushue and his team will try to stop a two game slide. Those two losses happen to be against the top two teams this week in Ontario and Manitoba.
The Newfoundland skip has been arguably the best all week and brings back memories of his play at the 2005 Olympic Trials. He is tied with Glenn Howard at the skip position for percentages and Gushue will play a large role in how the playoffs will round out. Newfoundland will take on Quebec in the afternoon, depending on results may have to sit and watch where they will finish at this year's Tim Hortons Brier
The Manitoba champions dropped a game last night to Northern Ontario which means they need to win both games to get into the 1 vs. 2 game against Ontario. Their schedule is the easiest of any team in the playoff hunt as they take on the Territories in the morning and then British Columbia in the evening. I think they will win both games and set up a game against Glenn Howard Saturday night.
Meanwhile, all the talk was about Alberta’s chances to make the playoffs after starting 1-4. Two of the teams that can control that are Quebec and Northern Ontario, both of whom beat Martin in their games. Alberta has the toughest finish but is starting to look more like the team that won 2 Brier titles and the Olympics.
There is still a chance that Alberta could make the playoffs without a tiebreaker. For this to happen, Martin has to win his two games, while Quebec and Northern Ontario have to lose both of theirs for this to happen. This is very unlikely as Quebec has a tough battle with Newfoundland in the afternoon and then takes on Saskatchewan in the evening. Northern Ontario has an easier go of it with New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, who has just one win this week.
It will be an exciting final day, the organizers are excited that Martin and Team Alberta could make their game against Howard meaningful. This means a better chance of walk up ticket sales leading into the weekend.
It is that time of week for All Star picks to go in and this year I will have a vote. Some people look at the top percentages of the week and that would put British Columbia lead Aaron Watson in the discussion. His team has won only 1 game this week, the question I ask is can a 1 win lead be named an all star? Tweet me @Coleysnotes your opinions as votes will go in this evening.