If coming into the 2013 Tim Hortons Brier after the halfway point of round robin play someone told me Kevin Martin would be on the second page of the standings, I would have said you are crazy. It has been more a nightmare than anything else for the 2010 Olympic Champion.
After a Tuesday afternoon loss, Kevin Martin was asked about chances of making playoffs. He responded they were, “Dead!” This was referring to their chances of making the top four into the playoffs. It has been a week where Martin and his team don’t look in sync as they are not making shots when needed.
They will need some help from other teams and to run the table, including games against the two front runners in Brad Gushue and Martin’s arch rival Glenn Howard, to make the playoffs. This team looks defeated as Martin admitted taking no positives from the loss to New Brunswick. Until they are officially mathematically eliminated I won’t rule them out of this year’s Tim Hortons Brier.
The two teams atop the standings sit in good position heading to the second half or round robin. Glenn Howard and his Ontario rink got revenge for a loss to Jamie Koe and the Territories rink at last year’s championship.
“Jamie played awesome last year and got us,” said Howard about the 10-6 loss to Koe last year, “but we knew we would have to play well to beat them and after the start of that game I said uh oh, here we go again but fortunately we snuck that one out.”
Howard still has a battle with Kevin Martin in the final round robin draw Friday night and no matter the records when those two meet up, it will be an instant classic. Also adding to the tough task for Martin will be a game against Brad Gushue and his young rink that are brimming with confidence.
“Had to come to this point with no worse than probably 1 loss, worst case two losses.” Gushue said about the back loaded schedule they have to finish the round robin as they sit at 6-0.
Gushue also noted that Wednesday will be a big day as they will play Team Manitoba who are one game back. The matchup also sets up a rematch of the 2005 Olympic Trials final and more importantly pitting Mark Nichols against his old skip, Brad Gushue that he played for in 8 Briers.
It will be the marquee match Wednesday night and the start of a tough stretch for Newfoundland as they still have Ontario, Alberta, and Quebec to finish round robin. Stay tuned as there will be lots of storylines to finish this round robin at the 2013 Tim Hortons Brier.
Kevin Martin’s game against New Brunswick was the first time they started a game with the hammer. It is determined with draw to the button, closest earns last rock. In their 2009 Brier title run where they were undefeated, they started every game with the hammer.