One of the more interesting storylines this week at the 2012 Canada Cup of Curling in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, is who is playing in the lead position for the defending world champion, Jeff Stoughton of Winnipeg.
Stoughton's lead is Olympic gold medallist Mark Nichols and has been added to the Stoughton squad for his exceptional big game experience.
Nichols played third for Brad Gushue's team that won the gold medal for Canada at the 2006 Olympic Winter Games in Torino. The native of Labrador City, Newfoundland took a year off from curling last season and has returned to the game in a new position.
The transition to date has been flawless. Nichols shot a leading 91% at the lead position during the Canada Cup round robin.
The decision by Stoughton to let his long time lead Steve Gould go was surprising because the team had won a World Curling Championship in 2011 in Regina, and Gould is considered one of the best curlers at accomplishing the tick. But if Stoughton defeats Ontario's Glenn Howard in the Canada Cup of Curling gold medal game tomorrow, he should not be questioned.
Stoughton's team would become the third Canadian curling team to qualify for the 2013 Canadian Olympic Curling Trials in Winnipeg and be one step closer to the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi.