Cathy G. victim of numbers

JIM BENDER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:45 AM ET

Something was missing while watching Manitoba's Jennifer Jones during her first three games of the Canadian Curling Trials in Edmonton on TSN.

Then it hit me: No Cathy G.

Cathy Gauthier had been offering her insight and bubbly personality ever since leaving the Jones team after helping her win the 2005 Canadian championship. After working the morning games for TSN, Gauthier became the on-ice reporter who was not afraid to ask competitors tough questions and wouldn't let them get away with "wrong side of the inch" answers.

But Gauthier is not in Edmonton and won't be at either the national Scotties Tournament of Hearts or the Brier this year.

"I got squeezed out," Gauthier said yesterday. "CTV, which oversees TSN, has the Olympics and that's going to cost them a lot of money so they were looking for cutbacks ... It's a bummer.

"I am still going to the Olympics, though. Right now, the only thing I have is the Olympics but just going to the Olympics will be a fabulous experience."

Curling legend Russ Howard took over from Gauthier on the morning draws and she has been replaced by a local CTV reporter in Edmonton.

"I just got caught in the numbers thing," said Gauthier, who works for the federal government full-time. "I am so sad ... The nice thing is, I've been getting e-mails from (TSN personalities) Linda (Moore) and Vic (Rauter). I don't get any from Moosie (Ray Turnbull) because he doesn't have a computer."

Gauthier hopes to be back on air after Turnbull retires at the end of this season, figuring that Howard is being groomed as his heir apparent.

Meanwhile, Gauthier was not impressed with her old team after the first three games.

"Even when (Jones) beat (B.C.'s) Kelly Scott (on Monday), it did not look pretty," she said.

ZONING OUT: A few years ago, I wrote that it was deplorable that any team could earn a provincial berth without winning a single game if it was the only one entered in a zone, and demanded that the MCA introduce a rule where a zone should have at least three teams entered or lose that berth. The MCA changed the rule to two teams or the zones would be combined, but that rule obviously didn't go far enough.

Because only two teams were left in one combined rural zone after one squad dropped out, both Morden's Chelsea Carey and Winkler's Kaileigh Strath earned provincial berths without winning a game -- but were asked to play each other anyway.

And because only three teams were entered in another combined zone, Brandon's Lisa Blixhavn and Liza Park earned two of the Hearts berths available. Yikes.

"I sure hate to see it," Blixhavn said of the lack of entries.

"This definitely needs to be discussed as an organization at the end of the season," admitted Curl Manitoba executive director Shane Ray.

No discussion is needed. If they can't get enough teams to enter the zones, reduce the number of teams going to the provincials accordingly.

BITERS: Because she will be five months pregnant next month, Blixhavn has added Kristy Jenion as her fifth at the Hearts. Jenion was available because her own team split up after the berth bonspiel ... Terry Ursel of Plumas was the last to earn a berth into the Hearts late Sunday ... David Hamblin of Morris nipped Thompson's Travis Graham 6-5 in an extra end in the final of a World/MCT stop in Dauphin on Monday. Hamblin won $8,000 while Graham got $5,000 ... ... The MCT's Thistle Integrity Stakes will be held at the Thistle Curling Club this weekend ... Once again, it is called the Canadian Curling Trials, anything else is just wrong.

jim.bender@sunmedia.ca


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