Martin's outside looking in

CON GRIWKOWSKY -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 8:48 AM ET

There's only one prize that really matters to Kevin Martin.

Trouble is, eight of the 10 spots for the Olympic Trials have already been claimed and the window is quickly closing.

Martin, the leading money winner on the World Curling Tour and 2002 Olympic silver medallist, is still on the outside looking in.

He figures this Trials field is much weaker than it should be.

But he gets another chance to prove himself when the Strauss Canada Cup gets underway in Kamloops today.

"Any time you have teams outside the top 15 (WCT) world rankings, it lessens the event," said Martin.

Mark Dacey, Shawn Adams and B.C.'s Jay Peachey fall below that arbitrary top-15 line.

Martin has several ways to get to these Trials.

Finish third this week behind any of the six teams that have already qualified and he's in.

"We have to get to the semifinal to guarantee our spot," said Martin. "If we do get into the semis in Kamloops, then Glenn Howard can't catch us even if he wins the Players' Championship."

If Kerry Burtnyk, Mike Harris or Wayne Tuck finish top three ahead of Martin, the last spot goes to the Canadian Team Ranking System leader.

Plan B would be to qualify in the Players' Championship later this month in St. John's, Nfld.

But Martin's team needs to fight off some serious rust. They haven't played a competitive game since being eliminated at the northerns in Edson.

"There's some definite rust on our team," said Martin. "We've been out even longer than most teams. It doesn't take that long to cause rust."

Teams like Brier champ Randy Ferbey and Brad Gushue have just come off a competitive week.

"We've practised quite a bit," said Martin. "It's not the same as a game situation. Definitely Gushue and Ferbey have a great advantage, but that's OK. They can have first and second. As long as nobody else takes third."

EXTRA ENDS: In addition to the 2007 worlds, local organizers are taking a shot at hosting the 2009 Olympic Trials in Edmonton.


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