'Just not executing'

TED WYMAN -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 8:13 AM ET

PAISLEY, Scotland -- Team Canada has been almost as wildly inconsistent as the ice at the world women's curling championship.

"That's an understatement," offered Canadian lead Cathy Gauthier.

While all the talk the first two days of competition at the Lagoon Leisure Centre was about the melting, frosty, sometimes swingy, sometimes straight playing surface, Jennifer Jones and her Winnipeg teammates have quietly put together a rather uninspiring 4-2 record.

The Jones four have looked like world beaters at times and like they are in a world of hurt at others.

BAFFLED

One minute they are grinning broadly about their fine shooting, the next looking baffled as they try to figure out what's going wrong ... besides problems with the ice.

Even some of the victories -- the wins over Russia and Switzerland were true nail-biters -- Canada has had a tough time judging ice and weight and has seen more wrecks than Billy Joel's mechanic.

"There's no question this isn't the team that won the Canadians," said Gauthier. "We would have gone 2-9 at the Canadians if we played like we are playing here. This is not the team that's going to win unless we turn it around."

And lest ye be thinking the tricky ice is still to blame for Canada's sudden mediocrity, think again.

"No ... we're just not executing," added Canada third Cathy Overton-Clapham.

The numbers tell a lot of the story of Canada's inconsistency.

Since opening with two wins on Saturday, Jones and her teammates have been as unpredictable as lottery numbers.

Jones herself has seen some wild swings in performance, starting with a 27% effort against Scotland Sunday morning, getting better with a 70% showing against Russia Sunday night and topping out at 100% in an 11-1 win over China yesterday.

But the struggles returned last night when Canada most needed a strong performance. Jones shot just 46% and the rest of the team was not much better (65%). In a game against undefeated, but also inconsistent Anette Norberg of Sweden, Canada came out flat, fell behind 4-0 after two ends, never recovered and fell 10-5.

Canada now has to start worrying about making the playoffs, with tough games still to come against the 6-0 United States and 5-1 Norway. Crummy ice or not, this team needs to start stringing together some good games.

And they need to start beating some good teams. Their wins have come against non-contenders Russia and China and semi-contender Switzerland, while their two blowout losses have come against medal favourites Scotland and Sweden.

"I don't even think we can afford any more losses," said Overton-Clapham.

The only team that has shown any consistency so far has been the Americans, who are cruising in first place despite the conditions.

"Hmm, our secret? I think we've got the ice down now," American skip Cassie Johnson said. "We're relaxed and staying focused. I don't think we've had a really bad game so far. We have more confidence in our shots, and we can just play the shots that we like to play."

That's where the Americans have a leg up on the Canadians to this point.

Jones has not been able to play the shots she wants to play all the time, either because the ice conditions make her choose not to, or because she has simply not executed.

Nobody said it was going to be easy to win at the worlds, but Jones has to be wondering where the magic her team had at the Scott Tournament of Hearts in Newfoundland has gone.

And she has to be worrying just a wee bit about the possibility that her team won't be around come the weekend if the magic doesn't come back in a hurry.


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