Rough road to Olys

JIM BENDER -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 11:40 AM ET

The Manitoba native has won an unprecedented three straight Brier titles and four overall.

David Nedohin has also won three world crowns, including one in his own Winnipeg backyard back in 2003. Not to mention gobs of curling cash.

So, the only thing missing from his rather impressive resume is a trip to the Olympic Games.

"We have been pretty fortunate, there's no question," Nedohin said on the eve of today's $60,000 Skins Game against Manitoba's reigning national champion Jennifer Jones at the Keystone Centre in Brandon. "That would be the cherry on top of the sundae and, certainly, we believe in our group."

EXTRA ENERGY

To get there, his Alberta foursome headed by the cagey Randy Ferbey will have to win the Canadian Curling Trials in Halifax come December.

"I'm really anxious about it," Nedohin said. "The last couple were really big events but these trials seem to have an extra energy around them. It's just a massive event -- bigger than the Olympics even for curling.

"But it's going to be tough because any one of the 10 teams there honestly has a great chance to win it."

Ferbey and fellow Albertan Kevin Martin will be the co-favourites, with Manitoba's Jeff Stoughton and Ontario's Glenn Howard the top challengers.

SKINS CONFLICT: Ferbey, by the way, has been knocked for withdrawing from a World Curling Tour cashspiel in Vernon, B.C. this weekend after organizers marketed the event using the reigning world champs as the drawing card.

"We were entered originally but this was the only date that Sportsnet had available (for the Skins Game) so we withdrew in mid-summer," Nedohin explained. "That's a world-class bonspiel and Vernon is a fabulous spot. We will go back there again if we can.

"But the Skins Game is a great way to market the game and showcase our sponsors on TV."

Sportsnet will show the game at 7 p.m.

Stoughton, by the way, has replaced Ferbey in Vernon this weekend.

TRASH TALK: Jones recently played Stoughton in a Skins format to warm up for today's event and determine how the men's approach to the strategy differs from theirs.

"They hit a lot more but we all know that David can't hit so we should be OK," teased Team Canada third Cathy Overton-Clapham. "And Randy's lost weight and shaved his moustache so who knows what that will do to his game."

Nedohin laughed at the light-hearted banter.

"Here's a little story for you," he said. "(Team Canada second) Jill Officer called me and said, 'I'm worried that if you get pissed off by all this trash talk, you might beat us even worse.'

"It should be a fun atmosphere but, at the same time, there is $60,000 on the line and that's serious money. We're probably pretty capable going in. We have had a lot of Skins experience against the best -- the Martins and (Wayne) Middaughs -- and I don't know how much Skins experience they've had."

Not much.

The $10,000 junior Skins between Saskatchewan's Kyle George and N.B.'s Andrea Kelly goes at noon today.


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