Stoughton set to face hostile crowd

TERRY JONES -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 12:18 PM ET

HALIFAX -- Jeff Stoughton knows who they'll be cheering for here today.

The other guys.

Atlantic Canada will be cheering for Brad Gushue's Newfoundland rink, with old man Russ Howard holding the broom.

"We've dealt with a hostile crowd before.''

A healthy percentage of the crowd from around the country which is here will be cheering for the Newfie rink he put down before this all began, with the quote which has been thrown back at him all week:

'NO CHANCE'

"He doesn't have a chance. Gushue has no chance,'' he said of the 25-year-old skip supposedly messing up the chemistry of the rink by adding Howard as a fifth man, then promoting him to skip throwing second stones.

"They had a fantastic week. Hats off to them,'' he said.

Stoughton watched the women's final, then headed out for dinner and went back to the hotel to watch a movie on television.

"Watching a movie gives me two hours not to think about anything,'' he said of being so close to being an Olympian.

"I know I'll toss and turn. And everybody our age has to get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom,'' said the 42-year-old.

Gushue laughed when told of that quote.

"I share a room with Russ and it seems like we're both getting up to go to the bathroom at the same time in the middle of the night.

"Maybe I have a 50-year-old prostate.''

Gushue knows the extent to which Newfoundland is cheering for him here.

"The phone has been ringing off the hook. We had to block all our calls to get some sleep.''

Stoughton is the veteran who says he'll be looking for one thing from his rink early.

"The thing I'll be looking for is for everybody to get their draw weight early,'' said the last Manitoba curler to win a Brier, that being the Last Shootout of the Century 1999 Brier in Edmonton.

CAPITAL OF CURLING

Newfoundland has only won one Brier. But Manitoba has always contended to be the capital of curling, and that's slipped some lately.

"Hopefully, we'll do it for Manitoba. It doesn't happen often that somebody from Winnipeg goes to the Olympics.''

Gushue, too, watched the women's final.

"That was pretty exciting,'' he said.

"Watching that last end, I thought, 'I'd love to be in that position.' I can't wait to be in that position. I'm ready to go out and play. We're all ready to play our game and take our chances.

"We probably won't play as defensive as the women did in the first four or five ends today.

"I'm nervous. I wouldn't be telling the truth if I said otherwise.''

Gushue said he only watched the final two ends of the semifinal win by Stoughton over Calgary's John Morris the night before.

"We were out at dinner and heard that the score was 6-1, so we weren't in any hurry to get back,'' he said.


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