King rink willing to take long road back to final

CON GRIWKOWSKY -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 1:13 PM ET

There's one good reason Jamie King doesn't mind taking the long, hard road back to the provincials.

His team needs the practise.

So, there they were, the crew that lost last year's nailbiting final to Randy Ferbey in Innisfail.

There they were, banging it out in their first start of the city men's playdowns at the Shamrock last night.

Now, if they'd only hand out an exemption to the provincial runners-up ...

"That would be great,'' said King, whose rink was blown out by Ferbey in the 2003 final. "I know there's two years we would have liked that. But the way we played at the start of this year, we don't deserve an exemption because we didn't play well at all.''

Three grand from three spiels ranks them well down the money list.

"It wasn't a stellar year in regards to money,'' said King. "We realize we're not going to get rich curling. We curled in nine spiels last year because we knew we had a shot at an Olympic Trials spot.

"We'll try it again in four years ... we might have some hair left.''

"All four of us were busy with work and family. Wade (second Johnstone) decided to have a baby on us.''

Johnstone, listening in, had a different view on that statement.

"It's more my wife's fault,'' joked Johnstone, whose wife Atina delivered the couple's first daughter, Chloe, eight weeks ago.

Even though the team put on a more credible showing in the 2005 final, a loss was still a loss.

"In 2003, you know you're in trouble when the bagpiper starts warming up for the closing ceremonies after the fifth end,'' said King. "Everybody says when you get blown out, you don't feel as bad. I felt just as bad. We played awesome last year, shot 90% as a team and still lost to a great team.''

Still, King had one faint hope clause for a free pass to this year's provincials.

"If Randy would have won at the (Olympic) trials, we would have got the bye,'' said King.

"We knew we were in trouble early on. Come Monday, they were talking about 2010 already. The spiel didn't end till Sunday.

"We were cheering for Randy and he let us down. But, I'm sure they weren't thinking too much about us.''

So, with not much luck in their shortened cashspiel schedule, the team had only one choice.

Hit the sheets and throw a ton of rocks.

"We've probably thrown more rocks in the last three weeks than we have in the last three months,'' said Blake MacDonald, who throws last rocks while King calls the game.

''Afterwards, people who don't know us say, 'geez that King's a jerk, banging his broom and carrying on all the time.' I like it like that.''

They've got their comedy act down just right.

If they're anywhere near as sharp on the ice, they'll be back at the provincials again.


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