No easy draw for Morris rink

ANGELA MACISAAC -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 7:33 AM ET

He's already played all the big dogs in the curling world this season.

So some might think John Morris will breeze through this weekend's Southern Alberta playdowns at North Hill Curling Club.

Except he doesn't.

"I'll be happy to get out of the C side," Morris said last night. "It's definitely going to be a battle. I know there are a lot of strong teams in the south that don't play a heck of a lot on tour but come to play on any given day."

Morris, third Kevin Koe, second Marc Kennedy and lead Paul Moffatt were given a bye to the southerns, due to their berth at the Canadian Olympic trials in Halifax last month.

The rink, which opens the southerns today at 10 a.m. against last-chance qualifier Ken Boulter from Hanna, is the only team to hit the Grand Slam events on the Ultima World Curling Tour.

That doesn't mean Morris feels any more important than the rest of the skips.

"No, we're not taking anyone lightly," the 27-year-old said. "We've had a team meeting to go over our game plan and talk about what to expect from the weekend.

"It's not the same kind of event as a slam or the trials but you still have to get motivated ... We gotta put our get-'er-done pants on and go out there and get 'er done."

The southerns hold three berths to the men's provincials in Edmonton, Feb. 8-12.

And nothing less than a trip to the Saville Centre will do. Frankly, there's been enough disappointment this season, after losing the trials semifinal 8-6 to Winnipeg's Jeff Stoughton.

But Morris showed he can rebound at the Slam's BDO Canadian Classic in Winnipeg earlier this month, where he made it to the final and lost 7-6 in 11 ends to Stoughton.

"You can't dwell," Morris said. "We prepared as well as we could for trials and only one of 10 teams was leaving happy. You can't dwell and sulk for the rest of the season because there's a lot of big events left.

"We had to get remotivated, refreshed and refocused and that's what we've done."


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