Last Olympic run

CON GRIWKOWSKY -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 7:22 AM ET

Breaking up is hard to do.

So, when Kevin Martin decided a clean sweep was in order for his 2010 Olympics run, it proved to be a wrenching experience.

First, he had to think about his own future.

"For me, I'm definitely thinking this is my last chance at the Olympics," said Martin, the 2002 silver medallist at Salt Lake City.

"With family and business, you never know -- that could be it for my curling career.

"But with the way curling's growing, maybe not."

Since it could be his one last run, Martin got the difficult task out of the way first.

He's been through a lot of wars, won plenty of battles and has taken turns with Edmonton rival Randy Ferbey as the top-ranked team in the world.

"We had a tough meeting," said Martin, who broke the news to his team Monday night.

"It wasn't much fun. But what do you do?

"Our team was together a long, long time. It wasn't an easy thing to do."

It was no surprise lead Don Bartlett was retiring from the two-time Brier championship team.

It was expected third Don Walchuk would be released.

The biggest surprise was that second Carter Rycroft will no longer be with the team.

As expected, Martin will join forces with two-time world junior champ and two-time Ontario champ John Morris. The front end of lead Ben Hebert and second Marc Kennedy give Martin the complete lineup he was looking for.

AGE A FACTOR

"Age was definitely a factor," said Martin. "For myself, I definitely wanted a good strong-sweeping front end. I've definitely got a couple of strong young guys who could get right into our training program."

Kennedy, who's played second for Morris since he arrived in Alberta three years ago, works at Martin's shop in the Saville Centre.

Hebert played lead the last two years for Saskatchewan's Brier rep Pat Simmons and will be moving to Calgary.

Morris has always skipped, so it will be interesting to see how he handles playing a supporting role.

"That'll be a transition for him," said Martin.

"We'll have to wait and see how it all works out. He's won a fantastic amount of games at his age.

"This is another step for him. I know he'll go back to skipping at some point.

'HITTING THEIR PRIME'

"Both John and Marc are at an age where they'll just be hitting their prime in four years."

Changes, especially wholesale changes, take time to work themselves out.

One of the intangibles here is how a team half-based in Edmonton and half-based in Calgary can build off-ice chemistry.

On the other hand, there's enough natural talent on this team -- and available for other teams -- that this upcoming season could prove to be more than interesting.


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