Coughs and hacks

CON GRIWKOWSKY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:04 AM ET

DRAYTON VALLEY -- Fending off the opposition in one of the toughest provincials ever is one thing.

Fighting off a violent flu bug is quite another.

Blake MacDonald was horizontal in his hotel room most of Tuesday. The only time he left was for the pre-event practice.

It was a similar bug that knocked out the Glenn Howard team at the BDO Classic in Winnipeg just over a week ago.

But this one came from a source closer to home.

"My daughter had it on Sunday night. I got it on Monday and puked all Monday night,'' said MacDonald. "I'm sure she got it from the dayhome."

The good news is that it seems the worst is behind MacDonald now.

"I'm feeling a thousand times better today,'' said MacDonald, who throws last rock for the world No. 6-ranked Kevin Koe-skipped rink. "I actually got 12 hours of sleep last night. I know my wife (Lawnie) got it this morning and she's at home with two little kids."

Still, there's some lingering effects.

"My own team has quarantined me to my own room," said MacDonald. "I'm not even allowed to be with them between games. Pretty much go back to my room."

Even though MacDonald got stronger in the team's opening game, they did lose 8-7 in an extra end to Wade White, who racked up his first-ever victory at provincials.

GUARDED ROCK

"I was glad I made that last shot," said White, who needed to tap-back his guarded rock for the win after giving up steals in nine and 10.

"I'd have been beaten up in the lockerroom if I'd missed it. That feels good. It takes a bit of pressure off."

ICE IS NICE: What a difference a day makes.

From 13-second straight ice, the surface at the Drayton Valley Omniplex is now running 14.5 seconds on all sheets and between a two-to-three foot swing, depending on the sheet.

Many of the players have approached event icemaker Tim Yeo to compliment him on the miraculous turnaround.

"Most of the players are pretty happy with what's going on," said Yeo. "We're pretty happy and we're still playing."

It's not exactly at the point where Yeo is completely happy, but considering the shape the surface was in when he arrived here Friday, it's come a long way.

ORIGINAL PLAN

The original plan was to have a maximum three inches of ice, including two inches of the underlying hockey ice.

In a communications mixup, the local crew added three inches to the hockey base.

"We've been really patient and we've put in a lot of hours," said Yeo.

"It's good, it'll be better in the late draw and by (today), we should have it all tweaked in."


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