DAUPHIN -- He is still smarting -- in more ways than one.
Portage la Prairie's Don Spriggs lost the 2000 Manitoba men's final to Charleswood's Jeff Stoughton, which is the closest he has come to earning a ticket to the Brier.
"The loss in 2000 was huge because that was our chance," Spriggs said after beating Valour Road's David Bohn to qualify for the Safeway Championship playoff round. "We can look back on those and say we had some opportunities and yeah, it hurts.
"I've been here enough times (19) that I should have won it by now."
Also hurting is a wonky knee that may force him to either retire or take a sabbatical.
"It hasn't affected (my game) all year and I was in big pain all year," he said. "After three or four games, in any 'spiel we made into the final -- which happened to be pretty well all of them -- we were playing three games the last day and it was pretty much all I could handle. But maybe that takes away from the negative thoughts and you focus more."
BLOODY NOSES: Valour Road's former champion Randy Dutiaume rebounded from his embarrassing loss to Beausejour's Reid Carruthers on A side to qualify through B.
"We were a little pissed off from getting our arse kicked by Carruthers," Dutiuame said after eliminating Swan River's former champ Brent Scales 9-2. "We don't play good until we get our noses bloodied and Carruthers did that to us (yesterday) morning. That was a bit of a wake-up call."
REVIVAL: Carruthers' second Justin Richter is enjoying a rejuvenated season. After parting with Mike McEwen midway through last year, Richter is right in the thick of the championship race.
"Last year was kind of a tough year but what are you going to do?" he said. "It just didn't work out for what we had set up. I've gotten along well with these guys so, it's a completely different situation this year."
Also different is trying to sweep for third Jason Gunnlaugson when he throws his high hard ones.
"We do it just for show," Richter joked. "(Lead) Tyler (Forrest) and I have been training for that all year. We said, 'Let's just run and see if we can keep up with these things. I think we're getting better though. We're starting to keep up with them a little better. But it's tough."
BITERS: Global TV will broadcast all three draws live today at 9 a.m., 2 and 7 p.m. ... The St. Vital Curling Club will host a Scotties sendoff for Jennifer Jones tonight at 7 p.m. Admission is free.