Martin chasing perfection

TERRY JONES -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 11:28 AM ET

GRAND FORKS, N.D. -- Nobody has ever done it before.

Nobody has ever swept their provincial playoffs, won every game at the Brier and then won them all at the World Curling Championships.

If it wasn't for Kevin Martin's horrid history when it comes to sealing the deal for Canada internationally, this would be building into a pretty good story.

Admittedly, it's a little ridiculous to be talking about going undefeated at a world championships after the opening weekend when their record is a mere 3-0 and they still have eight more games plus playoffs to go.

But maybe you've noticed. The skip who never wins for Canada has yet to lose en route to his first world championship in 11 years.

Martin is now 21-0 since he got going on this path, which has curling's all-time money winner wearing the Maple Leaf on his back for the first time since he came up heavy with his last rock in the gold medal game of the Salt Lake 2002 Olympic Winter Games.

"It's a good record so far, but our goal is to be 9-2 in the round-robin," Martin said after surviving a scare against Sweden to win 8-5 in an afternoon game here yesterday before beating Australia, coached by third John Morris's dad Earle, 9-3 in the nightcap.

"We'd be happy to go 10-0 and real happy to go 11-0, but that's not what we're after. Our goal is to get to the playoffs and go 2-0 in the playoffs. The playoffs is where you want to be undefeated."

PAIR OF OLYMPICS

Martin, in five previous occasions representing Canada internationally, of course, has never done that. He's been to a pair of Olympics, two world championships and a world junior without ever striking gold. His record in those events, including the three wins so far here, is 39-3 in the round-robins, 3-7 in the playoffs and 0-5 in final games.

Only three other rinks have ever managed to come close to running the table at both the Brier and the Worlds, much less the provincials. All have been from Alberta.

In 1959 Ron Northcott of Calgary was 10-0 at the Brier and 7-1 in winning the Worlds. In 1988 Pat Ryan's Edmonton Express, with Randy Ferbey at third, went through the Brier at 12-0 and won the first 10 games at the World Championships before losing the final. And in 2003 the Ferbey Four went 13-0 at the Brier and 10-1 to win the Worlds.

"It's nothing you think about," said Morris, who shot 99% while everyone around him was struggling in the first five ends against the Swedes.

Martin won all five games at the provincials, making one of the greatest shots in the history of curling, a triple takeout to score three, to beat four-time world champion Ferbey in the round robin, a last rock shot to beat him again in the 1-2 Page playoff game and finished up with yet another win over Ferbey in the final.

Wearing Alberta silks, Martin ran the table at the Brier, going 11-0 in the round-robin, winning the 1-2 game over Pat Simmons of Saskatchewan and beating defending Brier and world champion Glenn Howard in the final of one of the toughest rated fields in history.

Now he's one of only two unbeaten rinks out of the gate here.

"It would be a heck of a record, but there are some pretty good teams here and I think that would be pretty difficult," said lead Ben Hebert, who said the thought of going undefeated in all three events had never crossed his mind.

'NEVER BE BROKEN'

Second Marc Kennedy agreed it would be a heck of a record, all right. "It would be a record which would never be broken," he said.

"But after the way we played against Sweden, we should be wondering if we'll win another game, much less all of our other games," added the former Edmonton Huskies quarterback, who established a record for seconds by shooting 93% at the Brier.

"We were beatable today. I was awful," he said of his 85% effort in the afternoon game.

Morris, on the other hand, shot 99% in the game.

"It's like we told each other when we were down 3-1 against Sweden after the fifth-end break. 'Let's not worry about the outcome. Let's worry about the process,' " said Kennedy.

How many times has it happened that Canada has come to the worlds and rolled through the round robin with next to no problem and then swallowed the olive in the playoffs?

Do you really want to watch Kevin Martin go through this without losing a single game?

Wouldn't that just make the gorilla on his back grow and grow and grow as he proceeds toward the playoffs?


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