Cup developing World flair

CON GRIWKOWSKY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:16 PM ET

Welcome to the International House of Curling.

For the main course, we have the seventh edition of the Continental Cup of Curling.

The World, having never led the event, tied it up last time out. North America has been the dominant power, but the World is closing the gap quickly.

In keeping with the spirit of the event, we bring you the first side dish, the Murdoch Experiment.

Scotland’s David Murdoch is from a strange land where bureaucratic fiat has already trumped the traditional method of team building. The days when a bunch of your buddies to toss a few rocks and see how far they can get are a distant memory.

Some of Murdoch’s team at the Vancouver Olympics have already excused themselves and he awaits direction from those who pay the bills as to who he will get to curl with next.

Now, the concept is being taken another step as Murdoch has been chosen to skip a EuroZone team.

From Switzerland, third Ralph Stockli and lead Simon Strubin. From Germany, second Andreas Lang.

“It’s the first time it’s ever where a curling event has taken place on such a big stage and you have four guys who have never curled together,” said Murdoch, “Well, the two Swiss have curled together.

It’s a challenge and we’re going to have to work with each other and develop a team pretty quick.”

Murdoch is confident the rapport and chemistry can come together. He’s been there, done that.

“The last few Olympics I’ve had different lineups,” said Murdoch.

“It’s always been four guys who want to win and who throw the rock really well. If you work real hard for your team, then you’ll get a confidence boost.

“The four of us get on well. If we can all help each other out and understand each other, we stand a chance.”

When you throw 2010 world champion Andrea Schopp of Germany into the mix, there’s no shortage of story angles.

OTT LOVE: Switzerland’s Mirjam Ott arrived here as the No. 2-ranked team on the World Curling Tour money list.

“We’ve had a really good season,” said Ott, a two-time winner in the Continental Cup. “Right now, we had very good bonspiels in Europe and that helped us. It’s an extremely extraordinary season for us. We’re so surprised.”

HOT LAWES: Two-time Canadian junior champ Kaitlyn Lawes has ended up throwing third rocks for the No. 1 women’s world team skipped by 2010 Scotties champ Jennifer Jones.

Lawes joined the team after spending her first year at the women’s level with Edmonton Cathy King.

“I’ve played in nothing like this before,” said Lawes. “It’s pretty neat. I’m pretty excited to see how things turn out this weekend.”

SILVER BELLE: Olympic silver medallist Cheryl Bernard’s foursome has a busy three weeks coming up.

After the Continental Cup, the team heads for Ontario where they’ll play in the TSN Skins Game.

The following week, they’ll be in Camrose for the Alberta Scotties.

“It’s been a season of new things,” said Bernard. “After playing for so long, you’d think you’ve seen it all. It’s a year to just enjoy our successes from last year.”

So far, the team has tried to find its legs on the World Curling Tour.

“We had a lot of burnout from last year and just starting to feel ourselves again now, somewhat human.”


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