CAMROSE, ALTA. - The day before he came here, Kevin Martin said ‘No way!’
Sunday, after he flushed the week away, he admitted it.
“There’s complacency that has set in on the old Martin team that we have to deal with, I think,” he said.
“I’ve got to deal with it. The whole team. We have to deal with falling into complacency.”
Back on Tuesday Martin laughed off the idea other Alberta teams were headed to Alberta’s Boston Pizza Cup with hope that the Old Bear had decided to go into hibernation for the next two years.
The theory was that he’d accomplished his goal of being the first team to qualify for the Roar of the Rings Olympic Trials two full years before the event in Winnipeg.
Martin put down the idea his Olympic gold medal winning team hadn’t won a thing since.
Well, a team which hadn’t lost a game at the provincial playoffs in five years of getting to the Brier, lost three here this year.
Two of them were to Brock Virtue’s team of 20-something curlers from Calgary, including the Sunday morning semifinal, 8-7, in which Martin curled 73%, third John Morris 81%.
“I guess you can’t have all these years of being really good without having a dip. We really put our sights on the Canada Cup and we cleaned up there,” said Martin of the success in winning the early-bird qualifying spot for the Olympic trials.
“I think we thought our job was sort of done after the Canada Cup. But we can’t be like that. Everybody is too good now. You have come to play every day and I think we’ve sort of not done that. Especially this week. We were just not ready to play like we were at the Canada Cup.”
It was a rematch against the ‘Next Ones’ who scored a stunning 7-4 win in the B final over Martin after being spanked by the legendary Edmonton Saville Centre team 8-2 in the A Event semifinal.
Martin played poorly in having a 22-game Boston Pizza Cup provincial playoff winning streak snapped by Kevin Koe on Thursday in the A final. He played his most miserable game of all in losing to Virtue in the B final. And after looking like his old self and playing well in winning two on Saturday, ‘Bad Kevin’ returned for the first four ends in the Sunday semi, curling 56% before ‘Sort Of Good Kevin’ returned.
Martin tried to force the 25-year-old Virtue into trouble early and had a chance for a steal of two. But the 45-year-old missed an in-off to leave Virtue an angle-raise for two.
“We didn’t do well at almost anything,” said 11-time provincial champion Martin
“I think with our communication we were lacking. We overswept a couple badly. We had a lot of misses.
“It wasn’t very good. All aspects. It was all bad.” Martin put himself in deep do-do when he missed both of his shots on the fourth end to give Virtue a steal of two and a 5-1 lead.
Martin battled back to tie it up 7-7 after nine, but failed on another in-off on his final shot, leaving Virtue’s last rock unthrown.
“We finally had them on the ropes, but we couldn’t finish them off,” said Kennedy. “I’d have loved to see him have to throw the last one. He was shaking in his boots there.”
Kennedy said there was a lot in play here this week.
“We had so many slow starts. You don’t give a young team breaks early like we gave them. We could feel their nerves out there. But then they build some confidence and ... Hey, they played great,” he said.
“We had a bad week,” said Hebert.
“Every team has a bad week. Koe hasn’t had a good week all year until this week. When you win 30 in a row like we did at the Brier, there’s a little luck involved. Our problem is that we’re so spoiled by our success it’s ridiculous.”
Morris said the team is going to have to sit down and do some analysis of where they are at and where they are going from here.
Obviously they want to be playing well for the Olympic Trials. But there’s also the 2013 Edmonton Brier and Martin still needs a fifth Brier title to set the record for most by a last-rock-throwing skip. He’s also seven wins short of equalling Russ Howard’s record of 113 Brier games won.
“We’re going to have to re-evaluate,” said Morris.
“All four of us weren’t firing at the same time all week. When we’re going good, we’re all curling in the 90% range. We weren’t there this week.
“And we have to recognize that there are a lot of young guys coming on the scene now like Virtue’s team. The young guys are getting stronger and stronger. We can’t be giving them an inch. We gave them a couple of inches.”
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