Martin pulls the parachute

TERRY JONES, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:42 AM ET

LONDON, Ont. – It was the eighth end.

Not the 9th. Not the 10th.

And Kevin Martin didn't throw his last rock!

He shook hands! Then and there.

Gave up. Folded his hand. Pulled the parachute.

Quit like he was Eddie “Spuds” MacKenzie of PEI losing 11-1 to Glenn Howard of Ontario after five ends to incur a $500-a-man fine earlier in the day.

“I had nothing,” said Martin. “Dead.

“I couldn't get a deuce. I had to get a deuce.

“The best it was going to be was 6-1.

“It's called 'Time to pull the Velcro'.”

Martin, because he shook hands prior to throwing his last rock of the end, went into the books as having suffered a 5-1 loss to Jeff Stoughton of Manitoba.

Stoughton, who hasn't made it to the 1-2 game since he won the Edmonton 1999 Brier, now proceeds to the final day of the round robin with an 8-1 record while Martin dropped back with Howard and Newfoundland's Brad Gushue at 7-2.

Stoughton plays Newfoundland in the morning and Quebec in the afternoon.

After taking turns with games against the Territories, Ontario and Alberta meet in the final draw, quite likely to decide who will play Manitoba in Friday's 1-2 game.

Maybe this is Kevin Koe's theory coming into play.

Koe, the defending Brier and world champion says, when it comes to Olympic gold medal champion Martin, the key to beating him is to get to him early in game and early in the week.

“They're certainly not the best losers out there,” said Koe.

“If you can get to them early, they're just not used to it.

“When things don't go well, they get on each other quite badly. You need to get to their confidence a little bit at the start,” he said.

Martin doesn't buy the Koe theory in terms of the overall events, but he said that's definitely a factor in games themselves.

“In the last half of games, that's true. If we get to the last half of games in control, we're usually going to be successful.”

Martin has been jumped on for a 4-0 and two 3-0 leads early.

He didn't win the draw to the button for the hammer in either of the losses after going 13-0 and having hammer in every game in his last Brier.

He couldn't recover from the 4-0 start out of the gate against Newfoundland's Brad Gushue. And Wednesday night he couldn't recover from the 3-0 start against Manitoba.

In both games, very much out of character, the 44-year-old skip missed game-turning shots early – in this case a flash on the third end which cost him two and the 3-0 lead against Stoughton.

Martin flashed on the third end.

“That was a big shot,” he said.

“I had to hit it an inch and I only hit an eighth of an inch.

“We're just missing a little bit,” said the Old Bear.

“I'm happy with the way I'm throwing. We're O.K.”

In this game, it's hard to make the case that it was all about Martin and his men who curled well enough (Ben Hebert 100%, Marc Kennedy 92% and Martin 85%) other than third John Morris who was a woeful 67%. As a team they shot 86%. Not awful.

But Manitoba wasn't missing anything.

Stoughton shot 100% at skip. But it was Jon Mead who was brilliant in registering 97% in the statistics as the team ended up at 97%.

It was in the sixth end when coach Jules Owchar, stopping in the media room for a Tim Hortons, made the observation.

“They're hot right now. Wait it out.”

Martin, obviously, gave up waiting.

“They were on fire,” he said.

“We had their front end in trouble. But the trouble was that Jon would come in and they weren't in trouble any more. Jon would clear it up and then Jeff wouldn't miss.

“What do you do. Good for him.”


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