Day off could help Martin rink

TERRY JONES, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:12 PM ET

LONDON, Ont. – Kevin Martin didn't know.

“We have the day off Friday?”

Yup. The 1-2 game is Friday night. The 3-4 game is Saturday afternoon.

“If we don't play until Saturday, that's good.

“I'm happy about that

“I'm real happy about that.”

It doesn't quite come under the heading of having an extra day to get Humpty Dumpty back together again. But it's an extra day to try get the Olympic gold medal winners back looking like the Olympic gold medal winners again. Especially Martin himself.

Anybody see this coming?

Who would have thought, when this bear of a Brier began that the Old Bear would end up in a bear trap and that his rival Glenn Howard of Ontario would be joining him in the 3-4 game while Brad Gushue of Newfoundland and Jeff Stoughton of Manitoba would play in the 1-2 game?

It was kind of like it was at the 2005 Roar of the Rings Olympic Trials in Halifax when most observers expected Martin and Randy Ferbey were expected to be in the final and neither even managed to make the playoffs. And, yes, it was Gushue and Stoughton in that final and Gushue went on and won Olympic gold in Torino.

At least Martin and Howard are in the playoffs hoping to do what Alberta's Kevin Koe did last year when he became the first team to win the Brier out of the 3-4 game since the Page playoff system came into play in 1995.

Martin admitted he and his team need the day to reboot their game get their heads screwed on straight again.

Heck, they had to do that to some extent between games Thursday.

“Somehow I needed to get it through my head and Johnny's too,” he said of third John Morris getting their games together.

Both struggled ever since the team's 30-game winning streak at the Brier was snapped.

Martin had to use his last rock to score a 6-5 win over Howard in the final game of the round robin game Thursday night which basically ended up as two teams playing for last rock advantage in the 3-4 playoff game.

The skip missed a few shots along the way and ended up shooting 78% for the game while John Morris finally got his game back together and threw 93%.

Martin made it quite clear coming here.

He had two goals.

One, he wanted to be 9-2.

It turned out he was 9-2. But that wasn't good enough to make it into the

1-2 game as Brad Gushue of

Newfoundland and Jeff Stoughton of Manitoba were also 9-2 and Martin lost his two games to those two teams.

The other goal, he said, was for all the members of his team to shoot 90%.

“I sure wasn't 90%,” said Martin.

For the round robin, he ended up fifth among skips with 80% for the round robin, with Morris third among thirds at 82%. His front end of lead Ben Hebert (92%) and Marc Kennedy (90%) both topped their positions. As a team, Alberta was fourth at 86%.

Martin also had to make his last shot to dispatch the Territories in a compelling afternoon game.

He made a spectacular run-back double take out to score two on the 10th end to finally dispatch Jamie Koe's Territories team.

“It was probably the only shot I made all game so it might as well be a good one,” said Martin when it was over.

Martin shot what was likely the lowest percentage game of his Brier career in which he went into this edition with an 82% statistical record.

Martin shot a career low 60% against the Territories with third John Morris not much better at 70% while even the front end dipped with Marc Kennedy at 80% and Ben Hebert at 85%.

They definitely need a mental health day.

“We'll just have a light skate,” said Martin of practice.

Follow me on Twitter.com/sunterryjones

terry.jones@sunmedia.ca


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