Martin: You can't win every Brier

TERRY JONES, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:09 PM ET

LONDON, Ont. – Ben Hebert had changed into street clothes before Kevin Martin had left the interview area.

“You can't win every Brier boys,” he said as he attempted to leave the scene of the crime.

To Hebert, the John Labatt Centre should not have be surrounded with yellow police tape Saturday.

“We went undefeated in two Briers and won the Olympics,” said Hebert of Kevin Martin's Alberta team going 9-2 here and then losing a playoff game 5-4 to Glenn Howard of Ontario.

“We're spoiled,” he said.

Hebert said the result doesn't change who they are or what they are.

“I still believe we're the best team here and that we're the best four players here. But there wasn't a game during this Brier where one of us wasn't leaking oil.”

So file it under “stuff happens” and move on?

Not so fast said another member of the team which went 13-0 to win back-to-back Briers and then went undefeated to win gold at the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games.

Second Marc Kennedy thinks the team just had a big time learning experience.

“Maybe this will be good for this team. Maybe this team can learn from this. Maybe this will teach us that we need to learn how to play when everybody isn't playing well,” he said.

“Maybe we need an attitude adjustment.”

Martin's Olympians ran their record consecutive game winning streak to 30 games at this Brier in an attempt to win an unprecedented fifth title for the skip.

But as soon as they lost the first one, to Brad Gushue Monday, things started to come unglued.

Brooms started being banged on the ice. Curses were heard on TV mics. There was some internal friction which was very visible. And the body language was brutal on occasion.

Martin even quit with a rock unthrown on the eighth end of a game which went into the books as a 5-1 loss.

“It definitely wasn't our 'A' game all week,” said John Morris, who was third among thirds curling 82% during the round robin. While Morris threw a 93% game against Howard Thursday, he couldn't duplicate it Saturday. He was, for him, a woeful 81%, losing the battle at his position to Richard Hart who threw 95%.

Hebert lost the battle at lead 90% to Craig Saville's 93% while second Kennedy had a 93%-90% edge on Brent Laing at second and Martin shot 85% to Howard's 76%.

As a team Ontario out-shot Alberta 89% to 87%.

Martin came here wanting his team to shoot 90% for the Brier. They only hit that number twice all week.

When it was over, Martin and the entire team kept it classy and respectful to Howard and the team they'd beat seven straight times at the Brier as well as in the final of the Roar of the Rings Olympic Trials in Edmonton in 2009.

“That was a good game,” said Martin when he failed to make Howard throw his last rock on the final end to allow Ontario to score two and win 5-4.

“The crowd was awesome. We were in Glenn Howard's barn, but they were terrific,” he said of the 6,472 in the pews.

“You hate to lose. But what do you do? We were edged out by a better team today. That's OK. I'm OK. I'm fine. Glenn and I have come down to the last end so many times in the last 10 years. Glenn earned one for God's sake.”

Martin, suggested maybe you write it all down to the Olympic hangover.

“Ah, man, 2010 was so good that you don't even dream about it being that good. And we did well this year considering reducing our schedule and taking winter holidays and going to Hawaii and the like. We got to the Brier again and went 9-2,” said the skip who leaves here with a

105-33 all-time Brier win-

loss record.

“Now we'll finish up the schedule and go to Benny's wedding on May 5 and the focus forward,” he said qualifying for the Olympic Trials in Winnipeg in 2013.

“We didn't go hard this year. But we're going to come back and go hard the next two years to get to Sochi.”

Follow me on Twitter.com/sunterryjones

terry.jones@sunmedia.ca


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