March 4, 2012
Gushue not throwing in the towel yet
By Terry Jones, QMI Agency
SASKATOON — So what does Brad Gushue do?
“I probably should get drunk,” he said.
“No. I’m joking,” he laughed.
“Well, maybe have a couple.”
It was late afternoon Sunday and the Brier Patch would be open for hours yet for the nine-time representative of Newfoundland at the Brier who came here with nobody left from his 2006 Olympic gold medal-winning team and went 0-3 on opening weekend.
His long-time third Mark Nichols retired with his final game at the Brier last year. Russ Howard is up in the TSN booth. And Jamie Korab, when last seen, was coaching Heather Strong’s Newfoundland team at the Scotties in Red Deer.
With his third moving up from second and with two Brier rookies on the front end, his New Newfies (none of them are actually from Newfoundland) managed to go strike one, strike two, strike three for starters. That usually means you’re out whether it’s Brier or baseball.
It was definitely the sort of start to a Brier which could drive a guy to drink.
“Hopefully Lady Luck will stop being such a bitch,” he said.
Gushue is one of the few names in the 83rd Brier and there’s no shame in losing 6-5 to undefeated Glenn Howard of Ontario in an extra end as he did in the second draw here Sunday. But compound it with a 7-6 loss to Brad Jacobs on Northern Ontario for openers Saturday and follow it up with an 8-7 defeat against Rob Folwer of Manitoba Sunday morning and ...
Close but no cigar times three with eight games to go definitely puts you in deep doo do at the Brier.
“If it can go wrong, it’s going wrong,” said the skip who hasn’t played Murphy yet — Murphy not being any relation to the Murphy’s Law Murphy but Jamie Murphy of Nova Scotia who started the grand national rock concert with a 3-0 record.
“We had a horrible pick on the ninth end,” said Gushue of the loss to Howard, who ended up with a steal of two in that end to turn the game around.
“That shot. One shot this morning. One shot Saturday evening ...”
Gushue is only 31 but he’s been around the game long enough to know not to throw in the towel yet.
“Eventually it all evens out. We have to keep positive and keep plugging away.
“One Brier we made it to the finals after we started out at 1-3 and won eight in a row.
“We’ve done it before. We can do it again.”
Ah, yes, skipper. But you said “we.”
These guys haven’t done it before.
Ryan Fry, the former Manitoba curler, played second for Gushue at the 2009, 2010 and 2011 Briers. Adam Carey at second played for Prince Edward Island at the Canadian juniors for five years. And Geoff Walker, from Grande Prairie, Alberta skipped a team to the semifinal at the provincials in High River two years ago.
From lead to skip they are ranked ninth (82%), eighth (78%) third (85%) and fifth (79%).
“This is their first Brier, that’s something they are going through,” he said of Carey and Walker.
“Some handle that better than others.”
And some skips, he admits, handle that better than others.
“I’m trying to be as patient as I can be with them. And they’re trying to be as patient as they can be with themselves.
Missing Nichols may be part of it.
“Mark and I grew up together. Everything I learned he learned at the same time. There was no time when I had worry about when to be a teacher and when to be a teammate,” he said.
“They’ve never played before 10,000 people.”
Actually Gushue should maybe have seen this coming.
He got stuck with the toughest schedule for openers at this Brier.
“I actually didn’t even look at it until we got here. Looking back at the weekend, it wasn’t the schedule you want when you are coming here with some rookies.”
If you’re wondering, they play Alberta’s undefeated Kevin Koe Tuesday morning.
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