Martin mired in second straight Brier slump

Alberta skip Kevin Martin (left) talks with New Brunswick skip James Grattan. (REUTERS)

Alberta skip Kevin Martin (left) talks with New Brunswick skip James Grattan. (REUTERS)

GEORGE KARRYS, Special to QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:05 PM ET

Guess what: This is actually the second straight Brier in which decorated Edmonton skip Kevin Martin, the defending Olympic champion, has struggled.

Two years ago in London, Ont., his Alberta squad looked vulnerable before the Brier began, after a so-so cashspiel season and a near-loss to Cheryl Bernard — a girl! — in a Skins Game semifinal.

Yours truly noted their shaky play on opening Brier weekend and declared the Old Bear was ready for a whipping. The only question was: Would any of his opponents step up and pull the trigger?

Those opponents tried, but Alberta dodged numerous bullets and went 9-2 before losing twice in the playoffs to finish fourth.

This year, things have gone quite a bit worse for Martin and Co., and for quite a few reasons.

First off, the entire team is struggling, not just the skipper.

The second reason is the new stones being trialed by the Canadian Curling Association; according to many players they’re unmatched and trick


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