Canada stays perfect at worlds
By KIRK PENTON, QMI Agency
|Canada's skip Jeff Stoughton keeps his eye on the line of his shot as team mate Reid Carruthers sweeps during play against Germany at the World Men's Curling Championships in Regina Saskatchewan April 3, 2011. (REUTERS/Andy Clark)
REGINA -- Tiger Woods does it often.
Jeff Stoughton says he could never do it.
No, not that. We're talking about a significant technique change when you're at your sport's highest level.
Reid Carruthers has not only completely altered his curling delivery in the last 10 months following knee surgery, but he's the top second through two days of the world men's curling championship at Brandt Centre, tossing the rock at an 88% clip.
The 26-year-old substitute teacher from Winnipeg shot 90% in Canada's 7-4 triumph over Germany's Andy Kapp on Sunday afternoon that ran the host nation's record to 3-0.
Carruthers was forced to go from a tuck delivery to a flat-footed one after surgery last May on a torn left meniscus. It may sound like a simple transition, but it's not.
"It's huge," said Stoughton, the Canadian skip. "I couldn't do it. I couldn't go from a tuck to a flat. But he's a young guy. He's got so much natural talent as a curler that he adapted to it right away."
Carruthers basically freaked out when he was sitting in his physiotherapists's office last summer and realized he could no longer tuck.
"It was (physically) possible, but it felt like there was a knife in my knee," Carruthers said. "It was a really awful bone-on-bone feeling."
Carruthers was literally doing one-legged squats while telling his physiotherapist he didn't know what he was going to do about his delivery. His physiotherapist told him to go flat-foot.
"I said, yeah, easy for you to say. You don't curl," Carruthers said.
His physiotherapist then asked him what he thought the one-legged squats he was doing at that very moment were.
"I said well, I'm guess I'm throwing flat foot," Carruthers said with a chuckle.
It wasn't pretty in the beginning, as Carruthers still had to build up the muscles around his knee. He wasn't exactly blasting out of the hack, and Stoughton said his peel weight was closer to bumper speed.
"We were laughing about that," Stoughton said. "It took a little time to get some good rhythm for him, but hats off to him for working so hard at it.
"You could compare it to a guy switching up his whole golf swing, which guys do, but sometimes it takes a little while."
Carruthers entrusted Winnipeg curling supplies magnate Arnold Asham to make him a full, thick slider that makes it impossible for him to tuck. He also switched from a broom to a crutch on which to balance.
"The crutch has been incredible, because now I'm able to put just a little bit of weight onto the broom and that takes a little bit of pressure off the knee," he said.
When you're not thinking about the knee, you're concentrating on the shot. And when you're concentrating on the shot and you're Reid Carruthers, the result is usually a pretty good one.