Canadian third doing things differently

KIRK PENTON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:39 AM ET

REGINA — The loss in the 1999 world men’s curling final hasn’t been gnawing at Jon Mead.

He didn’t write ‘1999’ in big, black letters on the ceiling above his bed so he would see it every day he woke up, driving him to get back.

But now that the 43-year-old Winnipegger is back at the worlds, hey, why not make amends? There are, after all, a few things he and Team Canada skip Jeff Stoughton are doing differently this time around that they didn’t do in Hamilton 12 years years ago (current lead Steve Gould was the fifth, and second Reid Carruthers was 14 years old).

“We were 8-0 and didn’t break a sweat, and then I think we started reading our own (clippings) a little bit and got complacent,” Mead said. “We didn’t finish off the way we started, so those things are in the back of my mind.”

Canada improved to 7-0 on Tuesday with an 11-5 thumping of France’s Thomas Dufour and a 7-3 victory over Scotland’s Tom Brewster in a battle of unbeatens.

Mead curled a sparkling 93% against Scotland after an 83% performance versus France, which leaves him tied for third among thirds. There has been the occasional broom slam from Mead, who’s been on a bit of a roller-coaster ride this week.

“I felt like I’ve been able to follow up the odd turkey with some really quality shots,” he said before the Scotland game. “I guess I could stand out there and just be happy that I missed a shot and say, ‘Hey guys, I really tried hard,’ but I’m more into results than that.”

Mead shot the lights at the Brier in London, Ont., last month, but this week at Brandt Centre he’s been, well, the regular Jon Mead, which is still pretty darn good. He set his bar ridiculously high.

Players don’t often practise at long and grueling events like the worlds, but there was Mead on Monday night tossing rocks — out-turns in particular — at 11 o’clock.

“I had a ton of what felt like good throws and just not getting many results,” Mead said. “I just wanted to go out and get some good feedback on a couple throws. It felt good, and I felt good out there today as a result.

“I’ve always been a player like that, getting out to better starts and getting into bad habits as the week goes on, primarily because you don’t practise a lot. I like the way this is going.”

Mead, who wasn’t on Stoughton’s 1996 world title team, admitted he might have spent a little too much time in the Patch and watching the Masters in Hamilton 12 years ago. He’s adamant it’s not why they lost in an extra end to Scotland’s Hammy McMillan, but this time around he’s leaving nothing to chance.

“When you lose by an inch it’s a wasted opportunity,” he said. “I have no interest in doing anything like that again.”

There is an advantage in needing 12 years to get back to the worlds. When it was suggested there was nothing wrong with letting a prestigious golf tournament like the Masters get in the way of curling, Mead agreed.

“Yes, it is the Masters,” he said, “but I can PVR it now.”


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