March 16, 2012
Nedohin happy with home cookin'
By CON GRIWKOWSKY, QMI Agency
LETHBRIDGE, ALTA. - If Heather Nedohin is feeling any pressure to bring the women's world curling championship back to Canada, she's doing her best to hide it.
It's been a rough go in recent times for anyone wearing the Maple Leaf and Nedohin will be doing her best to snap a three-year drought by Canadian teams.
The last skip to bring home a world title was Winnipeg's Jennifer Jones, back in 2008.
"Maybe it's be being oblivious to the circumstances, but the way I see it, we were pink (Ladies in Pink at the provincials), then we were blue (Alberta colours at the Scotties) and now we're red," said Nedohin. "Honestly, we're just going out making shots and playing our game and letting what unfolds in front of us."
What really gets Nedohin energized is the fact this event is not only being held in Canada, it's being held in Alberta.
It worked for her during her world junior championship run in 1996 and it worked for her at the Scotties in Red Deer.
"What I'm really going to draw about it being in Lethbridge is I'm so happy we're on Canadian ice, with Canadian icemakers, Canadian food and Canadian accommodations and a Canadian crowd.
"I think that's five strikes to our advantage. Is it a bummer we don't get to go to Italy or Switzerland? Sure. We'd all like to go to another nation, but when I'm wearing the Maple Leaf, I'd rather wear it in Canada. My kids can come. They wouldn't be able to come to Switzerland.
"I'm thrilled that it's in Lethbridge and I'm sure Lethbridge will do an amazing job."
Nedohin's team made a trip to Norway in September and that has helped size up her opposition this week.
"We've seen these teams," said Nedohin. "Have we played them all? No we haven't."
A series of weird circumstances has kept the last two champions out of this year's competition.
Defending champ and three-time winner Anette Norberg of Sweden caught the flu bug during her national championship. Then, last Saturday, 2010 champ Andrea Schoepp of Germany broke her leg in a training session.
That's left only two former champions in the lineup -- 2009 winner Bingyu Wang of China and U.S.A. skip Allison Pottinger, who threw third rocks for Debbie McCormick in 2003, the only time the Stars and Stripes has won a title.
"More than anything, we've had a good plan all season on how to peak," said Nedohin, third for Cathy King in 1998 when that team won a bronze medal. "There wasn't much turnaround time between the provincials and the Scotties. It's that same sort of thing now. If we can duplicate what we did at the Scotties -- start off strong and end strong -- we can keep ourselves on our own path."
It's true that the team won eight of its last nine starts after a 2-3 start at the Scotties, but Nedohin insists it was the team's persistence that got it on its winning roll.
"We didn't go above and beyond what we've already been doing, which I think is plenty," said Nedohin.
She understands curling is a game where the results do not always match up to the level of play and cites the example of the team's 2-6 outing in the Canada Cup at Cranbrook, where they put up the type of numbers they did at the Scotties.
"The numbers said one thing but it didn't feel that way," said Nedohin. "That's why you have to be persistent and keep going at it and eventually things will turn your way. We play the game where it goes down to last rock or an extra end. Sometimes, it goes your way, sometimes it doesn't."