February 15, 2006
Time to clean house
Canucks concerned about debris on ice
ERIC FRANCIS -- Calgary Sun

PINEROLO, Italy -- After losing in what might have been a preview of the men's curling final, Brad Gushue isn't the least bit concerned about members of his rink picking up their feet.

It's everybody else's feet, he's worried about.

With both of his final rocks in the crucial 11th end careening off line after catching something on the ice, the Canadian skip said something must be done to improve the situation.

"It definitely has to be addressed," said Gushue, whose rink from Newfoundland and Labrador fell to 1-1 with an 8-7 loss to Sweden.

"It's not so much debris, it's flat spots out there. There are a lot of guys with bad grippers and they're leaving marks. When a rock runs over those marks you never know what it's going to do."

Insisting his rink isn't to blame for the ice's inconsistency, Gushue suggested his competitors need to clean up their acts.

Second Russ Howard, who played what he called the worst game of the year, said there was nothing the icemaker can do to help a situation that cost Canada the game yesterday.

"It's too bad. Brad threw two beautiful rocks and they both picked," said Howard, who called off sweepers on the final shot of the game for what was destined to be the game-winning draw.

"What a way to lose -- I feel sorry for Brad. I've had four rocks pick. It's a problem. His last shot ... all of a sudden it bends eight inches in about a half-second."

That said, Gushue made no excuses for coming up short several times, including a 10th-end miss that allowed Peja Lindholm's three-time world champion rink to score two and tie the game.

"I should have made that -- I take full responsibility," said Gushue, confident his crew would reach the playoffs with a 6-3 record.

"We just weren't meant to win that game -- all the breaks seemed to go against us."

Shannon Kleibrink's Calgary rink bounced back from an opening day loss to powerhouse Sweden by hammering the U.S. 11-5 thanks to a five-point opening end. The quartet, including Amy Nixon, Glenys Bakker, Christine Keshen and Kleibrink, bumped its record to 2-1 by beating Ludmila Privivkova's Russian rink 6-5 in the evening draw.

"We struggled a little bit with the ice and had some tough picks but we hung in there," said Kleibrink, unsure from where the ice problem stems.

"To get used to the ice without any more losses is a bonus."

The men play world silver medallist Ralph Stockli's Switzerland rink today followed by David Murdoch's Great Britain rink, while the women get the day off to visit Canada House and see the sights.