by Keith Borkowsky, The Curling Guy
In past years, favourites heading into the Canadian Olympic curling trials often ended up watching the Olympics on TV.
This year will be different as far as the men go, and either Kevin Martin or Glenn Howard have shown they truly deserve the honour.
If there was any doubt about that, the solid play and 6-1 round robin records showed it in spades. And while Jeff Stoughton curled a decent game against the Ontario skip, whose day job is managing a beer store — a very popular man in the patch when the bar goes dry — Howard proved with a perfect third end shot that his game is capable of beating the men's best. Pick up the action the 10 minute mark on the third end clip to see it for yourself. You'll be glad you did.
That effectively ended toughton's dream and prevented a rematch of the 2009 Brier final. Still, today's title game, set for 3 p.m. Eastern, should be a dandy.
On the women's side, Cheryl Bernard is a solid choice to represent Canada in Vancouver. The biggest surprise has to be the failure of defending Canadian champion Jennifer Jones to even reach the playoffs. They said it best in interviews this week. They weren't good enough.
Jones is a noted slow starter at Canadian or World championships and had proven it's dangerous to give her second chances to beat you. But this time, her slow start caught up with her. It will be interesting to see how she reacts to that when the Scotties take to the ice in Sault Ste. Marie (Jan 10-Feb. 7).
As for the Olympics, the best team may not have prevailed, but the best team on the given week required did. Canada still wound up with a solid representative on the women's draw, and will have an excellent one for men's competition.