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Monday, February 19, 2018

A Quick Calculation on Olympic Playoff Possibilities

I hesitate to write an article that will only be valid for the next 10-14 hours, but it's a quiet Family Day morning here and thought I'd work my brain for a few minutes.  I used odds from Bet365 and adjusted for my own assessment of these teams.  If you happen to be a Great Britain fan and like long-shots, the young Kyle Smith (born in 1992!) Rink is sitting at +1800 to win it all, or just over 5%.


7 teams are in the hunt for a spot, though I don't expect China has more than a 4% chance to make playoffs.

I have Korea at 18% to land at 8-1 and 94% to at worse have 3 losses, so we have to think the home team will be in the mix, because even falling to 5-4, there could still be a tie-breaker.

Japan estimates to 88% to be 3 losses or better.  Their next game is Great Britain later today (or is it tomorrow?).

I've got Sweden at 92% to land at no worse than 3 losses.  Note that none of these top 3 teams play each other the rest of the way.  This could very well be a battle for 4th for everyone else.

Great Britain has Japan and then Canada, a big test for a team that has looked inconsistent (then again, who hasn't?).  I have them at 16% to finish 6-3 and 48% chance of 4 losses.

USA, like Great Britain, has 2 tough match-ups with Korea and Sweden.  I have them also at 16% with 3 losses and 48% chance of 4.

No match between USA and GBR so no guaranteed loss between the two.

Canada, like Korea, still has 3 games remaining.  I have them at 34% to win out and 45% chance of finishing 2-1 to land at 5-4.  Not what some Canada fans want to hear but with Great Britain looming and the potential odds of a loss to either OAR or China, that's how the math lands.  The good news is, even if Canada has 4 losses, I expect the chance of both GBR and USA to also have 4 losses (or worse) at over 70%.  So even if Homan drops to 5-4, a good portion of the time she's going to make a tie-breaker.

There's also a chance we could have a three way tie-breaker for fourth place with 3 teams at 4-5 (2.5%) or that Canada could land in fourth place outright at 5-4 (6%).

I actually have Canada getting into the play-offs clear of a tie breaker as 18%.


Also 7 teams (realistically) in the running for playoffs.  USA sitting at 3-4 likely needs to win out, but actually has a good chance for the play-offs if they do.  I've estimated USA lands at 5-4 20% of the time.  USA does have a game against Great Britain, so a win there would drop Smith to 4 losses. Assuming Canada is no worse than 6-3, USA need Japan and Norway to both drop a game, which is very possible given their upcoming opponents (80%).

It appears Bet365 still has odds to win outright for Korea, Denmark and Italy.  There must be a chance that 4-5 makes a tie-breaker, but you might want to stay away from those, unless they are for 2022.

Sweden is in the playoffs and I have the Swiss as only 6.5% to drop to 4 losses, and even then as mentioned, a tie-breaker is likely.  I actually have odds of there being tie-breakers over 80%, but if GBR beats Norway today/tomorrow, it could come down to their final game against USA.

And 5 losses is still in play, but, having swapped coffee for tea this morning, I don't have the strength to calculate the odds.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Episode 35 - Pal Trulsen

Pal Trulsen was supposed to be a ski jumper.  It was the sport of his father.  Admittedly, Pal was a little too husky and grew tired of walking to the top of the hill for each run.  At 14 he and three friends (Flemming Davanger, Stig-Arne Gunnestad and Kjell Berg) discovered a four sheet curling club and took to the sport, eventually reaching the Uniroyal World Junior Championships in 1980.  They returned in 1981 and then again in 1983, where they won a Silver medal, losing to Canada's John Base in Medicine Hat, Alberta.  Pal would return to the World stage as fifth man for his junior teammates at the 1992 Olympics and the Worlds in 1993.  Pal finally appeared at the Worlds as a skip in 1997 and again from 1999 to 2004, taking home a Silver and two Bronze medals during that run, while also winning Gold for Norway at the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City.  Pal shares his early experiences, reflects on his temperament, recalls playing the great teams of his era and being invited to the TSN Skins game.  After we wrap, Pal adds a short story about that 2003 Skins event (held in Gimli, Manitoba) and what happened when Shorty Jenkins was brought in to make ice at Hans Wuthrich's hometown.
This episode includes longer ramblings from me than usual.  If you don't want to hear my thoughts on how to handle burnt stones, the longer version of what happened to the curling ice at the Albertville Olympics, or why Japanese coaches are called Wallys, you can skip ahead to 14:45 to hear my conversation with Pal.  You can also watch clips from Pal's 2002 Olympic Gold medal victory on YouTube and at  

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Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Episode 34 - John Aasand

John Aassand doesn't live in the past. In 1972 four young players from Grafton, North Dakota competed in their first mens playdowns.  From State to US Nationals and then to Germany, their magical run would eventually land them in the finals of the World Championship against Canada's Orest Meleschuk.  Johnny at second, his brother Frank at third,  lead Ray Morgan and skip Robert Labonte took a 9-7 lead into the 10th end.  After what was thought to be the final rock of the game, with players preparing to shake hands, it appeared USA had won.  In a dark twist, however, Labonte jumped in celebration, slipped on his landing and kicked a Canada stone.  Meleschuk was awarded two points and the game went to extra ends, with Canada taking the Silver Broom trophy.  John will share the story of what happened during that moment, and the repercussions for both teams in the years that followed.  You'll hear stories from the Hibbing bonspiel, Barry Fry and learn why the team John skipped to two USA finals in the mid-80's was like the Oakland Raiders of the 1970's.
You can watch clips from the 1972 World Championships and Bob's famous fall . After Canada failed to win the Worlds for the next 8 years, it became known as The Curse of Labonte.  Here's an article on John from 2008 and if you find yourself in Grafton, be sure to check out The Extra End Bar.

Check out the latest episode of Curling Legends Podcast

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Episode 33 - Kim Kelly

Kim Kelly understands what it takes to overcome adversity.  Her father in the armed forces, Kelly moved often and had to adapt to new people and surroundings every few years.  The local military curling club was always available to hone her skills and make new friends. After high school, Kelly returned to her birthplace of Halifax, Nova Scotia and eventually joined Nancy Delahunt, Mary-Anne Arsenault and Colleen Jones to form one of the most successful teams of all time.  From 1999 to 2004, Team Jones won 5 Scotties Tournament of Hearts and 2 World Championships, overcoming the challenges of being a maritime team who rarely traveled.  Kim recalls her early years, joining Colleen, and the obstacles they faced, including criticism of their style of play.  She'll take us through the struggles and triumphs during the early years, the eventual split and subsequent reunion in 2013.  They would again join forces to compete in Seniors a few years later, winning Canada in 2016 and the Womens World Senior Championship in spring of last year.   
For more on Team Jones you can check out Colleen's book, "Throwing Rocks at Houses: My Life In And Out Of Curling".  You can also watch the ceremony for their team induction into the Nova Scotia Sport Hall of Fame in 2011.

Check out the latest episode of Curling Legends Podcast

Friday, January 26, 2018

Episode 32 - Bob Cole

Bob Cole is more than the iconic play-by-play announcer for Hockey Night in Canada.  As a young broadcaster in St. John's, Newfoundland, Bob was introduced to curling and immediately became hooked.  Despite his late start to the sport, regular practice led to early success with a trip to the Canadian Mixed in 1965, only the second time it was contested.  Bob improved his game and eventually landed at skip, leading his team to the 1971 Brier in Quebec City.  Afterwards, he recruited a youngster originally hailing from Nova Scotia named Jack MacDuff.  He and Jack reached the Canadian Mixed but lost the provincial finals in 1973.  They split before Bob returned to the 1975 Brier in Fredericton, NB. Jack returned with his own team to Regina the following year, shocking everyone with the first ever Brier victory for Newfoundland. Bob takes us through those Brier experiences and shares his love for the game.  We discuss how great skips have the ability to control their nerves and Bob recalls a shot from decades ago that he'll never forget.

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Saturday, January 13, 2018

Episode 31 - Marilyn Bodogh, Part 2

In Part 2 of my conversation with Marilyn Bodogh, we'll dive into the 1996 Scotties playoffs against Connie Laliberte and Cheryl Bernard. She explains how to deal with trash talk from Dordi Nordby and warns of the dangers from Chinese food. Marilyn shares her thoughts on Colleen Jones, the Olympic Trials, both Battles of the Sexes and reveals what to wear under your kilt when you are on the ice.


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Saturday, January 6, 2018

Episode 30 - Marilyn Bodogh, Part 1

Marilyn Bodogh may have appeared brash, opinionated, outspoken or a little unfiltered.  But behind the newsworthy quotes and smiles for the camera was a competitive drive to rival any of her contemporaries. Learning the game in St. Catherines, Marilyn and her older sister Christine had early junior success at the Canada Winter Games in 1971.  In 1980 the sisters appeared in the Canadian Ladies Curling Association Championship (two years before Scott Paper took over sponsorship).  Marilyn eventually moved to skipping and in 1986 she led Christine, Kathy McEdwards and Jan Augustyn to victory at the Scott Tournament of Hearts in London, Ontario.  Gold would follow at the Worlds in Kelowna, but it would be another 10 years before Marilyn captured another Scotties, then teamed with Kim Gellard, Corie Beveridge and Jane Hooper Peroud.  In Part 1 we'll cover the early years, the major victories, and teach listeners how to curl in kilts.

Check out the latest episode of Curling Legends Podcast