Curling dropped the rock

Robin
Robin Short
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So this is where curling finds itself: its premier event, the Labatt Tankard men's championship, attracts six teams to Labrador City for the provincial final, and all but two are from the host club. We realize venturing to Labrador is pricey, but two outside teams?

Last month, the Scotties Tournament of Hearts women's championship was staged, and all five teams competing were St. John's-based rinks.

Where are the teams from Gander? Grand Falls-Windsor? Corner Brook? Stephenville?

It was only five years ago Brad Gushue and Co. won the Olympic gold medal, yet the provincial curling association has done nothing to ride the wave. Frankly, it's inconceivable to think curling did not cash in on the Gushue team's popularity and notoriety. An opportunity to raise a sport's profile like that - four Newfoundlanders winning Olympic gold - will never come around again.

Not since 2005 and the national Scotties has Newfoundland played host to a Canadian curling championship (granted, the Canadian Interuniversity Sport spiel was held at the Remax Centre in 2011, and while it was good curling, I'm sure, it wasn't exactly the talk of the town).

No national junior, no world junior, no world men's or women's, no mixed. Not even a seniors, which is, well ... see university curling.

Mile One is perfect for a world championship, but that venue hasn't seen curling since the World Curling Tour a few years back.

Nope, about the only thing remotely newsworthy surrounding curling has been the re-emergence of a club in Corner Brook.

Wow.

With the gold medal, curling had a chance to make a big hit. Instead, it hogged the shot.

Nobody asked me, but ...

How is it the IceCaps' Paul Postma can last until the 205th pick in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft? The Swift Current Broncos youngster might have been skinny (still won't be confused with a bodybuilder), but with that skating ability and shot, you'd think a team would have taken a flyer on him earlier in the draft. This guy is going to be a very good NHL defenceman ...

Keeping with drafts, I'm convinced scouts sometimes over-analyze players. At the 2001 draft, 133 players were selected before Kyle Wellwood had his named called. Wellwood, it seems, was too small, too fat, too slow, too this, too that. "I said, 'This guy won the (OHL) scoring championship last year. It's the fifth round, we've got to take him,'" a scout who was at the Toronto Maple Leafs' draft table that day once told me. "Sometimes you just have to ask yourself, 'Is this guy a good hockey player or not?'" ... If you're Tom Brady (we can only dream), are you not telling your wife to keep her mouth closed and not be making life difficult for me in the locker room? ... Reaching the NHL is one great, big crap shoot. And as anyone in the game will tell you, skill and talent is only half the battle. "Hockey's a man's game. In junior, it's just a bunch of boys," Providence Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy was saying this week. Cassidy was once a first round pick of the Chicago Blackhawks, 18th overall. "Being hard on the puck is an overused term, but that's hockey. You have to have strength to win battles in tight spaces, and have the explosiveness to get out of those areas and make something happen. (Zdeno) Chara is an exception, but try getting the puck from Dennis Seidenberg. Or Adam McQuaid. Or Shea Weber, or (Dion) Phaneuf. Pick a guy. It's not easy. I've been coaching for a while and I find with younger guys, they just don't understand how strong you have to be on the puck. It's not about finishing a two-on-one or whatever. Everybody has talent, or they wouldn't be here. It's about how strong you are on pucks that separates guys." ...

Robin Short is The Telegram Sports Editor. He can be reached by email rshort@thetelegram.com

Organizations: NHL, Remax Centre, World Curling Tour IceCaps Toronto Maple Leafs Chicago Blackhawks

Geographic location: Newfoundland, Corner Brook, St. John's Gander

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