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Newfoundland and Labrador 2-1 heading into tonight's Brier 2017 matchup with Saskatchewan
Newfoundland and Labrador skip Brad Gushue calls instructions to his team during the Sunday night draw of the Brier at Mile One Centre. Keith Gosse/The Telegram
©Keith Gosse/The Telegram
What had been another huge crowd had long before departed Mile One Centre. The clock was approaching midnight. The only people left were cleaners, an ice technician, a couple of reporters on deadlines and about half-dozen curlers getting in some late practice.
The latter group included Newfoundland and Labrador third Mark Nichols, second Brett Gallant and Geoff Walker, trying to get back the edge they felt had been somewhat lost earlier Sunday at the Tim Hortons Brier Canadian men’s curling championship
The team’s skip was there too, but Brad Gushue’s on curling’s version of a pitch count these days as he continues to recover from a groin/hip injury that’s hampered him all season, so he wasn’t throwing any rocks.
The Gushue rink is 2-1 heading into its lone game on Day 3 of the Canadian men’s curling championship. They play 8 o’clock tonight against Saskatchewan, skipped by old friend Adam Casey, who curled with Gushue from 2012 to 2014.
That record certainly has Newfoundland in early contention behind Mike McEwen and Manitoba and Kevin Koe and Team Canada, both at 3-0. But it doesn’t have Gushue satisfied, especially after what he called a “sloppy” Sunday, when the home split two games, losing to McEwen 8-4 and getting by New Brunswick 6-4.
“We’re is a good position, but we have got to figure out what we’re doing and sharpen up for the rest of the week,” he said after the latter game.
Hence the extra practice time.
As was the case on the Brier’s first day, the Gushue team was the recipient of loud support from the stands on Sunday. The skip says while they can’t afford to bathe in all the adoration being showered on them, it is refreshing.
“You try to put your blinders on, but you also want to be able to enjoy the moment, too,” he said, “to have something to remember in 20 years time.
“(We’re) trying to find that balance … we’re feeling that out … but it’s been challenge through the first three games.
But don’t thing for a moment that Gushue and his teammates aren’t having a good time, even if their execution hasn’t been what they expect it to be.
“It’s been a lot of fun, but it would be a lot more fun if we sharpened up a bit and felt better,” he said.
Team Canada and Manitoba also plays tonight. Koe is up against John Morris, Jim Cotter and British Columbia, while McEwen plays Brier rookie Brendan Bottcher of Alberta.