Curling, Jan. 21: Continental Catastrophe

In the long history of the Currently in Curling rankings (OK, a couple of weeks), no one has ever been bumped down (or up) in the rankings based on mixed doubles. That event lives in its own universe. Some people focus mostly on that. Some don’t.

Generally, it’s not going to affect the rankings here. We deal with the traditional four-person game. Maybe we’ll expand to doubles one day, but we’ll need more than one person running this.

But we’re (I’m) making an exception here.

In the first draw of the Continental Cup, a Ryder Cup-style tournament pitting North America vs. the World, Team North America trotted out a Dream Team of sorts in the first draw, a set of three mixed doubles games. On Sheet B, we had our No. 2-ranked skip in men’s curling (Kevin Koe) and the No. 1 in women’s curling (Rachel Homan).

Great idea, right?

Let’s ask this — suppose you’re putting together an NFL offense. You need 11 players to start. So you sign Tom Brady, Patrick Mahomes, Drew Brees, Jared Goff, Andrew Luck, Aaron Rodgers, Ezekiel Elliott, Todd Gurley, Christian McCaffrey, Michael Thomas and Julio Jones. Cool.

Who’s going to block? Who’s going to snap the ball?

So what we saw as the Continental Cup got underway was a pair of outstanding skips trying to teach themselves how to sweep.

How’d it work? Let’s put it this way. In mixed doubles, each team ends up with six rocks in play. After the first end, Homan and Koe trailed 6-0.

To be fair, we don’t know if Homan and Koe asked to be put in that situation. The pairing just wasn’t a good idea. I’d say to check it out, but it’s not on the Curling Canada playlist.

But we do know that end set the tone. Team World took a massive lead and then staved off a late rally to claim the Cup.

And so Koe and Homan each drop one place in the power rankings.

(Besides, Anna Hasselborg’s full team beat Homan’s in the third draw, so flipping those two in the rankings makes sense. And Koe lost to Peter de Cruz.)

Other notable results:

  • The USA’s Jamie Sinclair had a credible 6-5 loss to Switzerland’s Silvana Tirinzoni. She and Chris Plys (from John Shuster’s team) won a mixed doubles game against Niklas Edin and Sara McManus.
  • Shuster and Sinclair won a mixed team game against the Swiss. But de Cruz came back and shut out Shuster in the skins game.
  • Plys also was on Koe’s team in the mixed-up men’s team games as North America beat a team skipped by Mouat. Koe also beat Mouat head-to-head in the skins game.
  • Matt Hamilton and his mustache teamed up with Emma Miskew for a win.
  • Brad Gushue and Bruce Mouat tied, which you can do in the Cup. The teams split the points.
  • Niklas Edin finally broke his string of losses (including the Olympic final) against John Shuster.
  • Jennifer Jones beat Tirinzoni in the skins game.
  • Eve Muirhead won the clinching points against Homan’s team.

So here’s what we’ll do in the rankings:

MEN: Edin (#3) switches with Koe (#2). De Cruz jumps to #9 ahead of Glenn Howard.

WOMEN: Hasselborg takes the top spot ahead of Homan. Jones (#5) flips with Tirinzoni (#4).

Back in the USA, the junior medalists are:

  • Men: Andrew Stopera (third straight), Nick Steinhaus, Sam Strouse. Chase Sinnett, who stormed through the Challenge Round, was fourth.
  • Women: Cait Flannery, Annmarie Dubberstein, Ariel Traxler.

In the rankings, Flannery jumps four spots. Traxler jumps two.

This week, the World Championship qualifying event (for those not yet qualified) wraps up. And we’ve got more provincial qualifying for the Canadian championships, the Brier and the Scotties.

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