Don Landry

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Don Landry is a blogger for Yahoo Canada Sports.

  • Ryan Harnden works the broom while his brother, E.J. watches at the 2016 Players' Championship. (Anil Mungal/Sportsnet)Ryan Harnden works the broom while his brother, E.J. watches at the 2016 Players' Championship. (Anil Mungal/Sportsnet)

    It's been a season unlike any other in curling.

    When the issue of new, more aggressive materials on broom heads first came to the fore last autumn, it ushered in a year of measures and counter-measures peppered with finger-pointing, accusations of cheating and of frustration. As well as charges of "corporate bullying." When a moratorium on one abrasive synthetic fabric was brought in, good old-fashioned hair brushes then became a target of new regulation. Now, a third wave of consternation. Because with virtually all teams using what's called "Top Gun" material on their broom heads (it's said to be less abrasive than the material banned earlier this season yet still of an aggressive nature), the World Curling Federation is poised to take some off-season action on regulating the game and the equipment used to play it more rigidly.

    With next month's "Broom Summit" looming, and many of the best players on the planet in Toronto to take part in The Players' Championship, it seemed a good

    Read More »from What to do about the broom? Top skips weigh in on curling's possible sweeping solutions
  • (L to R): Sarah Reid, Cathy Overton-Clapham, Vicki Adams and Eve Muirhead hoist the trophy after their 2016 Players' Championship win. (Anil Mungal/Sportsnet)(L to R): Sarah Reid, Cathy Overton-Clapham, Vicki Adams and Eve Muirhead hoist the trophy after their 2016 Players' Championship win. (Anil Mungal/Sportsnet)

     One skip positively owns The Players' Championship.

    The other had been fruitlessly chasing it through his entire career.

    For Scotland's Eve Muirhead, a win in Toronto has become almost an annual rite. For Brad Gushue, a Players' Championship victory had been as slippery as one at The Brier, the one great trophy that still eludes the 35-year-old from St John's.

    Gushue finally ended the Players' Championship drought, taking a 5-4 win over the 2015 winner, Brad Jacobs and his crew from The Soo.

    "We've put in the work, we're reaping some of the benefits right now," Gushue told Sportsnet's Joan McCusker immediately after the win.

    The win pushes Gushue and his teammates - Geoff Walker, Brent Gallant and Mark Nichols - to 97 on the season with a chance to hit the century mark at the season-ending Champions Cup, beginning April 26th. Once again, they are the number one ranked team on the planet according to the World Curling Tour's Order of Merit Standings (year-to-date).

    Muirhead and her

    Read More »from Muirhead continues her Players' Championship dominance while Gushue finally gets his first
  • (Anil Mungal/Sportsnet photo)(Anil Mungal/Sportsnet photo)
    More broom shenanigans have led the Grand Slam of Curling's top event official to threaten in-game sanctions against teams at The Players' Championship, currently being contested in Toronto.

    Pierre Charette, Competition Director for the Grand Slams and the man who makes sure players are following the rules at tour events, made a bold statement just after Thursday night's draw had been completed at the Mattamy Athletic Centre at Maple Leaf Gardens.

    “I’m gonna give ‘em a warning," said Charette. "I’m gonna tell ‘em ‘if I see it again, I’m gonna pull (a rock).' I am.”

    Charette was talking tough about watching a couple of teams - “Not gonna name any names," he said - like a hawk during Friday's action, to see if they were not complying with the spirit of an equipment rule instituted by Grand Slam officials for this week.

    “I’ve asked them. I’ve said the intent of the rule this week is for you not to keep brushes so you can carve ‘em," said Charette."Everybody agreed with that but there’s a

    Read More »from Grand Slam of Curling's top cop threatens action against broom abusers at The Players' Championship
  • Canada wins 2016 World Men's Curling Championship

    (L to R): Canada's Ben Hebert, Kevin Koe, Brent Laing and Marc Kennedy celebrate after beating Denmark in the gold medal game at the 2016 World Men's Curling Championship. (Céline Stucki/World Curling Federation)(L to R): Canada's Ben Hebert, Kevin Koe, Brent Laing and Marc Kennedy celebrate after beating Denmark in the gold medal game at the 2016 World Men's Curling Championship. (Céline Stucki/World Curling Federation)

    The simple description of Canada's 5-3 win over Denmark in the gold medal game of the 2016 world Men's Curling Championship came from the winning skip, Kevin Koe.

    “Nothing flashy, but we were solid and pulled it out in the end,” a smiling Koe told the TSN television audience moments after he and his teammates Ben Hebert, Brent Laing and Marc Kennedy had run the Danish team out of stones in the tenth end.

    Well, there was the occasional bit of flashy shooting, actually, including Koe's final shot of the game. It was a missile that squeezed a frozen Danish stone off the button and sideways out of the house to end it.

    At that moment, Canada had secured it's 35th global men's curling championship and first since Glenn Howard's 2012 Ontario team emerged victorious, coincidentally, at the same venue in Basel, Switzerland.

    In some respects, this game was an apt representation of the emergence of Koe's second year team. The rink from Calgary's Glencoe Club was out of sorts through most of the

    Read More »from Canada wins 2016 World Men's Curling Championship
  • Team Canada (L to R): Marc Kennedy, Kevin Koe, Ben Hebert and Brent Laing. (Céline Stucki/World Curling Federaton)Team Canada (L to R): Marc Kennedy, Kevin Koe, Ben Hebert and Brent Laing. (Céline Stucki/World Curling Federaton)

    The World Men's Curling Championship will be decided on Sunday (9am ET, TSN) in Basel, Switzerland as Canada meets Denmark in the gold medal game.

    The Canadians, based in Calgary and skipped by Kevin Koe, will be attempting to earn the nation's first world championship gold medal since 2012, when Glenn Howard skipped his Ontario rink to the title. One member of Koe's team - Brent Laing - was a member of that Howard crew. Koe has skipped at two previous world championships, missing the podium in 2014 but winning gold in 2010. Canada's team is stacked with credentials. Laing has previously won two world championships (both with Howard) while teammates Marc Kennedy and Ben Hebert each won a world championship as well as Olympic gold (2010) when they played for Kevin Martin.

    Denmark, led by 27-year-old Rasmus Stjerne, has secured, at least, the country's first ever silver medal, after defeating the United States in the semi-final. The Danes had previously won two bronze medals, in 1985

    Read More »from 2016 World Men's Curling Championship tale of the tape: Canada vs Denmark
  • U.S. skip John Shuster. (World Curling Federation/Céline Stucki)U.S. skip John Shuster. (World Curling Federation/Céline Stucki)

    Controversy can be fun in sports.

    It can light up Twitter, and set tongues wagging at the local watering hole in lively debate. Unfortunately, it can also lead to some instant and quite possibly uncalled for character assassination.

    What it can also do is be a catalyst for some change and that just might be where the game of curling stands today after a controversial eighth end during a World Curling Championship playoff game between the United States and Japan.

    Maybe it's time for a few more decisions to be taken away from the players and handed to officials.

    U.S. skip John Shuster is taking a lot of flak - some of it unwarranted - after his team's 5-4 win over Japan in the 3 v 4 playoff game, in Basel, Switzerland. That win was partially fashioned on the three points scored by the U.S. in the eighth end, an end where many believe the Americans were only entitled to two points.

    With his last stone, and without hammer, Japanese skip Yusuke Morozumi was attempting a double takeout. He

    Read More »from World Curling Championship uproar: U.S. skip John Shuster takes heat for controversial ruling in a playoff game
  • Kevin Koe: Cheese mishap? (Photo: Michael Burns/Curling Canada)Kevin Koe: Cheese mishap? (Photo: Michael Burns/Curling Canada)
    Ya got me, Curling Canada. For a moment, anyway.

    In a pretty decent April Fools' Day prank, Canada's governing body for the sport of curling sent out a tweet this morning, that made you feel foolish if you retweeted it before clicking on the link to see all the details. 

    Here's the tweet:

     

    Yikes! Canadian curling fans could have had their hearts in their throats as they pondered their team playing this weekend without skip Kevin Koe and lead Ben Hebert. Food poisoning? Swiss quarantine? Oh no...

    Here's the announcement on Curling Canada's Facebook page:

    Screen shot of Curling Canada's April Fool's announcement on its Facebook page.Screen shot of Curling Canada's April Fool's announcement on its Facebook page.

    Nice touch, getting national coach Rick Lang to pose for a team photo, today, too. Apparently, the first version of the release sounded a bit too real, according to Curling Canada's Director of Media, Al Cameron. "So I added the fondue reference to take it to

    Read More »from Koe and Hebert out of the line-up because of fondue? Curling Canada has a fun April Fools' Day
  • Canada on a roll as World Men's Curling Championship set to begin

    (L to R): Kevin Koe, Marc Kennedy, Brent Laing and Ben Hebert hoist the Brier Tankard after their win over Brad Gushue in the 2016 final. (Curling Canada/Michael Burns)(L to R): Kevin Koe, Marc Kennedy, Brent Laing and Ben Hebert hoist the Brier Tankard after their win over Brad Gushue in the 2016 final. (Curling Canada/Michael Burns)

    It's not as though they were a bunch of square pegs trying to force themselves into round holes. Still, in their second year of existence, Kevin Koe and his teammates are feeling a whole lot more comfortable than they did in year one.

    With the World Men's Curling Championship looming, Koe and teammates Marc Kennedy, Brent Laing and Ben Hebert have arrived at a place where they feel synchronized both on the ice and off. It's a process that has taken time, repetition, the parking of expectations and some adjustment.

    With a tall order ahead - beat the world's best and bring gold back to Canada - Team Koe is in a much better position to take on that challenge than they would have been a year ago.

    “It’s nice to win with friends,” said Hebert, illustrating the team's good vibes, as he and Koe fielded questions during a conference call, earlier this week. “We kinda did things our way and that felt really good this year.”

    "Our way" means the team has found a unified identity, something that

    Read More »from Canada on a roll as World Men's Curling Championship set to begin
  • Mike Harris will be wearing Scottish blue at the 2016 World Men's Curling Championship.Mike Harris will be wearing Scottish blue at the 2016 World Men's Curling Championship.

    Mike Harris has some adjusting to do.

    It's not just the time change after a long flight to Switzerland, either. The Olympic silver medallist (1998) has only ever worn the maple leaf at international competitions in the past. At this year's World Men's Curling Championship, however, he'll be decked out in blue.

    “It’s gonna be weird putting on a Scotland jersey, I’ll tell you that right now," he said as he waited for his overseas flight to board. "It’s gonna be odd for me to put on another country’s uniform for a world championship.”

    Harris, most often seen and heard as a commentator on Sportsnet's Grand Slam of Curling coverage, has been moonlighting this season. Since last autumn, he has been coaching Tom Brewster's team from Aberdeen and perhaps not coincidentally, it is Brewster's crew that will be representing Scotland at The Worlds, in Basel, beginning this weekend. So Harris will plunk himself down on the coaches' bench, with a Team Scotland jacket on to keep him warm.

    His

    Read More »from Mike Harris aims to keep things cool as he gets set to coach Scotland at the World Men's Curling Championship
  • Pat Simmons celebrates as he is lifted by teammate John Morris moments after winning the 2015 Brier. (Michael Burns/Curling Canada)Pat Simmons celebrates as he is lifted by teammate John Morris moments after winning the 2015 Brier. (Michael Burns/Curling Canada)

    Pat Simmons is in a tough situation, true.

    Might be, however, that any currently underperforming skips on teams with Olympic aspirations are in their own tough spot because of the availability of the 41-year-old curling star.

    With the announcement that the Simmons rink - including lead Nolan Thiessen, second Carter Rycroft and third John Morris - is disbanding at the end of this season, Simmons is a free agent. If you're a curling fan, there's no need for me to run down his resumé. If you're not, suffice it to say that he's the equivalent of an all-star goaltender or quarterback in his prime.

    And he's available.

    Problem is, we are less than a couple of years away from the 2018 Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea and that is not optimum free agency time. Those teams that consider themselves contenders to represent Canada are - one would assume - set when it comes to their line-up.

    Putting a player like Simmons on the scene might have more than one of them reconsidering that, though.

    Read More »from Pat Simmons looks for new horizons as his curling team announces break up

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