Don Landry

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Don Landry is a blogger for Yahoo Canada Sports.

  • Grand Slam of Curling: Elite 10 experiments with the rules

    John Epping, seen in action at The National in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, is one of the skips who'll strategize around modified skins game rules this weekend. (Anil Mungal/Sportsnet)John Epping, seen in action at The National in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, is one of the skips who'll strategize around modified skins game rules this weekend. (Anil Mungal/Sportsnet)

    The folks over at The Grand Slam of Curling have tinkered with curling before. Dropping game lengths to eight ends, and even introducing a five-rock rule, which was used, again, at last fall's Masters.

    They'll be at it, once more, this weekend in Fort McMurray, Alberta. That's where the first ever Elite 10 tournament will be held, beginning Thursday.

    What you'll see is a different brand of curling, similar to a skins format, but with a twist.

    While you can read the full rundown on the rules, here, suffice it to say, the big differences will be these:

    * There will be no carryover from end to end. In skins, if neither the hammer team nor the stealing team takes the end, that end's points (or dollar totals in the case of TSN Skins) would be added to the next end's. At the Elite 10, a 'tied' end will deem to have been 'halved' with the teams splitting the points for that end.

    * A team that wins its game in regulation gets a bonus three points. If the game is tied after eight ends, a draw

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  • Curling Canada's Al Cameron (R) subbed in for Vic Rauter at the Women's World Curling Championship, joining colour commentator Russ Howard. (TSN Twitter photo)Curling Canada's Al Cameron (R) subbed in for Vic Rauter at the Women's World Curling Championship, joining colour commentator Russ Howard. (TSN Twitter photo)

    When Canada's preeminent curling voice is too sick to talk and you're halfway around the world with no back-up announcer on standby, who you gonna call?

    Al Cameron, that's who.

    Curling Canada's Media Relations Director, in Japan to serve and wrangle the media during this week's World Women's Curling Championship, hopped into Vic Rauter's chair, this morning, when Rauter's voice gave out on him, during Canada's game against Denmark.

    The longtime newspaperman, who took over as Curling Canada's media director in 2012, was suddenly plopped into Rauter's chair, alongside colour commentator Russ Howard.

    That must have been extremely nerve-wracking.

    "Tried to stay as mellow as I could, actually," Cameron wrote in an email, from Sapporo.

    "In a past life, I did a little hockey play by play in Nanaimo, and did some colour commentary on curling on Shaw Cable for Alberta provincials, so it wasn't like I was a total rookie," he continued.

    "But I was definitely conscious of whom I was replacing!!!"

    Read More »from Pinch hitter: Curling Canada's media man steps in for ailing Vic Rauter on TSN
  • Nobody that I could hear, through my television speakers, was shouting "dee-fence, dee-fence," in Calgary's Saddledome, but that's precisely what the 2015 Brier final was emphatically bellowing at them.

    Until it didn't anymore.

    Then, it became a wild ride of a stretch, capped by a draw to the button by a man who didn't even begin the week throwing fourth stones for the victorious Team Canada. A 6-5 win over Northern Ontario furnished a climax to a story that - had it been written by Dickens - would've been called "A Tale of Two Briers."

    That'd be right on two fronts. A championship game that was at first ruled by blank ends, up-weight rock removal and only a few interesting scenarios through more than the halfway point, hit the finish line in style. Same thing for the 2015 champions.

    When it was over, Team Canada - Pat Simmons, John Morris, Carter Rycroft and Nolan Thiessen - had its win over the 2014 Olympic and 2013 Brier champions, skipped by Brad Jacobs. The victory completes a

    Read More »from Rising from the ashes: Team Canada wins 2015 Brier as skip Pat Simmons draws the button to beat Northern Ontario
  • 2015 Brier Final: Northern Ontario vs Team Canada tale of the tape

    Northern Ontario is seeking its second Brier title in three years. (Michale Burns/Curling Canada)Northern Ontario is seeking its second Brier title in three years. (Michale Burns/Curling Canada)

    The 2015 Brier will see its champions crowned tonight, as Northern Ontario, skipped by Brad Jacobs, takes on Team Canada, skipped by Pat Simmons. (7pm ET, TSN)

    Here is a breakdown of some comparative numbers ahead of the big game.

    Jacobs has skipped Northern Ontario to an 11 and 1 record so far, beating Newfoundland & Labrador's Brad Gushue, 7-5, in Friday night's Page Playoff 1 vs 2 game, earning a direct bye into tonight's final. Jacobs' rink has a record of 64 and 18 this season, including this week's Brier results. Simmons has led Team Canada to a 7 and 1 record since taking over as skip part way through The Brier. John Morris had skipped them to a 2 and 3 record in the competition's first five games. Team Canada won two playoff games, on Saturday, to earn their spot in tonight's final, beating Saskatchewan in the 3 vs 4 game and then Newfoundland & Labrador in last night's semi-final. On the season, Team Canada has a record of 24 and 22.

    Northern Ontario has outscored its

    Read More »from 2015 Brier Final: Northern Ontario vs Team Canada tale of the tape
  • Glenn Howard enjoying a very different kind of Brier experience

    Glenn Howard (centre) joins The Sociables in a Lanny McDonald tribute at The 2015 Brier, in Calgary. (Sociables Twitter page image)Glenn Howard (centre) joins The Sociables in a Lanny McDonald tribute at The 2015 Brier, in Calgary. (Sociables Twitter page image)

    Down the line, from Calgary, Glenn Howard's voice sounds like his throat is made of sandpaper. Not the fine grade, either. The kind you'd use to pull varnish from a floor. But, it's familiar in a couple of ways; It sounds enough like the voice of the man I've interviewed often. It also sounds like pretty much anyone you would talk to after they've spent a few long, yet satisfying days and nights at The Brier as a fan, not as a player. Raspy, weary, happy.

    “You can probably tell from my voice that I’ve had the full fan experience," says Howard, who did have to clear his throat a few times or so during a five minute conversation. We all know that feeling.

    "I discovered this really big building across the parking lot... I think its called “The Patch,” he says, voice cracking as well as wise cracking. "There’s a lot of fun to be had in there.”

    The 2015 Brier is giving the four-time champion a very different kind of experience. Free of the shackles of the responsibilities of a player, the

    Read More »from Glenn Howard enjoying a very different kind of Brier experience
  • Saskatchewan skip Steve Laycock delivered a pistol of a shot at the 2015 Brier, on Wednesday. (Michael Burns/Curling Canada)Saskatchewan skip Steve Laycock delivered a pistol of a shot at the 2015 Brier, on Wednesday. (Michael Burns/Curling Canada)

    Saskatchewan's Steve Laycock might just have earned himself 'shot of the week,' at the 2015 Brier.

    (UPDATE: Just a few minutes after I posted this blog, Newfoundland & Labrador's Brad Gushue added his own nominee for 'shot of the week,' with an amazing game-winner versus Alberta. You can see that below the video of Laycock's shot)

    In the seventh end of Wednesday afternoon's game versus Brad Jacobs and Northern Ontario, Laycock's team was in trouble. His 'get out of jail card' came in the form of a very difficult shot, where he may have been hoping to pull off a double take out. Instead, what he got was a quadruple take out, bringing on an uproarious response from the crowd at Calgary's Saddledome. Have a look:

    Jacobs did follow up with a triple of his own, meaning seven rocks disappeared in just two shots. Laycock's was a very, very difficult proposition, with a razor thin margin for error. He had to fire a missile just past - and I mean just past - a centre guard in order to have a

    Read More »from (VIDEO) Saskatchewan skip Steve Laycock pulls off what looks like the shot of the Brier. Then, Brad Gushue one ups him
  • Midweek at The 2015 Brier: Highlights, lowlights and surprises

    Northern Ontario - and their brooms - have dominated games and coversation at the 2015 Brier. (Michael Burns/Curling Canada)Northern Ontario - and their brooms - have dominated games and coversation at the 2015 Brier. (Michael Burns/Curling Canada)

    That there would be a dogfight for a playoff spot was expected. That there would be a dogfight for two playoff spots was not ruled out. There might even be a scrap for three spots, with only one team - Northern Ontario - looking home and cooled out as the 2015 Brier scooches past the midway point.

    Brad Jacobs' team from Sault Ste. Marie is the focal point of this Brier, in more than just one way. There's their red-hot performance on the ice and also the little matter of a contact with an opponent (please don't call it "broomgate." In fact, can we all agree that it is long, long past the time where we should have decided that simply adding the suffix 'gate' to a word is lazy and not at all clever any more?).

    THE HIGHLIGHTS

    Jacobs, Ryan Fry, E.J. Harnden and Ryan Harnden, collectively, have so far put on a tremendous performance, getting out to an 8 and oh start, although those wins did include a Sunday besting of Kevin Koe's Alberta team, while Koe was in the midst of a wicked case of

    Read More »from Midweek at The 2015 Brier: Highlights, lowlights and surprises
  • Switcheroo: Struggling Team Canada flips skip, vice at the Brier

    Team Canada has made a switch, at the Brier. Vice Pat Simmons (back to us) and skip John Morris (right) have flipped positions for their game against Northwest Territories. (Michael Burns/Curling Canada)Team Canada has made a switch, at the Brier. Vice Pat Simmons (back to us) and skip John Morris (right) have flipped positions for their game against Northwest Territories. (Michael Burns/Curling Canada)

    With three losses in their first five games at The Brier, Team Canada has decided to make a change.

    The sort of defending champions - three team members who were a part of the 2014 championship have returned with a new skip - are looking for a spark.

    For their sixth game of the tournament, this afternoon, against Northwest Territories, the team decided to tweak the line up, by flipping the positions of skip John Morris and third Pat Simmons.

    Morris was coming off his worst game of the Brier, shooting 64% in Monday night's 8-4 loss to Sakatchewan's Steve Laycock. Although he had booked an acceptable 80% for the week so far, the team had not found the results it wanted and was down 7 - nothing to Laycock after four ends. However, as a unit, Team Canada stood fourth in shooting percentage (86%), even after the loss to Saskatchewan.

    Simmons, who stood 6th among thirds (shooting 86% after five games) is a former skip, himself, having led Saskatchewan to four straight Brier appearances

    Read More »from Switcheroo: Struggling Team Canada flips skip, vice at the Brier
  • Toronto Pan Am Games organizers unveil medals

    There are a few touchstone moments observed for every major international athletics get together like the Olympics or the Pan Am Games.

    There's the hugging and cheering at the moment a city is awarded the right to host the event - and everyone celebrates with not a single, solitary objection raised by any individuals or organizations in that city (riiiight).

    Then comes the unveiling of the games' mascot or mascots. With, often, a major chorus of "what the hell is that?" reverberating through the public's consciousness.

    Then, the first reports of massive cost overruns.

    After that, the unveiling of just what the athletes will have draped around their necks if they finish first, second or third.Turin, Italy-Thursday February 23, 2006. CanWest News Service- Team Canada speed skater Cindy Klassen with her bounty of medals at the Turin Olympic Games, Thursday evening. Photo by Peter J. Thompson/CanWest News Service [PNG Merlin Archive]Turin, Italy-Thursday February 23, 2006. CanWest News Service- Team Canada speed skater Cindy Klassen with her bounty of medals at the Turin Olympic Games, Thursday evening. Photo by Peter J. Thompson/CanWest News Service [PNG Merlin Archive]

    2015 Pan Am and Parapan Am Games organizers revealed the high-priced baubles in Toronto, on Tuesday, and they ain't half bad. Not the best ever, perhaps, but not the worst either. A step up from the lamented "compact disc" medals of the 2006 Torino Olympics, I'd say. And they've avoided an

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  • Northern Ontario's E.J. and Ryan Harnden on sweeping patrol during their Brier round robin game, against Ontario, on Monday night. (Michael Burns/Curling Canada)Northern Ontario's E.J. and Ryan Harnden on sweeping patrol during their Brier round robin game, against Ontario, on Monday night. (Michael Burns/Curling Canada)

    The Background: During Monday night's 7-3 win by Northern Ontario over their provincial brothers from the south, there were some hard feelings about the way Brad Jacobs' rink from Sault Ste. Marie handled an important breach of etiquette by Mark Kean's crew from Fenelon Falls.

    With members of Kean's team occasionally keeping knees on the ice after shooting - a big no no when it comes to treatment of the playing surface - Northern Ontario took it upon themselves to deliver more than verbal reminders that you shouldn't do that.

    You can read most the details of what happened here. 

    In the wake of a social media argument over who was right and who was wrong, the Northern Ontario team took to Facebook to make sure their side of the story was clearly known:

    (Team Jacobs Facebook page)(Team Jacobs Facebook page)

    There'd been some hurt feelings in all of this, with a report that the Ontario team had lodged an official complaint against Jacobs' team. Curling Canada (until just recently, known as the Canadian Curling Association) publicly dealt

    Read More »from Temperature lowered: Brier fuss over Northern Ontario broom tap handled by team, Curling Canada

Pagination

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