Don Landry

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Don Landry is a blogger for Yahoo Canada Sports.

  • 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
  • Team Switzerland celebrates their win following the gold medal game against Japan at the women's world curling championship in Swift Current, Sask. Sunday, March 27, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan HaywardTeam Switzerland celebrates their win following the gold medal game against Japan at the women's world curling championship in Swift Current, Sask. Sunday, March 27, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

    The Swiss women's curling caravan rolls on, as the world stage gets a little more crowded and a frustrated curling nation wanders the desert.

    Skip Binia Feltscher led her team to a 9-6 win over an upstart squad from Japan, to claim the 2016 World Women's Curling Championship in Swift Current, Saskatchewan, while Canada gets a fourth place finish and is left to ponder a gold medal drought that stretches back to 2008.

    Meanwhile, when the sun rises in the East tomorrow, double check to see if it isn't, in fact, a giant curling stone.

    Although Japanese skip Satsuki Fujisawa sent her final draw to the back of the house in the tenth end, securing the final two stolen points of the game for Switzerland, her young team's performance this week signalled that another Asian country has risen in the ranks, ready to tangle with the traditional curling powers of Canada and Europe. China won silver in 2008 and gold in 2009. They added bronze, in 2011. Now, Fujisawa - who is just 24-years-old and

    Read More »from Swiss juggernaut rolls on at World Women's Curling Championship; Canada misses the podium
  • The Swiss Women's Curling Team is looking to win that country's fourth world crown in five years. (Michael Burns/Curling Canada)The Swiss Women's Curling Team is looking to win that country's fourth world crown in five years. (Michael Burns/Curling Canada)

    The World Women's Curling Championship reaches its climax Sunday afternoon in Swift Current, Saskatchewan, when Switzerland takes on Japan in the championship game. (5pm ET, TSN).

    Switzerland looks to continue its domination at this event, having won the last two women's world championships and three of the last four, with three different teams claiming gold. This year's squad, skipped by Binia Feltscher, is exactly the same team that won the world championship over Rachel Homan's foursome two years ago in Saint John, New Brunswick.

    The Japanese women's team, skipped by Satsuki Fujisawa, has already made curling history, as they will take home that nation's first ever medal at a world curling championship. They were not expected to be in this position, but here they are, the upstarts of the week, one win away from a gold medal.

    Here is a breakdown of some of the statistical numbers ahead of the championship game:

    The Swiss team is ranked number 22 on the World Curling Tour's Order of

    Read More »from 2016 World Women's Curling Championship tale of the tape: Switzerland vs Japan
  • Elite 10 turns curling on its head as Gushue draws the button to win

    A funny thing happened on the way to Brad Gushue's win over Reid Carruthers at the Elite 10 championship in Victoria, B.C., on Sunday.

    All of a sudden, having hammer meant something.

    With the game all square after eight ends (each team had taken three ends while the other two were pushes), Gushue drew the button to out-count Carruthers' shot to the back eight foot, giving the team from Newfoundland & Labrador its eighth win in fourteen events this season.

    This after Gushue and Carruthers had combined to win five ends while holding hammer, something that was not easy to do during the rest of the event.

    The Elite 10 once again flipped the game on its head, beyond inviting Rachel Homan's team to take part in a field rounded out by nine men's teams. While Homan's round-robin win over Charley Thomas' foursome was notable, there were a few other differences, echoing the event's inaugural appearance in 2015.

    You like rocks in play? You got 'em. Steals? Plenty.

    The match play scoring format

    Read More »from Elite 10 turns curling on its head as Gushue draws the button to win
  • Members of Team Homan wave to the crowd at the 2016 Elite 10 in Victoria, B.C. (L to R): Lisa Weagle, Emma Miskew, Rachel Homan and Joanne Courtney. (Anil Mungal/Sportsnet)Members of Team Homan wave to the crowd at the 2016 Elite 10 in Victoria, B.C. (L to R): Lisa Weagle, Emma Miskew, Rachel Homan and Joanne Courtney. (Anil Mungal/Sportsnet)

    History has been made at the Elite 10, in Victoria.

    A women's curling team has defeated a top world-ranked men's squad at a Grand Slam of Curling competition, marking the first time that has happened at a sanctioned, elite-level, non-exhibition tour event in Canada and the first since The Slam was taken over by Sportsnet in 2012.

    (Note: an earlier edition of this column did not include mention of Kelley Law's two wins at The Masters in 2001, against local teams that were added to the event merely to round out the field)

    Ontario skip Rachel Homan, along with teammates Emma Miskew, Joanne Courtney and Lisa Weagle defeated Alberta's Charley Thomas by a score of one-up, in match play scoring. (As opposed to the usual way of scoring - tallying the points scored in all ends for each team - the Elite 10 determines winners by the number of ends they win in a game. In this game, Homan's team took two ends, Thomas' team took one, with the rest of seven ends being considered tied or "pushed."

    Read More »from Team Homan makes history: First women's team to defeat elite men's team at a Grand Slam of Curling event
  • Alberta skip Chelsea Carey watches a stone with teammates Jocelyn Peterman (L) and Laine Peters on the sweep during The Scotties final against Northern Ontario. (Andrew Klaver/Curling Canada)Alberta skip Chelsea Carey watches a stone with teammates Jocelyn Peterman (L) and Laine Peters on the sweep during The Scotties final against Northern Ontario. (Andrew Klaver/Curling Canada)

    You heard it again and again, all through The Scotties.

    The camera would focus on Alberta skip Chelsea Carey as she settled into the hack before each of her shots. A voice from off camera unfailingly and clearly said: "You got it, Chels. Trust it."

    It was the voice of Alberta's second, Jocelyn Peterman, reminding the skip that she should have faith in the shot she'd just called and that the broom she was aiming at was set in the proper place, down at the other end.

    If that repeated mantra got to you as you watched Alberta trek its way to a Scotties championship, be prepared. As the team dons Canadian uniforms at the World Women's Curling Championship, you'll hear it again (or some version of it) because it ain't going anywhere.

    “It matters,” said Carey as she fielded questions during a conference call just prior to going to pick up her Team Canada jerseys and jacket. I'd just asked her if she even heard those words, each time they were spoken. She had. Turns out that Peterman's

    Read More »from "You got it, Chels" the mantra for Team Canada at the World Women's Curling Championship
  • Calm, cool Koe leads Alberta to 2016 Brier championship

    Alberta Skip Kevin Koe, centre right, celebrates with lead Ben Hebert, right, second Brent Laing, left, and third Marc Kennedy after their win in the final against Newfoundland and Labrador at the Tim Hortons Brier curling championship, Sunday March 13, 2016, in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin TangAlberta Skip Kevin Koe, centre right, celebrates with lead Ben Hebert, right, second Brent Laing, left, and third Marc Kennedy after their win in the final against Newfoundland and Labrador at the Tim Hortons Brier curling championship, Sunday March 13, 2016, in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

    It was the seventh end of the 2016 Brier final that ultimately sealed the fates its combatants while perfectly capturing the essence of nine days and nights of curling by what so many called the best Brier field in history.

    Cracking a three-spot with a laser shot to pick out a Newfoundland & Labrador stone, Alberta skip Kevin Koe broke open a tight one and sailed on to a win over Brad Gushue, claiming the 87th Canadian men's curling championship by a score of 9-5, in nine ends.

    “It’s pretty special anytime you can win a Brier, especially in this field, I mean it was so tough," Koe told TSN moments after the win, his third since 2010. "So many good teams. Hardest one I’ve ever been at.”

    Koe wasn't the only one basking in the glow of a third Brier win. Each of his teammates were doing the same. It's just that they'd not done it together before. Lead Ben Hebert and third Marc Kennedy had won twice for Alberta with Kevin Martin as their skip, while second Brent Laing had previously

    Read More »from Calm, cool Koe leads Alberta to 2016 Brier championship
  • 2016 Brier final: Newfoundland & Labrador vs Alberta tale of the tape

    Ottawa, Ont. Mar. 8, 2016. Tim Hortons Brier. N.L. skip Brad Gushue. Curling Canada/ michael burns photoOttawa, Ont. Mar. 8, 2016. Tim Hortons Brier. N.L. skip Brad Gushue. Curling Canada/ michael burns photo

    Is this the year? Is this finally the year that Brad Gushue skips Newfoundland & Labrador (NL) to a long awaited Brier championship? The province hasn't claimed it since 1976, when Jack MacDuff won it all in Regina. Gushue is skipping the province for a 13th time, with his closest call coming in 2007, when his rink was bested by Glenn Howard and Ontario in the final. While Gushue has an Olympic gold medal from the 2006 games to boast about, there is little doubt that this is the championship he most wants. In fact, he's been known to wear the number 76 on his jersey at Grand Slam events, in honour of the last time NL took the Canadian men's curling championship.

    A win by Gushue over Alberta, skipped by Kevin Koe, (7:30 pm ET, TSN) would be a picture perfect script for fans on The Rock, as St. John's just happens to be the host of the 2017 Brier. Sunday night's winner gets an invitation to next year's show, contesting as Team Canada. Incidentally, Gushue played a major role in landing

    Read More »from 2016 Brier final: Newfoundland & Labrador vs Alberta tale of the tape
  • Craig Savill delivers a stone for Ontario at the 2016 Brier as Rich Hart (L) and Adam Spencer get set to sweep. (Michale Burns/Curling Canada)Craig Savill delivers a stone for Ontario at the 2016 Brier as Rich Hart (L) and Adam Spencer get set to sweep. (Michale Burns/Curling Canada)

    They ruined the pebble on the ice at The Brier on Thursday night.

    How could it have possibly stood up to the salt of all those tears in the building?

    It was a stirring sight. Craig Savill sliding out of the hack to deliver two stones for Team Ontario during their game against Team Canada.

    Savill, the exceptionally popular former lead for Glenn Howard's Ontario team, made an appearance at the arena at TD Place, in Ottawa, in the midst of his battle with cancer. It was last fall that Savill found out that he had Hodgkin's lymphoma, causing him to shut down the season he had just begun, curling with a new team out of Nova Scotia.

    The 37-year-old didn't want to miss making some kind of appearance at the national men's curling championship, being held in his hometown.

    He made the rounds, shaking hands and sitting at the benches behind each of the sheets. Did a couple of television interviews with TSN, too.

    Read More »from An emotional night: Curler Craig Savill takes to the ice in the midst of his battle with cancer
  • Two fathers, two sons: History made at the 2016 Brier

    Two Harts: Father Richard and son Joey sweep a rock during their game against PEI at the 2016 Brier. (Anil Mungal/Curling Zone)Two Harts: Father Richard and son Joey sweep a rock during their game against PEI at the 2016 Brier. (Anil Mungal/Curling Zone)

    Something new happened at the 2016 Brier on Wednesday.

    For the first time - as far as anyone can remember - two fathers and two sons were on the ice at the same time for the same team.

    It happened on Wednesday morning, during draw 11.

    After the seventh end of Ontario's 9-4 win over Prince Edward Island, Ontario skip Glenn Howard looked to the player/coach bench behind the sheet he was playing on, grinned broadly and tapped his left arm the way a baseball manager would summon a new pitcher from the bullpen.

    That meant that 19-year-old Joey Hart was coming in to play lead. When Hart threw his first stone, 53-year-old Howard was in the house holding the broom while his son Scott, 25, was sweeping. So was 47-year-old Richard Hart, Joey's father.

    Two Howards, two Harts. 

    It was widely anticipated that this moment would

    Read More »from Two fathers, two sons: History made at the 2016 Brier

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