Don Landry

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Don Landry is a blogger for Yahoo Canada Sports.

  • 2016 Brier: Contenders, challengers and long shots

    Skip Pat Simmons leaps into the arms of Nolan Thiessen moments after delivering the winning shot at the 2015 Brier. (Michael Burns/Curling Canada)Skip Pat Simmons leaps into the arms of Nolan Thiessen moments after delivering the winning shot at the 2015 Brier. (Michael Burns/Curling Canada)

    This should be easy, right? Scan the 2016 Brier field - some call it the best line-up of teams ever - and pick four teams most likely to be in playoff spots at the end of the week.

    Yikes.

    In this field, you can make a case for each of seven teams to be playoff squads, maybe even eight or nine if you really wanted to be bullish about it.

    The 2016 Brier, getting underway this weekend in Ottawa, should be one for the ages. In a field bursting at the seams with quality teams, we will be entertained by shot-making prowess as well as the intrigue of jockeying for position amidst a draw schedule that is peppered with peril at most every turn. Would anyone be surprised if we see a clutch of tie-breakers to decide the final couple of playoff spots?

    "Contenders" are my picks to make the playoffs. "Challengers" are teams seen as more than capable of striking should any contender falter. "Long Shots" are just what you'd think.

    Need to make some picks, so here they come. May God have mercy on my

    Read More »from 2016 Brier: Contenders, challengers and long shots
  • Alberta wins the 2016 Scotties

    Alberta skip Chelsea Carey, right, celebrates her win over Northern Ontario with third Amy Nixon during the gold medal game at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts, in Grande Prairie, Alta., on Sunday, Feb. 28, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan HaywardAlberta skip Chelsea Carey, right, celebrates her win over Northern Ontario with third Amy Nixon during the gold medal game at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts, in Grande Prairie, Alta., on Sunday, Feb. 28, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

    In the end, Northern Ontario's steal train couldn't make one last stop.

    Instead, a mostly unstoppable Alberta express claimed the 2016 Scotties Tournament of Hearts title, with skip Chelsea Carey drawing the back of the four-foot with her last shot of the game, good for a 7-6 win over Krista McCarville's Thunder Bay crew.

    “Terrifying,” laughed Carey, when she was asked by TSN's Bryan Mudryk what the moment before she slid from the hack felt like. “I made sure to take my time and take some deep breaths.”

    “What more could you ask for? Team Alberta, in Alberta, and a win. I mean, it’s amazing,” she said.

    This wasn't a spectacular victory but it was still an impressive one for the Calgary team which lost just twice in 13 games all week. While it lacked the same astonishing brute force of Alberta's win over Jennifer Jones and the defending champions in the 1 vs 2 playoff game on Friday night - Carey and her mates shot a sizzling 92% that night with the skip booking a 96% - it came with

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  • 2016 Scotties Final: Alberta vs Northern Ontario tale of the tape

    Skip Chelsea Carey will try to lead Alberta to The Scotties Championship. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan HaywardSkip Chelsea Carey will try to lead Alberta to The Scotties Championship. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
    The Scotties Tournament of Hearts reaches its climax, tonight, with Alberta taking on Northern Ontario for the national women's curling championship, in Grande Prairie, Alberta (8:30 pm ET on TSN).

    Alberta, skipped by Chelsea Carey, is looking for its first Scotties championship since 2012. Two of Carey's current teammates were part of that team, skipped by Heather Nedohin at the time. Third Amy Nixon was an alternate on that squad, while Laine Peters played lead. Carey won a bronze medal at the 2014 Scotties, when she skipped the Manitoba champions. Second Jocelyn Peterman is playing in her first Scotties.

    Northern Ontario, skipped by Krista McCarville, seeks its first ever Scotties title, as it had not previously been entered as a separate entity until last year. McCarville has skipped Ontario at Scotties tournaments in 2006, '07, '09 and '10, with one bronze medal to her credit. Second Ashley Sippala was on the 2010 rink that scored bronze, while lead Sarah Potts served as an

    Read More »from 2016 Scotties Final: Alberta vs Northern Ontario tale of the tape
  • Rachel Homan raises her broom in victory at the 2015 Masters of Curling. (Anil Mungal/Sportsnet)Rachel Homan raises her broom in victory at the 2015 Masters of Curling. (Anil Mungal/Sportsnet)

    Well, here's something you don't see every day. Or year.

    The Grand Slam of Curling's Elite 10, introduced as a men's competition last season, will be contested again this year in largely the same manner when it is held in Victoria, B.C., March 17th to 20th. However, there will be a big difference: While the field will be dominated by masculinity, there will be one women's team taking part.

    Team Rachel Homan, upset at the Ontario Women's Championship and, therefore, not taking part in this week's Scotties in Grand Prairie, Alberta, will do their level best to explode the largely accepted thinking that women's teams can't keep up with the sport's men's teams (don't shoot the messenger).

    We'll see how much water that theory holds, although Homan maintains she and her teammates are not out to land a haymaker in any ongoing battle of the sexes. Carry the flag for all women in the fight for equality? Nah.

    “It’s a great opportunity for our team and for women in sports," Homan says, when

    Read More »from Rachel Homan rink set to take on the men at Grand Slam of Curling's Elite 10
  • Scotties 2016: Contenders, challengers and long shots

    Is a repeat coming? Jennifer Jones, Kaitlyn Lawes, Jill Officer and Dawn McEwen are looking for a second straight Scotties title. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)Is a repeat coming? Jennifer Jones, Kaitlyn Lawes, Jill Officer and Dawn McEwen are looking for a second straight Scotties title. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)

    This year's Scotties Tournament of Hearts - held in Grande Prairie, Alberta - shapes up as possibly a fairly cut-and-dried affair, at least when it comes to the battle for the very top. There are two clear contenders for the crown, two teams that seem a lock for playoff positions, and below them a scramble among some pretty decent rinks for the remaining two spots. We all know what can happen if you get hot at the right time, or if your opponent suffers a bad day at the worst possible time. Upsets can happen. It's just that at this year's edition of the Scotties, there doesn't seem a great likelihood that we won't see the top two teams squaring off for the title on the final Sunday night.

    Note: team rankings come from the World Curling Tour's (WCT) Order of Merit, year-to-date standings. Statistics quoted come from CurlingZone.ca.

    CONTENDERS

    Of the four teams most likely to secure playoff berths at the end of the round robin, the first two are really the only ones I feel completely

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  • Curling Canada names its new CEO

    Curling Canada has a new CEO.Curling Canada has a new CEO.
    After what they've termed an "exhaustive," nine month long search, Curling Canada has announced that it has found a new CEO.

    Katherine Henderson will officially take over as the head of the national curling governing body on April 1st, although she will be on hand this weekend as the 2016 Scotties Tournament of Hearts gets underway in Grande Prairie, Alberta. She replaces Greg Stremlaw, who left Curling Canada last spring to take over as head of CBC Sports.

    Henderson's appointment signals that Curling Canada is taking aim at securing and strengthening its finances moving forward, with an eye to expanding marketing and sponsorship relationships, although she takes over as the world of curling continues to be embroiled in controversy over major issues surrounding the game on the ice, not off it.

    “Curling Canada has proven emphatically to be world-class, not only in its athletic performance on the world stage, but in its business and administrative operations and partnerships with

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  • (Photo: Anil Mungal/Sportsnet)(Photo: Anil Mungal/Sportsnet)

    It's happening again.

    For the second time this season, the controversy swirling around broom heads used in the sport of curling has leapt to flame and this time it's over the use of hair.

    There are voices out there that say hair ought to be banned. In curling's season of sweeping scandal, some competitors are unhappy with how some others are using these broom heads.

    new video has surfaced on Facebook, put there by members of Team Minera Skifer (skipped by Markus Hoiberg), a Norwegian curling team. The video shows three similar draw shots being taken, brushed in different ways, including twice with new brush heads made of hair.

    Who needs directional fabric? This is us testing a newly changed hairbrush on standard ice conditons. 14,5 hog-to-hog and 4 feet of curl... well normally that is. World Curling Federation

    Posted by Team Minera Skifer on Monday, February 8, 2016

    The video is the source of some contention - you can see that just by perusing the comments underneath it on

    Read More »from Ban the broom, part II: Curling's season of sweeping discontent gets a sequel
  • (L to R) Manitoba's Matt Dunstone, Colton Lott, Kyle Doering and Rob Gordon pose with the spoils of their victory at the 2016 Canadian Junior Men's curling Championships in Stratford, Ontario. (Michael Burns/Curling Canada)(L to R) Manitoba's Matt Dunstone, Colton Lott, Kyle Doering and Rob Gordon pose with the spoils of their victory at the 2016 Canadian Junior Men's curling Championships in Stratford, Ontario. (Michael Burns/Curling Canada)

    Stratford, Ontario - Heading into the final of the Canadian Junior Men's Curling Championship, both teams knew there was a cardinal rule that could not be broken: Do not fall behind by a bunch, or you'll have a steep, almost impossible climb.

    When you have two teams with the ability to play takeouts the way these Manitoba and Northern Ontario Junior Men's teams can, getting too far back of the tail lights means the front runner can peel out of sight.

    That's precisely what happened in the final, won by Manitoba's Matt Dunstone, Colton Lott, Kyle Doering and Rob Gordon, by a score of 11-4, in eight ends.

    It was an impressive display by Dunstone and company, taking down Northern Ontario's Team Horgan a few days after the Copper Cliff Curling Club team had defeated Dunstone's Winnipeg crew during the round-robin.

    With a 7-2 lead after four ends, the outcome wasn't really in doubt, not with the way the young Manitobans can make rocks disappear in a blink.

    Had Northern Ontario kept it close

    Read More »from Manitoba's Dunstone as loud and powerful as a locomotive in taking Canadian junior curling title
  • Stratford Ont, Jan 31 2016. Canadian Junior Curling Championship. Nova Scotia skip Mary Fay (R), gets a hug from teammate Karlee Burgess after guiding her Chester, Nova Scotia squad to a 9-5 victory over British Columbia in the women's final. Teammate Kristin Clarke is at left. (Michael Burns/Curling Canada)Stratford Ont, Jan 31 2016. Canadian Junior Curling Championship. Nova Scotia skip Mary Fay (R), gets a hug from teammate Karlee Burgess after guiding her Chester, Nova Scotia squad to a 9-5 victory over British Columbia in the women's final. Teammate Kristin Clarke is at left. (Michael Burns/Curling Canada)

    Stratford, Ontario - In the end, Nova Scotia's victory at the Canadian Women's Junior Curling Championship was like a crappy flight to The Bahamas. The mid-flight turbulence you endure is god awful. But in the end, you're, you know, in The Bahamas.

    With a good start, and a better finish, the Nova Scotia junior women, skipped by 17-year-old Mary Fay, came away with a decisive, 9-5 win over British Columbia, and their skip, Sarah Daniels, in a meandering game that certainly entertained the gathering at the Stratford Rotary Complex.

    “We knew they were going to fight back," said Fay, of a mid-game swoon that saw B.C. rally from three down to tie things up at 5 in the seventh end. "We just tried to stay confident and know that we were gonna get a break soon.”

    Still, things might have completely unravelled had B.C. scored a big steal in the eighth end, lying four with a couple of their stones in hard to reach places. It was then that Nova Scotia third Kristin Clarke made a turnaround shot

    Read More »from Nova Scotia junior women outlast the turbulence, win national curling championship
  • Jake (L) and Tanner Horgan at the 2016 Canadian Junior Curling Championships in Stratford, Ontario. (Curling Canada)Jake (L) and Tanner Horgan at the 2016 Canadian Junior Curling Championships in Stratford, Ontario. (Curling Canada)

    During the seventh end of Northern Ontario's Wednesday night win over Ontario at the Canadian Junior Curling Championships, 15-year-old Jake Horgan leapt from the hack at about a million miles and hour and then gave his rock an extra shove as he released it.

    Seconds later, blammo. Five stones were gone from play.

    It was something. Not the usual peel shot, I assumed. I was wrong, apparently.

    “That’s a normal peel weight," said Horgan after the game. "That's what I throw every time.”

    The Northern Ontario Junior Men's Curling Team has ridden shots like that all the way to a berth in this Sunday's final, to be held at the Stratford Rotary Complex in Stratford, Ontario. The team - with Maxime Blais at lead and Nick Bissonnette at second - has a powerful punch at vice with young Jake, and another one at skip in the form of Jake's 17-year-old brother, Tanner Horgan.

    With their father, Gerry, serving as coach, the Horgans might just be on their way to world domination, along with their

    Read More »from Northern Ontario's Horgan brothers adding strong branches to family curling tree

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