FanDuel - WFBC

February 25, 2006

Canadian Men Triumphantly Capture Curling Gold at Torino: In a masterful display of prowess, the Canadian Men's Curling Team brings home the Gold Medal in a historic matchup for the ages. Defeating Finland 10-4 with one of the most spectacular ends in the history of the sport.

posted by skydivedad to other at 05:27 AM - 21 comments

Congrats to the Canadian Mens Team. The 1st ever Gold Medal for a Canadian Mens Team and only 2nd ever for Canada. This entire Team is a class act.....

posted by skydivedad at 06:58 AM on February 25

What, really?! First ever Gold?! I thought Canadians pretty much invented Curling, much like with Hockey... has it not been an Olympic sport for very long? I'd have thought Canadians dominated the sport for most of the time it's been in the Olympics... And then I just did some Wiki'ing to find the Canucks did not invent it, we dumb Americans only think they did. :) It traces back to Scotland for hundreds of years, although it's obviously quite popular in Canada (apparently the team was from Newfoundland, and the region treated it almost like a holiday, with half-days so people could make it home to watch the match). And while Curling became an Olympic sport in 1924, it went on hiatus in some fashion acc. to Wiki. Sounds like it was a "demonstration sport" only for several decades (I guess that means the medals weren't real?) and flat out wasn't in the Olympics in other years. Sounds like it only started being a true medal sport in 1998. In any case, I'll have to see if I can find some web video of this; someone in another thread here mentioned that the game was pretty much decided on an amazing 3-stone ricochet by the Canadians, which sounds like it'd actually be fun to see someone pull of a great shot- the same way trick shots are so cool in pool, only this trick shot was for Olympic Gold.

posted by hincandenza at 11:34 AM on February 25

Hoohaa, just about the only "sport" of these Olympic Games shown live.

posted by stockman at 11:36 AM on February 25

Ah, here's the quote- it certainly makes it sounds like one hell of a thing to see video of!

chicobangs: But the Canadian Third, Nichols, may never have to pay for a drink again after that shot. In curling terms, that shot in the gold medal game of the Olympics was the equivalent of Reggie Jackson hitting all those consecutive homers in '77, or Messier getting a hat trick in the 3rd period of Game 6 in '94. And it wasn't just that one rock. He curled out of his mind all day, every shot. They all did, but him especially.

posted by hincandenza at 11:38 AM on February 25

In any case, I'll have to see if I can find some web video of this; someone in another thread here mentioned that the game was pretty much decided on an amazing 3-stone ricochet by the Canadians, which sounds like it'd actually be fun to see someone pull of a great shot- the same way trick shots are so cool in pool, only this trick shot was for Olympic Gold. The shot may not be the best one I've ever seen, but it's probably the best high-pressure shot I've ever seen. Here is the video. I found it on another website, but I believe it was recorded by our very own mkn.

posted by grum@work at 12:06 PM on February 25

Holy shit, grum. That WAS an amazing shot... knocked all the red rocks right out of the house!!! I'm not clear yet on the point scoring, but if I recall from the news article that accounted for a 6-0 end, and I can see why- the Finnish rocks were all knocked right out of the house, all in one sweet move. I'd imagine that in those circumstances, it leaves the Canadian team that many more rocks left afterwards to focus on leaving them in the house to score points. Not sure if such ricochet shots are the norm in Curling, but even if so it seems like being able to clear the other team out in one rock leaves you all the rest to safely put into place...

posted by hincandenza at 12:53 PM on February 25

Damn! I had to watch it several times to be sure what I saw! Has to go down as one of the great curling shots of all time. If I had seen it in a Hollywood (Ok Canadian) movie I would have thought it a joke as unbelievable.

posted by commander cody at 01:08 PM on February 25

Yes, that was mkn's video. It was exciting: a bunch of us were in the SpoFi Campfire chat during the gold medal match and mkn was providing clips and pictures straight from the TV feed. I still can't get over that shot.

posted by DrJohnEvans at 01:14 PM on February 25

I'm not clear yet on the point scoring At the end of each end, whichever team has the rock closest to the middle gets points. The team gets one point for each rock which is closer to the middle than the opponent's nearest rock in the house. The Canadians ended up with six rocks in the house, and the Finns zero, so six points.

posted by DrJohnEvans at 01:19 PM on February 25

I send lots of congrats to my new friends to the north. I too just took it for granted that this was in no way the first time. Thanks Hal for that background on curling and thanks grum for posting the video from mkn. I was watching it live while sharing with some folks from here and it was hard to describe, I was so excited. I am really glad that mkn caught it and was able to post it because you would not believe (or give it justice with just words) if you hadn't seen it. Congrats again Canadian team - may your free beer flow freely!

posted by skydivemom at 01:20 PM on February 25

I'm not clear yet on the point scoring At the end of each end, whichever team has the rock closest to the middle gets points. The team gets one point for each rock which is closer to the middle than the opponent's nearest rock in the house. The Canadians ended up with six rocks in the house, and the Finns zero, so six points. posted by DrJohnEvans at 1:19 PM CST on February 25 I would also like to suggest the movie I refered to above (Men With Brooms). Not only is it a pretty funny movie, but it also explains everything you need to know about curling to enjoy the game. Not just how to play, point scoring, etc, but the honesty and honor that's expected of the players (curling is a game that lives on integrity). AND it stars a very stoned Leslie Neilson....what more could you ask for?

posted by commander cody at 01:28 PM on February 25

That video is un-fucking-believable! I only caught the very end of that match and didn't see that shot. chicobangs summed it up magnificently. I thought "he's dropping names like Messier and Jackson, he's got to be over-exaggerating!" I had to watch the clip like five times before it really sunk in how awesome that shot actually was.

posted by wingnut4life at 01:46 PM on February 25

DJE: here's what I don't understand. First, it seems then that only one team can score per end- whichever one has the rock closest to the "button", they get a point for every rock in the house that's closer to the button than whatever one rock (if any) of the opponent is closest to the button. No matter how many rocks from each team are in the house, only the rocks that are call closer to the button than any of the opponents' rocks count as points for that team. The absolute maximum points scoreable is 8 in an end, for 8 stones, but would be almost unheard of. The "what I don't understand" part is why the Finns would concede the Gold medal match in the eighth end, down by 6 points with two ends to go. While it would be a extremely tough deficit to come back from, it'd also be a deficit that was proven, only two frames earlier, to be achievable in a single round. Why concede?! From reading, it sounds like after that 6 point sixth end by the Canadians that Finland pretty much gave up at that point, and was only prevented from conceding by Olympic rules that required playing through the eighth end... but why? There was still plenty of game left, they'd get the hammer in the very next end with a chance to cut that lead significantly. While they didn't capitalize after that, and only got one point in the next two ends, it was still theoretically possible to still tie the game even after the eighth, when they formally conceded. If they could manage to steal a crazy 3 points each in the next two ends, or at worst give up 1 point in the 9th end to set up an improbable but still possible 6-7 point 10th when they got the hammer back.... Highly unlikely? Absolutely- but so is the 2004 ALCS, or that crazy shot we all just saw on mkn's video. I know it was likely not to happen, but I guess I believe in a sport culture that never gives up until it's truly, absolutely, futile. I don't understand why you'd ever concede until you fell mathematically out of the game- much less with two ends left in the gold medal match of the 2006 Olympics. I know the Canadians had almost surely won, but why not push until it's mathematically certain in the Olympics? It just seems to offend the idea of the Olympic spirit, and I'm wondering what quirk of the curling culture requires this. It'd be like bobsledders, skiiers, or figure skaters not even bothering to compete in additional runs/skis/skates if their first scores are mediocre. It'd be like Russian leaving the rink after they went down 4-0 to the Finns in the ice hockey semifinals. It'd be like Groups 1-3 of the figure skating competition not even hitting the ice for the free skate if they're already too far back in points. Even though in many cases it's unlikely to change the outcome, this is the only case I've seen where a team has given up the game before it was over, when they weren't mathematically eliminated.

posted by hincandenza at 01:48 PM on February 25

to set up an improbable but still possible 6-7 point 10th when they got the hammer back.... Highly unlikely? Absolutely- but so is the 2004 ALCS, or that crazy shot we all just saw on mkn's video The reasoning there is that the Canadians would simply switch to a knockout strategy of replying every Finnish shot with a follow-up shot to knock it out of the house. The only way to stop that from happening is to set up "guards" (rocks outside the rings) to force progressively more difficult shots. However, the Fins simply didn't have enough rocks/ends to play that sort of strategy. Scoring 3 or more points in an end is VERY difficult to do against an Olympic-quality team IF they are perfectly fine to give up only 1 or 2 points in an end. The reason the 6 occurred (other than Finnish mistakes) is that both teams didn't want to give up even a single point. As soon as that strategy falls apart (missed takeouts or raises or draws), mulitple-point ends can happen. But if you are simply throwing straight stones for knockouts, it's almost impossible to have 3 points scored against you in any end (at that level).

posted by grum@work at 02:08 PM on February 25

Hal, let me try to answer that. Unlike many other sports, in curling you can, in fact, run a successful prevent defense. In the 6th end, you'll notice both teams were throwing up guards in front of the house, creating obstacles behind which they could hide rocks and score multiple points. Canada took huge (legendary) advantage of that, with some amazing shotmaking and a little late-end help from the Finnish third and fourth, who left themselves vulnerable and suffered from some bad luck as well. So, knowing how that end went down, after Canada got that six, do you think there's any way they'll let Finland throw any guards up? In the 7th and 8th ends, any time the Finns put a guard up, instead of going around it to get more points, the Canadians just took it out of play. There was no point in messing around. With that strategy, there was no reasonable way the Finns were going to get more than a point (maybe two, if one of the Canadians left a shot behind somewhere, which given how accurate they were throwing, just wasn't happening) out of any end. And if they did get a point or two, the hammer would go back to Canada, and they'd get last rock in the next end. It may have been mathematically possible for the Finns to come back, but in every practical sense, in the Olympics, a 7-point lead in the 6th end is insurmountable. And once it became clear in the 7th and 8th end that Canada wasn't going to do anything stupid, there was no reason to continue. [also, what grum said. stupid won't-let-me-post error message.]

posted by chicobangs at 02:09 PM on February 25

It may have been mathematically possible for the Finns to come back, but in every practical sense, in the Olympics, a 7-point lead in the 6th end is insurmountable. And once it became clear in the 7th and 8th end that Canada wasn't going to do anything stupid, there was no reason to continue. Great job explaining it chicobangs. Another way would be to sort of think of it like Chess. Sometimes a player concedes after he is trapped, but still could move back and forth without actually getting checkmated. Theoretically he could go on without actually losing the game, but he can not really win, so he concedes as a point of honor to his opponent.

posted by commander cody at 02:30 PM on February 25

Great job explaining it chicobangs. Opps...and grum of course.

posted by commander cody at 02:32 PM on February 25

You guys are just completely awesome at explaining things. I learn so much on this site!

posted by skydivemom at 03:09 PM on February 25

The other thing is that in curling teams often take themselves OUT of it if it becomes possible to score just one point. The advantage of having last rock is so large that scoring a single point often isn't worth losing that advantage. Finland would have had last rock advantage after the 6 point end, and Canada could have (if it thought Finland was going to try to mount a comeback), helped Finland to score a single or even a couple of points, thus regaining last rock advantage and then being able to prevent Finland from progressing any further.

posted by mikelbyl at 10:45 AM on February 26

Unlike many other sports, in curling you can, in fact, run a successful prevent defense. chico, why do you always have to dog on the Detroit Lions like that?

posted by wingnut4life at 11:13 AM on February 26

He was talking about the Devils. Relax.

posted by Samsonov14 at 03:38 PM on February 26

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