05 February 2014

Roaring Russian Rings: Part I

Today it was the men's preview, tomorrow the women's. These will also be rearranged every three draws of play in the round robin portion of the tournament.

1. Norway
Vancouver's silver medalists have not only gotten crazier uniforms, they've significantly improved - not that Thomas Ulsrud's rink was in need of it.

2. Canada
With Brad Jacobs in charge, you don't have your typical Brier team. They do however have third Ryan Fry, a former member of Torino gold medalist Brad Gushue but not before or during those Games.

3. Sweden
It is not surprising that Niklas Edin will give the round robins a scare, but this improved side can actually contest the gold if they get their breaks in addition to good play.

4. Great Britain
David Murdoch is back for his third Olympics. The Scotsman is really looking not to come home empty handed this time around, having lost to the Americans in Torino and barely failing to qualify for the medal round in Vancouver.

5. Denmark
Rasmus Stjerne Hansen will be replacing Ulrik Schmidt for the 2014 Danes. If his accuracy is in tact, the Danes can find them selves competing in the medal round.

6. Switzerland

While Ralph Stockli may not be representing the Swiss, but you have to like their chances of medalling. If this is going to work, they will need to not give up as many stolen ends as in Vancouver.

7. Russian Federation

This may be their first tournament in curling at the Olympics, but if they perform like their women's teams have in past Games, the hosts may be at least short of the medal round with a loud crowd ready to cheer them on.

8. Germany
John Jahr has been around a long while. In fact, he hasn't really made anything for himself other than a second place finish at the 1987 world championships in Vancouver.

9. China
China may have a young program, but because of that, they curl for a living - unlike the US and Canada. That will be a huge benefit with their playing of Canadian teams on a regular basis.

10. United States
John Shuster, like women's counterpart Erika Brown will return as skip. Despite winning bronze as the lead for Pete Fenson in Torino, the team finished last with a single win and Schuster had a terrible accuracy percentage having difficulty with finishing shots.

Another day, another curling stone. It should be an entertaining tournament. For a complete listing of the draw schedule, visit this link for Wikipedia. Remember, Sochi is 9 hours ahead.

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