If there is anything I can say about Jamie Murphy is that no matter how bad or how well his CashSpiel circuit goes during the season, it means nothing come time for the Tankard Provincials. Jamie always seems to step it up a notch and end up in the Page Playoff with a chance to represent the Province. It’s no wonder that he is last year’s runner-up, the 2014 Champ, and the 2012 champ. That said, I have a feeling that Jamie Murphy has a fire lit under him from last year’s Tankard loss and is looking for redemption. He has revamped his team this year getting rid of his front end and replacing them with Scott Saccary at second stone and Philip Crowell at lead. This new team has put in the time this year with tons of practicing along with playing in 7 CashSpiels on the ACT and WCT tours. With 2 Quarter final finishes, 1 runner-up, and 2 championships won, they lead the way going into provincials on a hot streak.
My prediction: As much as they come into the event on a hot streak, i think they run out of gas come Page Playoff time.
This one is a no-brainer. Obviously the team bringing the most experience to the table. With Shawn Adams back in Nova Scotia, he took advantage of joining forces with Mark Dacey of whom was a battle of Adams and Dacey for the NS Tankard title every year from 2000 to 2006. This team has the most experience not only at the Brier but also on the WCT Tour. Bringing on the experience of Craig Savill from Ontario was huge for this team and thought it might be the key to winning the NS title this year. Upon hearing the news of Savill battling cancer, I had written this team down to runner up but now that they have announced the replacement to be Ian Fitzner-Leblanc, it has changed my views on their outcome. Fitzy brings great hitting and also the finesse draw shots to the team at second stone. He is also a great person on and off the ice and I don’t think his sweeping abilities should hurt them any. Heck, you only need one sweeper anyway right?! Team Adams played in 7 WCT events this year including 2 Slam events. With a quarter final loss at the GSOC Tour Challenge Tier 2, a Masters of Curling Slam event, 2 other quarter finals appearance on tour, and 1 runner-up event on Tour, this team has played at a high level of competition and should be in top form during the Tankard.
My prediction: Team Adams wins the NS Tankard and take Craig Savill as their fifth man so that Craig can play at the Brier in his hometown of Ottawa. That is only if Craig is able/capable of playing at that time.
This is a team that I really like a lot. Extremely talented group of young guys with a great curling future ahead of them. Stewart graduated from Juniors a few years back and teamed up with Mark Dacey playing third (vice, mate, whatever you want to call it). He unfortunately was not able to grab a NS Tankard title in the years that he played with Dacey but he did gain a lot of knowledge and experience. That said, he has returned to his Skipping days and has done well during the CashSpiel circuit this year. The biggest reason for their success in my opinion is the fact that Thompson was able to get Colten Steele to leave his 2015 Tankard Champion team to join his team to make a run at the 2016 NS Tankard. This team won the Bud Light Men’s CashSpiel in Halifax, lost the semis at the Dave Jones Stanhope Simpson Mayflower CashSpiel, and won the Spitfire Arms CashSpiel in Windsor.
My Prediction: Thompson makes top 4 in Round Robin, gets into the Page Playoffs, and loses a tight one to Adams in the Finals. Runner-up.
Well, this one is a hard one for me. Every year I keep cheering and thinking that this year will be the year that Chad Stevens gets that monkey off of his back and finally wins the NS Tankard but it never seems to happen. Chad went out and got Paul Flemming and Kelly Mittelstadt after losing his front end to Jamie Murphy. This team has played a lot on tour this year and only managed to qualify for playoffs in just over half of the events they played in. On another note though, they did qualify at the GSOC Tour Challenge Tier 2 in Newfoundland but that was really early on the season. Anyway, Chad enters the NS Tankard on a losing streak having only qualified for playoffs once in his last 4 spiels.
My prediction: I say they make playoffs and lose in the 3vs4 game but they also could be that team that catches fire. This is my Dark Horse pick.
Last year’s Nova Scotia Tankard Champions. Glen has a lot of talent as a player and a couple Brier appearances to show for it. Unfortunately for the MacLeod rink, I think they caught fire last year and rode the wave to victory. It was nice to finally see Peter Burgess finally win a NS Tankard title but it was disappointing to not see them play at the Brier after losing out in the “Relegation Round”. Yes CCA, I used the Relegation word. Oh what, CCA is now Curling Canada? Anyway… moving on. This team only played in 4 events during the CashSpiel circuit this year and were actually late at starting their year. I don’t know how much practicing they have done as a team so I cant say they haven’t been on the ice much. Another big deal for this team was losing Colten Steele to Stuart Thompson.
My Prediction: They have a big target on their backs as defending champions and everyone wants to beat them. I think they show up flat for the Tankard and only win a couple games in Round Robin.
Jamie Danbrook, Brent MacDougal, and Paul Dexter teams all bring a vast array of talent on the curling ice but unfortunately, i don’t think any of these three teams bring enough experience or mental toughness to the event. For one of these teams to make playoffs, they will have to upset many teams and be at the top of their game every single game.
My prediction: None of these teams make playoffs but you can count on a couple of these teams handing out a few upsets.
Burned Stone Curling
(All teams at the Tankard deserve to be there. These are just my predictions.)