Curling champ Craig Savill makes his Brier picks

CRAIG SAVILL, POSTMEDIA

Koe

Team Canada skip Kevin Koe has lost quite a bit this year, but is still considered a contender. (Michael Burns photo)

 

OTTAWA – Guest analyst and Canadian, world curling and Brier champion Craig Savill presents his predictions for this year’s Tim Hortons Brier in St. John’s:

Relegation Round:

Nunavut

With little tour experience and games under their belt, they will be hard pressed to win a game in relegation.

P.E.I.

Skip Eddie MacKenzie, skip is one of the nicest guys but they will not get out of relegation. Their lead Robbie Doherty is a riot.

Yukon

Skip Craig Kochan wins the award for the most kilometres travelled to get a purple heart. The Ontario native might just make them competitive to get through relegation.

Nova Scotia

The relegation winner. They will come just inches away from getting through this ordeal in Ottawa last year. When skip Jamie Murphy has some confidence the guy can play with the best of them.

The Main Draw

New Brunswick

All experienced Brier players, Team Mike Kennedy is returning. However, this field is going to eat them up. If you are not willing to take your lumps on tour then you won’t be competitive at the Brier.

Northwest Territories

We all hope for a re-occurrence of 2012 when skip Jamie Koe made the playoffs. Although his team has improved with Chris Schille playing third, it won’t happen. Buy the skip a drink; he’s a Patch legend. #KeepCalmAndKoeOn

Saskatchewan

Skip Adam Casey wins second place for kilometres travelled for a purple heart although he wins if you include all their touring. Casey will have to stand on his head to keep this team competitive, but this team will upset some top seeds.

Alberta

Brier rookies coming through! Skip Brendan Bottcher’s backend will be energetic and pumped for their first Brier. Their mid-season acquisition of third Darren Moulding paid off. They will have to play like they did at the provincials to stay relevant at the Brier.

Quebec

Skip Jean-Michel Ménard makes it look easy punching a ticket to the Brier — seventh trip in a row. Menard is a master of getting rocks in play, which makes his games entertaining to watch. The over-under for number of in-turns thrown all week by Menard is set at 11. I bet you can’t make him throw one.

Ontario

Always a crowd favourite, skip Glenn Howard is going to his 45th Brier (well maybe a few less). I’m ranking them low because this field is exceptional and they have struggled on tour this year. Howard and third Richard Hart always play well at the Brier so they will stay in the hunt for a while. Reading this will probably cheese them off just enough so they make a run. #Hotshotfinalist

British Columbia

It’s hard to bet against skip John Morris as he always seems to land on his feet. If he can get third Jim Cotter rolling early, they will be the dark horse.

Playoff Teams

Manitoba

Brier rookies no more, skip Mike McEwen and the boys will be setting their sights on winning and nothing less. Although they have had an average year on tour (by their standards), they got through the toughest province and are peaking.

Northern Ontario

The reigning Olympic Champs are back. They have shown small glimpses of brilliance on tour but will need to bring it together for a full week. Grab a red bull and watch. These guys play well when they play with passion. #doubleredbull

Team Canada

Team Kevin Koe has struggled and have actually looked normal. I don’t understand how but they lost lots this year. However these guys always play well at the Brier. Watch out if Koe catches fire. They should make the playoffs and earn a few all-star awards.

Newfoundland

I’m going with the hometown favourites to win. It would be a pretty special moment to see skip Brad Gushue win at home. Team Gushue/Mark Nichols has been really good this year especially considering that Brad was out until Christmas with an injury. The building is going to be loud and very one-sided all week.

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