LAS VEGAS — On this desert night in Las Vegas, Swedish skip Niklas Edin wasn’t going to lose.
Edin was flawless, surgical with his takeouts, deft in his delivery — he finally won a championship game again after a year of heartbreaking championship losses.
Sweden’s Edin defeated Canada’s Brad Gushue 7-3 to claim his third world championship title in his eighth appearance.
Niklas Edin’s Swedish rink easily beat Canada 7-3 on Sunday.1:14
“I think this one means the most,” an emotional Edin said after the win. “It’s been such a tough year with a lot of tough losses. If we would have lost this one too, it might have been devastating.”
Within the last 365 days, Edin’s team lost the world championship to Gushue and then the Olympic gold-medal game to the Americans.
This world championship was personal for Edin.
“I needed to win this gold here. It really helps mentally going forward. It’s just a really great feeling.”
Edin curled 95 per cent to lead all curlers en route to victory. While he was still beaming after the win, he was very candid about how challenging the week was for him. After this season, he will undergo his seventh and eighth surgeries — these two will be on his back and elbow.
“This week has been the most exhausting week I’ve been through in my life, I think,” he said.
“I’ve been tired the whole time; I tried to find gaps to rest between the games, but I just felt like we needed to save energy as much as we could through the round robin.”
Turning point of the game
It was two shots that swung the momentum in the game. Edin made a brilliant takeout to squeeze out two of Canada’s rocks. Gushue missed his draw short immediately after that, resulting in a steal of two for Sweden and a 4-0 commanding lead. They never looked back.
“It blew the game wide open and once you’re down 4-0 and especially 5-0, you’re not going to come back against Niklas Edin.”
Gushue was obviously disappointed after the loss.
“It wasn’t our best effort and Niklas and his team played great today,” he said. “I guess the only positive thing to look at is that even if we had played a great game, they probably still would have won with how well they played. They were certainly the best team today.”
The pro-Canadian crowd that had been boisterous all week was taken out of the game early and never really had a chance to get whipped into a frenzy.
Gushue was apologetic for their play.
“That’s probably what disappoints me the most. We didn’t put up a great performance here today and certainly didn’t give them their money’s worth. But we certainly appreciate them coming all the way down here and supporting us.”
Putting things in perspective
Gushue has won big games and has lost big games. It’s been within the last couple of years that his perspective on curling has changed — he’s now able to realize there’s life outside of it.
After the game, he was provided a reality check about what the loss means moving forward and talked about the bus crash tragedy in Humboldt, Sask.
“Being a father, there are a lot bigger things in the world. You heard the news on Friday. It’s a curling game. It’s disappointing, but it’s just a game,” Gushue said.
He went on.
“At the end of the day, for me personally, I’ve been playing this game for twenty-odd years and I’ve put together a lot of good results. A loss here is not going to define my career or as a person.”
Gushue and his team now head to Toronto to compete in the second-last Grand Slam event of the season.
“I’m upset, but come Tuesday, I’ll be fine,” he said. “As bad as it is to get your ass kicked, it certainly is easier to lose in that fashion.”
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