Tag Archives: Brendan

4th time was a charm for Brendan Bottcher’s team

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Brendan Bottcher broke through

Heading into last night’s Brier final, Bottcher’s Alberta rink was in danger of becoming the Buffalo Bills of curling. Another loss in the title game would make it four in a row — just like those infamous ’90s Bills teams.

Never mind that reaching four consecutive finals in a tournament as competitive as the Brier is a great accomplishment. Or that Bottcher’s team was the underdog in each of the four finals. Or that the opposing skips in those games — Brad Gushue in ’18 and ’20, Kevin Koe in 2019 and this year — are among the greatest ever. Or that legends Russ and Glenn Howard each lost the Brier final four times as a skip (though they both won a pair too). Four consecutive defeats on men’s curling’s biggest stage could have turned Bottcher into a punchline.

Instead, his Alberta team got the last laugh, defeating Koe’s defending-champion Team Canada 4-2 last night in the Calgary bubble. It’s the first Brier title for the 29-year-old Bottcher and his teammates Darren Moulding, Bradley Thiessen and Karrick Martin, who had all endured the three consecutive title-game defeats together. “It sucked the first time, it sucked the second time and it sucked just as much the third time,” Bottcher said after curling 97 per cent last night to become the first skip other than Koe or Gushue to win the Brier since 2015.

A few other takeaways from the Brier:

The Kevin Koe debate will have to wait. If he’d won a record fifth Brier title as a skip last night, we’d be arguing right now about whether Koe is the greatest men’s curler of all time. But the 46-year-old remains tied with Ernie Richardson, Randy Ferbey and Kevin Martin with four titles. Ferbey owns more world titles than Martin, but Martin won an Olympic gold medal in Vancouver, so the edge probably goes to him for now. Koe, though, is clearly still going strong. He’ll be among the favourites at the Canadian Olympic curling trials, which he won four years ago.

Wayne Middaugh stole the show. The 53-year-old hadn’t competed in a Brier in eight years and hadn’t skipped in one in 16. His curling career effectively ended five years ago when he suffered a horrible leg injury while skiing. But when his old friend and teammate Glenn Howard broke several ribs in a recent snowmobile crash (fellas — take it easy out there!) he asked Middaugh to skip his team at the Brier. Middaugh became the story of the tournament by going 7-1 in the round robin to win Pool A and then winning his opening game in the championship pool. Three straight losses after that caused him to barely miss out on the three-team playoffs, but what a run.

There’s still lots of curling left. Two events down in the Calgary bubble, five to go. The Canadian mixed doubles championship starts Thursday and runs for a week. Then Bottcher’s team will represent Canada in the men’s world championship April 2-11. Back-to-back Grand Slam of Curling events will be held April 14-25 before Scotties champion Kerri Einarson’s team represents Canada at the women’s world championship starting April 30.

Brendan Bottcher curled 97% and finally snapped his Brier losing streak, as his Alberta rink defeated Kevin Koe 4-2. 1:59

Quickly…

Notice anything weird about the March Madness bracket? For the first time in 45 years, both Duke and Kentucky are missing. Since then the schools have combined to win nine NCAA men’s basketball titles and send countless players to the NBA. Both were ranked in the top 10 in the pre-season Associated Press poll. But Kentucky went 9-16 and Duke was 13-11 and already looking like it would miss the tournament when the program shut itself down last week after a positive COVID-19 test. The clear favourite to win the tournament, which tips off later this week in a bubble-like environment in Indianapolis, is Gonzaga. The Bulldogs are 26-0 and have an important Canadian player in junior guard Andrew Nembhard. The other No. 1 seeds are Michigan, Illinois and Baylor. The schedule is also a little weird this year. Rather than the 64-team field getting started on Thursday, the four play-in games will be held that day and the main event starts Friday. Read more about the bracket here.

Corey Conners was in contention again. A week after finishing third at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, the Canadian golfer had another strong showing at an even more prestigious tournament. Conners shot a final-round 66 yesterday to finish seventh at the Players Championship — four shots behind winner Justin Thomas. The 29-year-old from Listowel, Ont., has pocketed more than $ 1.1 million US in prize money over the last two weeks and risen to 44th in the official world rankings and 23rd in the FedEx Cup standings.

Canadian freestyle skiers and snowboarders are racking up medals at their world championships. In the past seven days, skier Mikael Kingsbury won double gold in the men’s moguls and dual moguls; Simon d’Artois and Rachael Karker scored silver in, respectively, the men’s and women’s ski halfpipe; Seb Toutant took silver in the men’s snowboard slopestyle; and Megan Oldham grabbed bronze in the women’s ski slopestyle. The world championships for ski and snowboard cross were held back in February, and Eliot Grondin took bronze in the men’s snowboard event. The final world-championship events of the season take place Tuesday, when the men’s and women’s ski and snowboard big air finals will be held in Aspen. Canadians Laurie Blouin, Mark McMorris and Max Parrot will compete in the snowboard competitions. Qualifying for the ski events was still in progress at our publish time. Watch the ski finals live from noon-1:30 p.m. ET and the snowboard finals from 3:30-5 p.m. ET on CBCSports.ca and the CBC Sports app.

And in case you missed it…

A few other things from the weekend you should know about:

Genie Bouchard fell just short of her first tournament win since 2014. The Canadian tennis player reached the final of the modest Guadalajara Open, where she lost 6-2, 7-5 Saturday to 57th-ranked Sara Sorribes Tormo. Bouchard, who was once ranked as high as fifth, rose from 144th to 116th with her run to the final in Mexico. Read more about it and watch highlights here.

Drew Brees retired. The NFL’s all-time leader in passing yards and completions announced yesterday he’s hanging it up after 20 seasons. The last 15 came with the Saints, who took a chance on Brees coming off a career-threatening shoulder injury and ended up creating one of the great QB-coach partnerships in football history. With the inventive Sean Payton designing and calling the plays and Brees executing them to perfection with his pinpoint accuracy and sharp mind, the Saints made a miraculous run to the second round of the playoffs in their first season together — 2006, the year after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans. Three years later, they won the franchise’s first (and still only) Super Bowl, and the Saints made the playoffs in nine of the last 15 years — pretty remarkable for a team that was a laughingstock before Brees arrived. Read more about his brilliant career here.

Marvin Hagler died. One of the most beloved boxers ever, Hagler is best known for his 1980s middleweight battles with Sugar Ray Leonard, Roberto Duran and, of course, Thomas Hearns. The 1985 Hagler-Hearns fight lasted only eight minutes but is revered for the sheer amount of violence the fighters heaped on each other — especially in the first round, which some consider the greatest ever fought — before Hagler stopped Hearns in the third. Hagler won a 15-round decision over Duran in 1983 but lost on points to Leonard in 1987 in his final bout. Hagler died Saturday at the age of 66. Read more about his life and career here and (do yourself a favour) watch that legendary first round of Hagler-Hearns here.

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Brendan Bottcher wins 1st career Brier

Brendan Bottcher won curling’s version of the Battle of Alberta on Sunday night at the Canadian men’s curling championship.

The Alberta skip defeated Wild Card Two’s Kevin Koe 4-2 to win his first Tim Hortons Brier title.

Bottcher sat three in the 10th end and Koe conceded when he didn’t have any options to score two for the tie. Bottcher made it to the last three Brier finals but settled for silver each time.

“Those three years were tough, each one of them for different reasons,” he said. “But it just makes tonight so much more special that we persevered and we worked so hard.”

Koe was trying to win a record fifth Brier title as a skip.

The teams blanked five of the first six ends, with Alberta forcing Wild Card Two to a single in the third.

The game finally opened up in the seventh end as Koe flashed a stone after it picked. He missed a double-takeout to set up Bottcher for a draw for three.

Bottcher kept the pressure on by forcing Koe to make a tough double-takeout against five to salvage a single. In the ninth, Bottcher missed a double for two and settled for one point.

WATCH | Bottcher wins Brier:

Brendan Bottcher curled 97% and finally snapped his Brier losing streak, as his Alberta rink defeated Kevin Koe 4-2. 1:59

Down two with hammer, Koe, B.J. Neufeld, John Morris and Ben Hebert were unable to build the end they wanted for the necessary pair to force an extra.

“We just didn’t take advantage,” Koe said. “They had two misses in 10 and we should have been able to come out of that with at least a deuce. Capitalizing on your opportunities when there isn’t many out there (is key).”

After Koe conceded, Bottcher and teammates Darren Moulding, Brad Thiessen and Karrick Martin enjoyed a celebratory team hug by the side of the sheet in the spectator-free Markin MacPhail Centre.

The Brier was the second of seven competitions to be held in the Canada Olympic Park bubble. The Canadian women’s championship kicked things off last month.

Earlier in the day, Bottcher hit a game-winning angle-raise for a 6-5 semifinal win over Saskatchewan’s Matt Dunstone.

Bottcher removed the Saskatchewan stone from the button and stuck around to score two points for the victory.

‘Nothing to hang our heads about’

“Obviously it was a super-difficult shot,” Bottcher said. “But those are the moments we’re playing for, for those kind of shots.”

Koe, from Calgary, defeated Bottcher in the 2019 final. He represented Alberta that year and Bottcher, from Sherwood Park, Alta., was Team Wild Card.

The field was expanded from 16 to 18 teams for this season only to accommodate teams that didn’t get a chance to compete in provincial/territorial playdowns due to the pandemic.

Bottcher was selected to represent Alberta and Koe got the second of three wild-card entries based on the Canadian rankings.

Koe finished first in the championship pool with a 10-2 record. Dunstone and Bottcher were next at 9-3.

Dunstone was hoping to reach his first career Brier final after winning bronze last year.

“There’s nothing to hang our heads about,” he said. “It was a world-class game. They played awesome and we played awesome.

“The curling gods were wearing a blue sweater today. That’s all there is to it. It totally stinks but this isn’t the end of us.”

The last Saskatchewan team to win the Brier was skipped by Rick Folk in 1980.

Koe remains tied with Ernie Richardson, Randy Ferbey and Kevin Martin with four Brier wins as a skip.

Koe was trying to become the first hometown winner since Brad Gushue won in St. John’s, N.L., in 2017. Gushue defended his crown the following year and also won last season.

Bottcher will represent Canada at the April 2-11 world men’s curling championship in the same venue.

The national champions also get a berth in the Olympic Trials in November and $ 100,000 of the $ 300,000 total purse. Koe’s team earned $ 60,000 for the silver.

Bottcher was named the winner of the Ross Harstone sportsmanship award earlier in the day. Thiessen was named a first-team all-star along with Gushue, Saskatchewan third Braeden Moskowy and Wild Card Two lead Ben Hebert.

Koe was named to the second-team all-star list with Neufeld at third, Canada second Brett Gallant and Northern Ontario lead Ryan Harnden.

Manitoba-based Kerri Einarson is the reigning Scotties Tournament of Hearts champion.

She’ll represent Canada at the April 30-May 9 world women’s curling championship. That event is slated to be the seventh and final event in the Canada Olympic Park hub.

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Capitals forward Brendan Leipsic apologizes after ‘inappropriate and offensive’ comments go public

Washington Capitals forward Brendan Leipsic is apologizing after a private group chat that included misogynistic comments was leaked on Wednesday.

Screenshots from the chat featuring Leipsic, who is from Winnipeg, were published on the Instagram account @angelszeee2020. That account has since deleted them, but they continue to circulate on social media.

In a statement on Twitter, Leipsic said his friend’s account was hacked and acknowledged he was part of those conversations.

“I fully recognize how inappropriate and offensive these comments are and sincerely apologize to everyone for my actions. I am committed to learning from this and becoming a better person by taking time to determine how to move forward in an accountable, meaningful way. I am truly sorry,” Leipsic said.

‘Unacceptable and offensive’

In a statement to CBC Sports, the Capitals said they were investigating the situation.

“We are aware of the unacceptable and offensive comments made by Brendan Leipsic in a private conversation on social media. We will handle this matter internally,” the statement read.

Jack Rodewald, a 26-year-old also from Winnipeg, who has played 10 games with Ottawa Senators since 2018, was also involved in the group chat.

The NHL later released a statement saying it would address the “inexcusable conduct moving forward.

“The National Hockey League strongly condemns the misogynistic and reprehensible remarks made by players Brendan Leipsic and Jack Rodewald…. There is no place in our league for such statements, attitudes and behaviour, no matter the forum,” the statement read.

Leipsic, 25, has played parts of four seasons in the NHL with the Toronto Maple Leafs, Vancouver Canucks, Los Angeles Kings and Capitals.

Mocks women, teammates

In one instance of messaging in the group chat, Leipsic posted a photo of a former teammate’s wife and wrote “look how fat” she “is lol.”

Leipsic also refers to women as pigs and makes light of other women’s weights in various other messages.

He also insults other NHL players.

In one, he reposted a picture of Canucks forward Jake Virtanen on vacation with friends, calling it “easily the worst crew in the world.”

He also posted a picture of Capitals teammates with the comment “f–k they’re losers.”

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See Miranda Lambert’s Sweet Birthday Message for Husband Brendan McLoughlin

See Miranda Lambert’s Sweet Birthday Message for Husband Brendan McLoughlin | Entertainment Tonight

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Miranda Lambert Praises ‘Sweet Husband’ Brendan McLoughlin at Her Concert: ‘I’m Not Sad Anymore’

Miranda Lambert Praises ‘Sweet Husband’ Brendan McLoughlin at Her Concert: ‘I’m Not Sad Anymore’ | Entertainment Tonight

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Miranda Lambert Posts Rare Romantic Snap With Husband Brendan McLoughlin

Miranda Lambert Posts Rare Romantic Snap With Husband Brendan McLoughlin | Entertainment Tonight

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Miranda Lambert Shares Rare Photo of Husband Brendan Mcloughlin With Rescue Pups

Miranda Lambert Shares Rare Photo of Husband Brendan Mcloughlin With Rescue Pups | Entertainment Tonight

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Brendan Bottcher captures men's Canadian Open curling title

Edmonton's Brendan Bottcher scored a 6-3 win over Toronto's John Epping to claim the Grand Slam of Curling Canadian Open title in North Battleford, Sask., on Sunday.

Bottcher, third Darren Moulding, second Brad Thiessen and lead Karrick Martin collected $ 30,000 from the $ 250,000 combined purse plus a berth in the season-ending Champions Cup.

Bottcher qualified through the A-side of the triple knockout tournament with a 3-0 record and scored playoff wins Saturday over Brad Jacobs of Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., and Brad Gushue of St. John's, N.L., to reach their second Grand Slam of Curling final this season. Bottcher finished runner-up to Jacobs at the Tour Challenge in November.

The Canadian Open is the only one of the seven Grand Slam of Curling tournaments to use a 16-team triple knockout preliminary format — instead of round-robin pool play — where teams had to win three games before they lost three in order to qualify for the playoffs.

In the women's final set for later Sunday, Ottawa's Rachel Homan will face Switzerland's Silvana Tirinzoni.

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