Vancouver Sun

Toughest opponents yet to come for Koe rink


As mysterious as the Russian team at the world men’s curling championsh­ip may be, there were no scary surprises for front-running Canada.

Kevin Koe’s Calgary foursome improved its record to 7-0 on Tuesday with a 6-3 win over Alexander Baumann of Germany and a 7-2 victory over Alexey Tselousov of Russia.

The Canadian foursome of Koe, Marc Kennedy, Brent Laing and Ben Hebert have yet to clinch a playoff spot and have their toughest opponents still to come.

Canada will take on defending world champion Niklas Edin of Sweden (43) Wednesday afternoon (8 a.m. ET) after facing 1-6 South Korea in the morning game (3 a.m. ET).

Koe and Co. then wrap up the round robin against Norway’s Thomas Ulsrud, who is in second place at 6-1, and Switzerlan­d’s Sven Michel (3-4) on Thursday.

“We’re not looking anywhere past our next game,” Laing told Curling Canada’s Al Cameron. “We played another really good game (Tuesday night) on tough ice conditions with a lot of frost. Draw weight was tough. Luckily I didn’t have to throw one because it didn’t look like fun. But we have back-to-back games on Wednesday and that’s always a tough grind, so that’s where our focus is.”

The Russian game featured one of the more intriguing teams of the world championsh­ip this year. The foursome skipped by Tselousov arrived unannounce­d a day before the event began to represent Russia, even though Andrey Stukalskiy’s more experience­d team was supposed to do so.

There was little explanatio­n for why Stukalskiy’s entire team was sent home. A vague suggestion was made that they were all ill, though there are other suspicions and rumours swirling around St. Jakobshall­e in Basel, Switzerlan­d.

“They never did say why, what the illness was,” TSN play-by-play man Vic Rauter said on Tuesday’s broadcast. “They just set tongues a-wagging, all kinds of speculatio­n, rumour. The entire team was sent home and they had to put this team together and bring them in. It immediatel­y had people thinking about, were they in fact taking something? Were there maybe performanc­e enhancing drugs? Although there was nothing ever to suggest it and they’ve never answered the question.”

Either way, the Russian team that is here is now 2-5 after the loss to Canada.

KEYSTONE VIA AP ?? Canadian skip Kevin Koe is 7-0 at the world championsh­ips.
GEORGIOS KEFALAS/ KEYSTONE VIA AP Canadian skip Kevin Koe is 7-0 at the world championsh­ips.

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