Jeremy Freeborns Weekend Sports Preview

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One year from now the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang will be into full swing. Calgary’s Kaillie Humphries will be attempting to win her third consecutive Olympic gold medal after placing first at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver and the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi. However, this weekend Humphries will be attempting to win her third World Championship, as she previously won in Lake Placid in 2012 and St. Moritz in 2013. After two of four runs in Konigssee, Germany, Humphries and her brakewoman Melissa Lotholz of Barrhead, Alberta sit in second place, but only two one-hundredths of a second back of American leaders Elana Meyers Taylor and Kehri Jones. Heat three will be 7:15 a.m. on Saturday and heat four will be 8:45 a.m. on Saturday. The races can be seen on www.cbc.ca/sports. Here are the other events I will be watching this weekend:

Saturday

Curling—2017 Scotties Tournament of Hearts—Ontario vs. Canada—TSN—11:30 a.m. PT—In one of the most intriguing matchups during the entire round robin of the 2017 Scotties Tournament of Hearts in St. Catherines, Ontario, Team Canada’s Chelsea Carey takes on Ontario’s Rachel Homan. Carey, who is currently based in Calgary, is not the favourite to win this year’s Scotties even though she is the defending champion. That nod goes to Homan, who won the 2013 and 2014 Scotties Tournament of Hearts.

NHL—Edmonton Oilers @ Chicago Blackhawks—Sportsnet—4 p.m. PT—The Edmonton Oilers will try to rebound after a disappointing 5-1 loss to Chicago last Saturday. However since then the Oilers won two games rather convincingly—5-2 over Arizona on Tuesday and 6-3 over Philadelphia on Thursday. This will be the Oilers’ first of six straight games on the road. Connor McDavid continues to lead the NHL in points with 66. He has two more points than Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Blackhawks are red hot. They have won five straight games and are unbeaten for the month of February.

Curling—2017 Scotties Tournament of Hearts—Alberta vs. Northern Ontario—TSN2—4:30 p.m. PT—In an interesting Saturday night matchup at the Scotties in St. Catharines, Canadian Olympic bronze medalist Shannon Kleibrink of Calgary will be taking on Thunder Bay’s Krista McCarville, the 2016 Scotties Tournament of Hearts finalist. The focus will be on Kleibrink’s back, which is not 100%. If she is experiencing any significant pain, do not be surprised if Heather Nedohin comes in to see action.

The Scotties Tournament of Hearts will continue on Sunday with three more draws at 6:30 a.m. PT, 11:30 a.m. PT and 4:30 p.m. PT on TSN. Quebec’s Eve Belisle, who is making her third Scotties appearance as skip, will be facing Northern Ontario Sunday morning and Alberta Sunday afternoon. Another interesting matchup Sunday will be Ontario’s Rachel Homan versus British Columbia champion Marla Mallett, who reached the 2009 Scotties Tournament of Hearts Final in Victoria before losing to Jennifer Jones.

Luge—World Cup—men’s singles—www.cbcsports.ca—5:20 p.m. PT—The best men’s lugers in the world will be competing this weekend in Pyeongchang, South Korea. This World Cup race is significant because it will come only one year prior to the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang. The current World Cup leader is Roman Repilov of Russia who has 732 points. He leads Felix Loch of Germany, the three-time Olympic gold medalist, by 77 points. Canada’s top male lugers at the moment are Mitchel Malyk and Sam Edney, both of Calgary. They are tied for 22nd place in the World Cup standings.

NHL—Calgary Flames @ Vancouver Canucks—CBC—7 p.m. PT—The Canucks will be having their first game of a back-to-back. Vancouver is currently sitting in sixth place in the Pacific Division and five points back of the Flames for a playoff spot. A loss to the Flames would be huge for Vancouver. If the Canucks don’t go on a winning streak anytime soon, there is a real possibility that they may consider trading one or both of the Sedin twins.

Luge—World Cup—team relay—www.cbcsports.ca—7:30 p.m. PT—Team Canada will be a medal contender in the team relay luge World Cup in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Canada’s strength will be in the women’s singles portion as the Canadians will be represented by either Alex Gough of Calgary (who is 6th in the World Cup rankings) or Kimberley McRae of Victoria (who is seventh in the World Cup rankings). Team Canada will also be counting on the men’s doubles team of Tristan Walker and Justin Snith, who finished fourth in Oberhof, Germany two weeks ago. Team Canada is currently ranked second in the World Cup standings, 61 points back of the heavily favoured Germans.

Snowboarding—World Cup—halfpipe—www.cbcsports.ca—8 p.m. PT—The world’s best halfpipe snowboarders will get to compete at the Olympic pipe this weekend in Pyeongchang. All of the top American snowboarders will be present. They include Shaun White, Chase Josey, Kelly Clark and Chloe Kim.

Sunday

Bobsled—World Championships—two-man—www.cbcsports.ca—3 a.m. PT—The attention this weekend will be on World Cup leader Francesco Friedrich of Germany, who has won four of the seven World Cup events this year. Canada will be represented by drivers Justin Kripps of Summerland, British Columbia and Chris Spring of Calgary, who finished second and third respectively at the World Cup in Lake Placid, New York in December. However it should be worth noting that the teams from Germany and Latvia were not present at Lake Placid, as they went home early before Christmas to do some testing on their sleds.

NHL—Philadelphia Flyers @ Vancouver Canucks—Sportsnet—7 p.m. PT—The Philadelphia Flyers are currently two points back of the Toronto Maple Leafs for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference and played poorly this past week when they traveled through Alberta. One surprise with the Flyers was that Michael Neuvirth played both games against the Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers on back-to-back nights. After a respectable performance where he gave up only two goals in a 3-1 loss to the Flames on Wednesday, he did not look comfortable in a 6-3 loss to the Oilers on Thursday.

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