The 88th Brier will officially commence this weekend in St. John’s, Newfoundland. Remarkably it is a rink from Newfoundland and Labrador who are the favourites. The team is skipped by Canadian Olympic gold medalist Brad Gushue, who is remarkably trying to win his first career Brier of his career.
One could compare Gushue over the last decade to the Washington Capitals. He has been great in the Brier during the round robin (as in the Capitals’ case the regular season), but have underperformed badly come playoff time. Gushue has represented Newfoundland and Labrador at every Brier since 2003 (missed 2006 because he won Olympic gold in Turin). During that time he has posted a record of 97-46 in the round robin, but is only 4-12 in playoff games. It will now be interesting to see how much Gushue will be able to get the fans behind him and if he will be able to use home ice to his advantage.
The Brier begins Saturday morning at 10:30 a.m. PT on TSN. Draws will continue at 3:30 p.m. PT on Saturday, 5:30 a.m. PT, 11:30 a.m. PT and 3:30 p.m. PT on Sunday.
Here are the other events I will be watching this weekend:
World Golf Championship—NBC—12 p.m. PT Saturday & 11 a.m. PT Sunday—In one of the biggest golf events ever on Mexican soil, this is the first World Golf Championship of the 2017 season. After the first round, there are six golfers tied for the lead at -4. The list includes Americans Phil Mickelson, Ryan Moore and Jimmy Walker, England’s Ross Fisher and Lee Westwood and Spain’s Jon Rahm. Canada is represented by Mackenzie Hughes of Dundas, Ontario, who is at -1 after round one.
Saturday—NBA—Toronto Raptors @ Milwaukee Bucks—Sportsnet One—5 p.m. PT—The Toronto Raptors lost 105-96 to the Washington Wizards on Wednesday and now play the second game of a back-to-back in Milwaukee on Saturday from the BMO Harris Bradley Center in Wisconsin. The Raptors are now 36-25 on the season, while the Bucks are 26-33. Milwaukee is two games back of the Detroit Pistons for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
Saturday—Alpine Skiing—Women’s Super Giant Slalom World Cup—www.cbcsports.ca—6 p.m. PT—Many of the best alpine speed skiers in the world will take to the hill in Jeongseon, South Korea this weekend. This World Cup is significant because it will be on the Olympic course that will be used for the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang. The World Cup leader in the women’s super giant slalom is Tina Weirather of Lichtenstein. The reigning world champion in the women’s super giant slalom is Nicole Schmidhofer of Austria. You cannot also count out American superstar Lindsey Vonn, who is always dangerous in the women’s super giant slalom discipline.
Saturday—NHL—Detroit Red Wings @ Edmonton Oilers—CBC—7 p.m. PT—The Edmonton Oilers are coming off a six-game road trip where they posted a record of three wins and three losses. Oilers superstar Connor McDavid continues to lead the NHL with 51 assists and 72 points. The Red Wings meanwhile will be playing their second game of a back-to-back as they are in Calgary on Friday. Detroit has not missed the playoffs since 1989-90—ironically the last year the Oilers won the Stanley Cup. They are currently in the basement in the Atlantic Division and ten points back of the Toronto Maple Leafs for a playoff spot.
Saturday—NHL—Vancouver Canucks @ Los Angeles Kings—Sportsnet—7 p.m. PT—The Canucks will try to end a four game losing streak in southern California this weekend. The Kings meanwhile are coming off an impressive come-from-behind 3-2 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday. The Kings were down 2-0 heading into the third period. Then they got early third period goals from Anze Kopitar and Tanner Pearson and then a shootout winner from Kopitar. A newcomer to the Kings this past week was Jarome Iginla, who has been reunited with his former coach Darryl Sutter. The two spent eight seasons together with the Calgary Flames from 2002 to 2011.
Saturday—LPGA—HSBC Champions—Golf Channel—7:30 p.m. PT–In a similar format to the World Golf Championships in Mexico City this weekend, the world’s best female golfers are competing this weekend in Singapore. After two rounds, the current leader is Inbee Park of South Korea, the seven-time major champion and reigning Olympic gold medalist. Park is at -10 and currently leads American Michelle Wie, Thailand’s Ariya Jutanugarn and South Korea’s Mi Jung Hur by a stroke.
Sunday—FIS—World Cup Ski Cross—www.cbcsports.ca—8:30 a.m. PT—The world’s best ski cross racers will be competing this weekend in Blue Mountain, Ontario. The women’s final will be at 8:30 a.m. PT and the men’s final will be at 8:40 a.m. PT. Canadian sports fans will be hoping that reigning Olympic gold medalist Marielle Thompson of Vancouver, B.C. will be in the women’s final and Brady Leman of Calgary, Alberta, who is second in the World Cup men’s standings for 2017-18, is in the men’s final.
Sunday—NHL—New York Islanders @ Calgary Flames—Sportsnet—1 p.m. PT—Two teams battling for playoff spots will compete in Calgary Sunday afternoon in a rare afternoon game at the Scotiabank Saddledome. The Islanders currently have 70 points and are in fifth place in the Metropolitan Division. However in order for them to make the playoffs, they need to have more points than the fourth place team in the Atlantic Division, which are currently the Toronto Maple Leafs at 70 points.
Sunday—NHL—Vancouver Canucks @ Anaheim Ducks—Sportsnet—5 p.m. PT—The Vancouver Canucks end their three game road trip in southern California on Sunday. The Canucks are unlikely to make the postseason, while the Ducks currently lead the St. Louis Blues by seven points for a playoff spot.