Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Brier not reason for tossing Fry: Gushue

Cites longtime lack of team chemistry

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IF one were to base the rationale for Brad Gushue's latest move entirely on his team's performance at the Tim Hortons Brier, it wouldn't be Ryan Fry searching for a new team today.

"It's not a decision based on the Brier," Gushue said Saturday, a day after announcing on Facebook Fry had been cut from the team after four seasons together. "If that was the case, I'd be cutting myself."

Gushue, second Adam Casey and lead Geoff Walker will continue to play together in Newfoundland after a disappointing 5-6 performance at the Brier in Saskatoon earlier this month, and Fry, who finished tied for fourth in cumulative shooting percentage among vice-skips at 84 per cent, is suddenly a free agent.

"Ryan played very well at the Brier, and myself and Geoff struggled pretty good," conceded Gushue, 31, who is the lone remaining team member from the Canadian foursome that won Olympic gold in 2006. "But you can't base the decision on one week. We just felt that Ryan and the three of us never seemed to be on the same page. Adam or I would try to get a message across and Ryan would have a different view, and we were never on the same page.

"Going forward, I think Geoff and Adam have a ton of skill and they're working hard. I believe they have the same goals and the same plan for how we want to achieve those goals as I do, and we just didn't feel that Ryan had that."

Fry, 33, joined the Gushue team for the 2008-09 season, moving to Newfoundland from his Winnipeg home, and won four Brier Purple Hearts, helping Newfoundland win a bronze medal at the 2011 Brier in London, Ont.

"Ryan and I have been good buddies for a number of years," said Gushue. "I think he knew that we weren't on the same page because we've discussed it throughout the year and tried to correct it. It would work for a couple games, but just the natural tendencies and personalities come back into it and we didn't feel it would work long-term. He was understanding about it and we're still going to be buddies."

The search is on for Fry's replacement, said Gushue, who will need someone in time for the season-ending Grand Slam Players' Championship, beginning April 17 in Summerside, P.E.I.

"Honestly we've made no decisions," said Gushue. "We've thrown out some feelers and we'll continue to do that over the next week or so to see if there is anybody who's interested. I would imagine we'd have an idea in the next two weeks. But as of right now there is none."

Longtime third Mark Nichols will be playing for Jeff Stoughton on a one-time basis in Summerside, and Gushue said Nichols has no plans to return to curling on a full-time basis next season, so he's not an option.

One name that's getting thrown around, though, is Casey's longtime junior skip from P.E.I., Brett Gallant.

"He's a player who would be on the list," said Gushue. "He is from Atlantic Canada, he's played with Adam before, he's a really good player. But we have several other names we'll be discussing as well."


-- Postmedia News

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 25, 2012 B5

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