Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Martin the Michael Jordan of curling

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VANCOUVER -- The "Michael Jordan of curling" didn't bring his A or even his B game to the Olympics on Monday but Kevin Martin's Canadian rink was still good enough to defeat the United States to run its record to 8-0.

Canada gave up a rare steal in the first end and finally took control in the fourth end but at one point Martin was curling a paltry 38 per cent while third John Morris was worse at 13 per cent.

"Ooh, lucky number 13," chuckled Morris after Canada rebounded to beat John Shuster's team 7-2.

"Yeah, a little sloppy. I don't think it was our best first five ends but when you have round-robin first place wrapped up at this stage, I think that's sometimes expected."

After the game, Shuster heaped maybe the ultimate praise on Martin, anointing him "the Michael Jordan of curling."

Martin was also laughing at his team's first-half effort but admitted wrapping up first place going into Thursday's semifinals took away from the team's focus.

"We came out with a little bit of complacency or a lack of focus after yesterday's big win," said Martin. "But as soon as they put a scare into us we all came around really well and didn't miss much in the last five ends.

"It was good though, to see the fire in the guys and getting upset, and that was perfect. You can't breeze through these things easy and we did show a little complacency this morning."

Martin has no idea who he will play in the semifinal but one thing is clear -- the teams below him, including Norway's Thomas Ulsrud, are scrambling to avoid him.

"I would rather not play Kevin in the semis," Ulsrud said. "It's Kevin up there and then underneath it's a real battle."

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 23, 2010 C4

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