SAINT JOHN, N.B. -- Canadas Rachel Homan opened the Ford Womens World Curling Championship with a 7-5 win over Russia on Saturday. The skip and her teammates know properly managing sleep, diet, stress and downtime for another eight days will keep those wins coming. Homan, third Emma Miskew and front end Alison Kreviazuk and Lisa Weagle have played in enough national and international events to know their off-ice schedule impacts the on-ice performance, particularly in the important games at the end of the tournament. The Canadians will sleep as much as they can and eat at pre-scouted establishments that serve healthy food. When they need to mentally "check out", the Ottawa Curling Club foursome will play cards or "Heads Up", which is a game app popularized by Ellen DeGeneres. In short, winning a world title is a marathon and not a sprint. "We make sure were trying to keep it as loose as possible when were not on the ice because its pretty stressful out there wearing the Maple Leaf," Homan said. "We want to be as stress-free as possible when were not playing." For Homan, that means going to the gym a couple of times during the tournament. Miskew doesnt love napping, but she knows its important to lay down, put her feet up and close her eyes for awhile, particularly on a day when Canada plays morning and evening draws and not in the afternoon. Thats Canadas schedule Sunday when the host team faces the Czech Republic in the morning draw and the United States in the evening. Those days are the toughest when it comes to eating at the right time of the day. "The eating schedule is challenging because you eat in the morning, have a game and youre starving to eat a big lunch," Miskew explains. "Youre not really hungry before your next game, but an end or two in youre starving. You almost have to force yourself to eat before the game so youre not dying during the game." Canada had a kind opening-day schedule in Saint John with one game in the afternoon draw. Homan had hammer coming home with the score tied 5-5. She didnt have to throw her last stone because Russian skip Anna Sidorova was heavy with a draw. Latvias Evita Regza, South Koreas Ji-Sun Kim and Swedens Margaretha Sigfridsson also opened with wins, while Scotlands Kerry Barr, Denmarks Madeleine Dupont and Anna Kubeskova of the Czech Republic joined Russia at 0-1. Canadas average age is 25.5 and the Russians are even younger at 23.5. Sidorova, vice-skip Margarita Fomina and front end Alexandra Saitova and Ekaterina Galkina went 3-6 at the Winter Olympics in Sochi. Sidorova, 25, is making her fifth straight appearance at a world championship and her third as a skip. Russia was scheduled to arrive in Saint John on Thursday, but they were delayed until Friday because of winter storms that wreaked havoc on air travel midweek. The Canada-Russia opener wasnt a classic as both teams made mistakes. But when Canada made a costly error, Russia let them off the hook with one of their own. "I cant say were really tired," Sidorova said. "Were ready to play. We still want to win. "We need to be much better than the others. Thats probably the goal this week and hopefully we will (be). The game was pretty tight, but in the end, they were just better than us." Miskews shooting percentage was 90 per cent compared to Fominas 78. Homan outcurled Sidorova 89 to 66 per cent. Saitova at 78 per cent and Galkina at 91 outcurled Kreviazuk and Weagle both at 71. Kreviazuk missed shots in the fifth and seventh ends, but Russia handed momentum right back with lethal errors. Canada scored two points in those ends to lead 5-3. "Its the first game so youre not going to know the ice perfectly," Homan said. "A couple of spots were learning and a few misses here and there, not because were throwing badly, just because were learning the ice." Russia countered with two in the ninth to tie it up. Homans double takeout that end limited damage from Miskew miscue. Another double from the Canadian skip in the eighth erased Russias chance to score two and forced Sidorova to blank the end. Homan was pleased to start the tournament with a win in front of 2,848 at Harbour Station, which seats 6,000 for curling this week. "It wouldnt have been fun to lose that one with everyone coming out to cheer us on," the 24-year-old Canadian skip said. "Im glad we got the win under our belts. Now weve got the night off to have some dinner with friends and family and re-group for tomorrow." Homan and company won the bronze medal at last years world womens championship in Riga, Latvia. Their reward for a 13-0 record at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Montreal was a return trip to the world championship and in their own country this time. The Jennifer Jones team from Winnipeg went undefeated in Sochi to claim gold for Canada. Edmontons Kelsey Rocque won the world junior title earlier this month in Switzerland. Homan wants to continue the domination of Canadian women on the world stage. The last Canadian team to win a womens world curling title was Jones in 2008 in Vernon, B.C. Kelly Scott (2007) and Colleen Jones (2004) earned Canadas other world womens titles in the last decade. NHL
.ca. Hi Kerry, Appreciate all your insight into what goes on in games. Im just looking for an explanation - in Wednesdays Flyers-Capitals game, why didnt Wayne Simmonds receive a third-man in during the line brawl last night? He clearly grabbed Erskine, who was engaged with Lecavalier, allowing Vinnie a free cheap-shot right to the mush!Thanks,Chris --- Hey Kerry, Seeing the Flyers-Caps line brawl last night, whats the most interesting story from your officiating days when it came to breaking them up? Paul McLane Chris: You are correct in your assessment that Wayne Simmonds deserved a game misconduct when he grabbed John Erskine around the neck allowing Vincent Lecavalier a free shot as the players fell to the ice. NFL
. The Canucks avoided salary arbitration with Hansen by signing him to a US$4.05-million, three-year deal on Thursday. http://www.ourjerseysonline.com/. The Blainville, Que., native won her singles match before teaming up with Marie-Eve Pelletier of Repentigny, Que. NBA
. -- Ryan Millers debut for the St.MONTREAL -- There was at least one tight battle in Rachel Homans 10 straight victories at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts. Homan and her Canada rink from Ottawa had to fight back from a 3-0 deficit to defeat Saskatchewans Stefanie Lawton 7-6 on Thursday afternoon at the Maurice Richard Arena. Then the Homan rink posted an 8-5 victory over Newfoundlands Heather Strong (4-7) in an evening match to secure first place in the round robin portion of the tournament. "Its good to have a game like that," Homan said of her win over Saskatchewan (8-2). "All the time, every day, all week long would be tough, but it was a great battle by both teams." Homan mused this week about her chances to go undefeated in the Scotties, which hasnt been done since Linda Moore in 1985. Jennifer Jones, now competing for Canada at the Winter Olympics, went undefeated in the round robin last year in Kingston, Ont., but then was beaten by Homan in the final. She has one round robin game left Friday against New Brunswicks Andrea Crawford (6-4), who saw her playoff hopes dashed when Albertas Val Sweeting (8-3) scored three in the ninth and then stole one in the 10th to defeat Manitobas Chelsea Carey (8-2) 7-4. Sweeting clinched a playoff spot and ensured no tiebreaker games would be needed. Carey had a chance at a big score in the 10th, but her angle raise just failed to dislodge Sweetings shot stone. Carey needs a win over P.E.I.s Kim Dolan (3-7) on Friday to finish second and play Homan in the first versus second playoff game on Friday night. The loser of that game plays the winner of the third-versus-fourth game in the semifinal on Saturday. The bronze medal game and the final are on Sunday. Lawton, who lost to Manitoba in the round robin, is in third place. She has a game left against Yukons Sarah Koltun (1-9). Roars went up from the 2,415 spectators at the evening draw as Quebecs Allison Ross (2-9) ended her tournament with a 5-3 win over Ontarios Allison Flaxey (3-7). Flaxey plays Nova Scotias Heather Smith (3-7) on Friday. Going into the Saskatchewan game, Homans rink had outscored eight opponents by a combined 71-30 and had not had to play a full 10 ends. Some wondered if the one-sided wins would leave her vulnerable in the playoffs because she had yet to make any shots under pressure.dddddddddddd She answered that with solid play in a close match, although one in which Saskatchewans shot making faltered in the second half. "That wasnt our strongest game as a team," said Lawton. "We can pick it up. "Rachels team played great and put pressure on us. We can finetune a few of those shots and make them better." Lawton said the fact that her squad didnt have its A-game gives her hope if she ends up meeting Homan again in the playoffs. "I know we can play better and well come out and push them even more," she said. "We had the lead and played a strong first half, but in the second half we werent as strong and that showed on the scoreboard." Homan wrecked on a guard to let Lawton score three in the second end. Canada got two back in the third and another two in the seventh to make it 5-5. It was Lawtons turn to miss in the eighth with a draw that went a little long to give Homan her first lead with a steal of one. Lawton tied it in the ninth, but Homan had the hammer in the final end. She still hasnt had to throw a 10th-end last rock because Lawtons final steal attempt fell just short. Carey clinched a playoff spot in the afternoon with a 9-8 win over Flaxey on a point in an extra end. "Thats step one -- making the playoffs," said Carey. "If Im in the playoffs, Im a happy camper." Crawford downed Koltun 5-4 and Dolan beat Smith 7-5. Flaxey started the Scotties 1-5, but emerged as a spoiler Wednesday with victories over Alberta and the Yukon. She gave Carey a scare with a three in the sixth and another two in the eighth for a 7-5 lead. But Carey rallied with three in the ninth and held Flaxey to one in the 10th to force an extra end. In the morning draw, Sweeting earned a 10-3 win over Ross. Ross opened with the hammer but Sweeting had steals of two, three and two points over the first three ends for a commanding 7-0 lead before Quebec scored one in the fourth. The other early game saw B.C.s Kesa Van Osch claim a 7-3 victory over Strong. ' ' '