Shorthanded Team Edin doubles up on Team Retornaz at Players’ Championship
TORONTO — Reigning Olympic and world champion Niklas Edin and his Swedish squad will have to make due shorthanded to start the Princess Auto Players’ Championship.
The trio of skip Edin, third Oskar Eriksson and second Rasmus Wranå are playing without lead Christoffer Sundgren, who is out day-to-day with a lower-body injury.
“He’s doing OK,” Edin said about Sundgren. “It’s a groin injury that comes and goes for five or six years. He could slide but at the same time he could make it worse. It’s kind of one of those it’ll stick with you for life, probably.
“If he really, really had to play, he probably could, but for now I think he’s better off resting. Hopefully, he can be back for maybe this event, hopefully for the last event for sure.”
“Even yesterday he felt maybe he could play but it doesn’t feel good when he’s sliding or sweeping, so it’s definitely a big issue.”
Edin, who just captured his fourth consecutive world championship Sunday in Las Vegas, opened the Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling major tournament with a 6-3 victory over Italy’s Team Joël Retornaz on Tuesday afternoon at the Mattamy Athletic Centre.
“It feels really good,” Edin said. “We played really, really well actually. A little bit more aggressive here than at worlds. The rocks are pretty sharp and the ice was a little bit slower, so we had to kind of be aggressive. Then being only one sweeper we had to throw them wide on purpose to not to tire out too fast, so to speak, but I think we managed it really well. A really solid first game and a good win.”
Edin blanked the first couple ends before converting for a deuce in the third and stealing one point in the fourth to build a 3-0 lead at the halftime break.
Retornaz, who is competing in his first-ever GSOC event, recovered by taking two in the fifth. The teams alternated single points in six and seven. Holding the hammer coming home, Edin was able to knockout Retornaz’s counter to tack two more points on the board.
“It’s their first Slam game, obviously it’s going to be a little bit different,” Edin said. “Usually, you get used to the event you play often, so I think for them it was a solid first game and I’m expecting them to be a threat in this event.
“They played really well but we got the lead early and then it’s easier to defend than to come back in these games. Always good games against that team.”
Elsewhere in Draw 3, Toronto’s Team John Epping scored four in the fifth and stole three in the sixth to defeat Brad Gushue of St. John’s, N.L., 9-3.
Defending champion Bruce Mouat of Scotland topped Marco Hösli of Switzerland 7-4 and Calgary’s Kevin Koe edged Yannick Schwaller of Switzerland 5-4.
The Princess Auto Players’ Championship continues with Draw 4 at 6:30 p.m. ET.
Broadcast coverage of the Princess Auto Players’ Championship begins Thursday at Noon ET / 9 a.m. PT on Sportsnet, Sportsnet NOW (Canada) and Yare (international).
NO TICK ZONE
Teams cannot tick guards off of the centre line while the five-rock, free guard zone is in effect during all ends. Following an infraction of the rule, the non-offending team may decide to leave the situation as is.
The Princess Auto Players’ Championship is the third event of the 2021-22 Pinty’s Grand Slam of Curling season featuring 16 of the top men’s teams and 16 of the top women’s teams from around the world with a combined $350,000 prize purse. Winning teams earn $35,000. … The Pinty’s Cup will also be awarded to the season champions following the conclusion of the Princess Auto Players’ Championship. Winners of the Pinty’s Cup receive $50,000 bonuses. … Tickets are available at thegrandslamofcurling.com/tickets.