OK, OK, OK! I’ll weigh in on the two most recent examples of one of the hallmarks of shot selection, risk versus reward, but before I do, please understand that my view on these very high profile examples is strictly a personal one.
Example #1 occurred in the Brier 1v2 game when in the last end, with a two point lead, Glenn Howard choose to put the game on the line by attempting a high risk double takeout. He missed, rubbing his own stone to a position which allowed Jeff Stoughton an open draw for three and the ultimate win. Was the risk worth the reward? In my mind, not in 20/20 hindsight, I said this as Glenn made his way down the ice to the deliver what turned out to be the fateful shot, no it was not! Had I been coaching and a time out was called and my advice sought, I would have counselled against playing the shot. I might have even sprawled across the hog line to make my point.
My reason would have been based upon the fact that Team ON had spent the entire game gaining and maintaining control on the scoreboard. It was the 10th end with a two point lead and an opposition stone wide open to a takeout. Hit that stone, have Team MB draw for two and take last stone advantage into the extra end, win and go to the Brier final. I’m not sure, given the position of the stones in question when Glenn attempted the shot, that the double was very likely in the first place. I’m sure Glenn might say that it was much more likely that his shot would have removed the MB stone thus accomplishing the same thing as hitting the wide open MB stone resulting in the extra end. Well, yes, but the risks between the two shots were vastly different! In short, the risk was not worth the reward even if he had made the shot, the risk/reward ratio was not good.
Example #2 came about in the Brier final between Team NO and MB when skip Brad Jacobs (NO) played a “pick” of a shot MB stone to score three and even though the game was still in its early stage, pretty much salted the game away for the first Northern Ontario Brier victory since 1985. That risk was worth the reward for two reasons. It was early in the game and control of the game, which NO had, was not in jeopardy. Clearly the reward had a huge upside and the risk, in comparison was small. Again, had I been coaching NO and a time out was called and my advice was sought, my reply would have been, “Play the shot Brad”!
I think the world of Glenn and he knows it but in this case, Team ON made a bad decision and Team NO made a good one!
The risk/reward situation is personal and many times it’s up to the player delivering the shot and that’s OK as long as the ratio between the two is well thought out before the shot is attempted. If it is and the shot is missed, well, as I’ve stated many times in the past, when you lose the game, don’t also lose the lesson it affords!