Switcheroo: Struggling Team Canada flips skip, vice at the Brier

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  • Pat Simmons
    Canadian curler
Team Canada has made a switch, at the Brier. Vice Pat Simmons (back to us) and skip John Morris (right) have flipped positions for their game against Northwest Territories. (Michael Burns/Curling Canada)
Team Canada has made a switch, at the Brier. Vice Pat Simmons (back to us) and skip John Morris (right) have flipped positions for their game against Northwest Territories. (Michael Burns/Curling Canada)

With three losses in their first five games at The Brier, Team Canada has decided to make a change.

The sort of defending champions - three team members who were a part of the 2014 championship have returned with a new skip - are looking for a spark.

For their sixth game of the tournament, this afternoon, against Northwest Territories, the team decided to tweak the line up, by flipping the positions of skip John Morris and third Pat Simmons.

Morris was coming off his worst game of the Brier, shooting 64% in Monday night's 8-4 loss to Sakatchewan's Steve Laycock. Although he had booked an acceptable 80% for the week so far, the team had not found the results it wanted and was down 7 - nothing to Laycock after four ends. However, as a unit, Team Canada stood fourth in shooting percentage (86%), even after the loss to Saskatchewan.

Simmons, who stood 6th among thirds (shooting 86% after five games) is a former skip, himself, having led Saskatchewan to four straight Brier appearances between 2005 and 2008, before moving to Alberta to play vice for Kevin Koe. Along with lead Nolan Thiessen and second Carter Rycroft, they won the 2014 national championship.

Morris took over skipping the team, after Koe left to form a new team, at the end of last season.

Team Canada is looking for some answers as it gets ready for one of the most anticipated games of the week, taking on Koe and his new Alberta rink tonight, in Draw 10.

Although many fans look at tonight's game as a grudge match, Thiessen  sees it another way.

“I’m going to be friends with Kevin the rest of my life," Thiessen told me. "I’m not too concerned about a one-off game at The Brier. That being said, I wanna beat him. Because they’re standing in the way of us winning The Brier. And that’s all that matters on Tuesday night.”

Whether Team Canada's flipping of positions for Morris and Simmons is a permanent thing for the rest for the week, or merely a one-off to try and shake things up, is yet to be seen. It may well depend on how things go against The Territories today.