Curling

Justin Piercy - Thursday Nov. 14, 2013 09:00 ET

5 things you need to know about the John Morris-Kevin Martin split

Olympic champion teammates parted ways last season

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John Morris and Kevin Martin captured plenty of hardware together, including an Olympic gold medal, before calling it quits in 2013. (Canadian Press)

News broke on Tuesday that Brad Gushue was joining Kevin Martin's Edmonton rink for the Canadian Olympic trials, but the other change to the Martin rink still has many curling fans talking.

The team's third, John Morris, left in the spring following a less-than-stellar season. This break-up rocked the curling world and many likened the departure to a divorce of sorts.

With the help of CBC curling commentator Mike Harris, we'll look back on the Martin-Morris relationship, its breakdown, and the implications of the split.

1. Were they good together?

Since 2006, Martin and Morris were part of two undefeated (13-0) runs at the 2008, 2009 Briers, captured Olympic gold in Vancouver in 2010, a world championship, and were five-time Alberta champions.

Mike Harris: "For five years they were the best team in the world. That's a pretty good, sustained run at the top."

2. What happened to cause the split?

MH: "Both Kevin and John are really strong personalities, they are both very good, very strong leaders. John had a lot of success as a skip before he joined. The possibility of a conflict was always something people were going to keep a close eye on.

"It was a combination of things, things had run their course... No one was surprised that they split, but they were surprised at the timing, one year before the [Olympic] trials was eye-opening."

3. Did they try to make it work?

After the split was official, Martin's second Marc Kennedy told reporters that team meetings had been held several times to "hash out" the differences that were contributing to the team's poor results. However, following the lacklustre showing at the Players' Championship in Toronto in April, Morris informed them that he would not be returning.

4. Who are they with now?

Morris joined Jim Cotter's B.C. rink as the new skip (but continues to throw third stones) while Martin welcomed former rival Dave Nedohin into Morris's former spot.

MH: "Both teams would say they are happier now than they were last year, whether that turns into representing Canada at the Olympics, that's a whole other story.

"Dave Nedohin was with Randy Ferbey, and was the best shot-maker in the game for five or six years. They won four Briers and three world championships. They were kind of the arch-enemy of Kevin Martin back in the day, so that was interesting. Dave is looking at it as an opportunity to go to the Olympics, it was kind of the only thing he hasn't done.

"Jim started to come into his own as a skip last year... it's really hard to break into [the top five teams in Canada], they were as close as they could get without actually being one of the super-elite teams. I think with John on board, he's one of those guys that just figures out a way to win. They would say they get a pretty big step up in terms of experience ... and the team was looking for stability, which they weren't getting last year with [former third] Jason Gunnlaugson."

5. When will they see each other again?

The two new teams have already met, with Martin beating Morris's new rink, 6-3 in Saskatoon in September. But they will definitely meet again when the stakes could be higher.

They are guaranteed to meet in the final day of round-robin action at the Olympic trials in Winnipeg on Dec. 6. But they could also see one another at the Canadian Open playoffs this weekend in Medicine Hat, Alta.

You can watch the Canadian Open men's quarter-final on Saturday (12 p.m. ET) and final on Sunday (1 p.m.) live on CBC TV and streaming live at CBCSports.ca.

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