Here's the thing about the Canadian men's ski team: They don't have a superstar right now on whom they can rely to be a surefire medal threat in every race.
They do it by committee.
That's why losing John Kucera to a broken left leg yesterday hurts the team so much. He may well have been the chairman of the boards for this group because of his even-keeled nature and steadfast determination.
Canada isn't so deep as an alpine nation that they can afford to lose someone of Kucera's ilk. This isn't Austria we're talking about or even the Swiss.
Canada needs all its best guys because you never know who's going to be holding the hot hand when the 2010 Winter Olympics opens in Whistler with the men's downhill.
At last year's world championships, Kucera was that guy. He didn't have a top-six finish in World Cup downhill all last season but when it mattered most he took advantage of difficult conditions to pull of a world championship win that eluded even the Crazy Canucks.
The one thing that mitigates Kucera's loss a little bit is that Robbie Dixon is emerging as a first seed skier this season. If he can maintain his strong start, then he could be a serious threat on his home hill. This cool customer has the right demeanour, too.
But there's a lot of downhill racing to come before then, a lot of it on very dangerous courses – this week in Beaver Creek, for starters, then Bormio and Kitzbuehel just to name a couple.
All of Kucera's teammates acknowledged that what happened to him was part of ski racing.
And they're right. That's probably the scariest part for a team thin in the ranks of Olympic podium potential.
Dutch Treat: You gotta love the Dutch. They know how to have a good time.
Dutch speed skater Erben Wennemars, in Calgary for this week's World Cup, decided to take in the Grey Cup game yesterday and got right into the spirit, buying himself a Roughriders' sweater and cheering on the Green and White. Here's a pic the former world sprint champion posted on Twitter.
Wennemars tweeted to his some 12,000 followers:
“I'm impressed with my rough rider shirt but my pink scarf attracts attention ..”
At least that was the Google translation.