Slow schedule for Canadian curler Bernard

Team Canada skip Cheryl Bernard throws a rock while playing against Team Switzerland during Olympic women's curling action at the Olympic Centre on Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2010 during the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

VANCOUVER - A scheduling quirk has given Canada's women curlers a slow start to their quest for Olympic gold. Skip Cheryl Bernard says she'll take it.

Canada competed in the lone women's draw Tuesday when it knocked off Switzerland 5-4. Bernard's rink will be back in action Wednesday morning, but will have the evening draw off.

In fact, the Canadian women will play only four games in the tournament's first five days, a schedule that goes against the norm for major curling events.

Kevin Martin's men's rink, for instance, will play six games during that same span.

"Oh God, no," Bernard said after being asked if she minds the slow start to the schedule.

The Calgary skip added she might need some time away from the ice to decompress after she and her teammates were treated to several thundering ovations by the thousands of Canadians in attendance.

"I think you need the quiet time in-between to (recuperate)," Bernard said. "But yeah, it is not your normal two games a day schedule."

Bernard's first five days include matchups with Japan and Denmark, two teams that have been picked by few to slide away from the event with a gold medal. She'll also take on Germany, skipped by former world champion Andrea Schoepp, during that span.

But the schedule will shift dramatically on Sunday.

Bernard, along with third Susan O'Connor, second Carolyn Darbyshire, and lead Cori Bartel, will compete in the final five women's draws without a bye.

The competition over that stretch will ramp up as well. Canada will take on reigning world champion Bingyu Wang of China, reigning Olympic gold medallist Anette Norberg of Sweden, and 19-year-old British skip Eve Muirhead, believed by some to be the tournament's dark horse.

"We ramp it up at the end of the week, which is pretty good timing," Bernard said.

"I don't mind that either."