Saturday, January 28, 2006

Blow em up, to start all over again?

The CFL has released its potential free agent list on its website, and after a quick scan it seems to the casual eye that almost the entire Ottawa Renegade line up is seeking free agency. No less than 16 Rens are possible free agents, three having recently resigned with the Red, Black and White.

Only the Saskatchewan Roughriders come close at 14 potential free agents on their list. While Calgary must be happy town as only thee Stamps are up for free agency as the February 16th freedom date comes up.

For the Rens the one name that pops out at you is Josh Ranek, the power back for the Rens who can bulldoze down a defensive line and at times seemed to be the only other form of offence besides quarterback Kerry Joseph.

In Montreal the interesting name is that of Ted White the perpetual back up to Anthony Calvillo, White who seems rather infrequent time on the field might be a risk for another team, unless they want a guy that is well rested one assumes.

Michael O’Shea once again can test the waters as the Argos line backer comes up for free agency. There’s always Hamilton eh Mike!

Speaking of which, the Ti-Cats will be scanning the list looking for a running back now that Jesse Lumsden has decided to test out the NFL again, this time in the camp of the Washington Redskins. They might lose Safety Rob Hitchcock if there’s a team looking to shore up the defense with a Canadian safety.

While not a free again Milt Stegall has signed on for one more year in the Peg, so that leaves Keith Stokes on the free agency list as someone the Bombers may wish to collect their pop bottles and cans for. Stokes may become in demand as other CFL teams examine their roster slots and try and guess which players may stick in the NFL or which position needs an injection of life. The Bombers will also be looking for a kicker as Jon Ryan heads for a shot at NFL glory weighing offers from at least two teams.

In Saskatchewan Saladin McCullough is ready to run and run and run, is he ready to have a break out year. Quite possibly, only question is will it be in Green and White. Three other free agents on the flat lands to watch, Trevis Smith, Jason French and Paul McCallum, hmm McCallum in Blue and Gold wouldn’t that be an interesting little bit of theatre, bring your banjoes.

Team happy, The Stamps only have three up for grabs. Mike Juhasz may find a shot with someone else looking for some Canadian hands in the receiving corps.

The Eskimos with six free agents will most likely concentrate on getting Jason Tucker back on the dotted line; he may find himself part of a bidding war as the other eight CFL teams try to capture some of that Grey Cup magic from Edmonton.
Across the mountains in Vancouver, the Lions having had their quarterback controversy solved for them by the Kansas City Chiefs will now concentrate on getting the team back on track for a Grey Cup bid. Line backs Barrin Simpson and Kelly Lochbalm will be holes to fill should they find success on the free agent market. On the O line, Bobby Singh is available and might fetch a bit of interest as well, he might be a must sign for Wally Buono should he wish to keep Dave Dickenson healthy this year.

It all sorts itself out on February 16th and then the real roster work begins for the CFL’s nine teams.

Friday, January 27, 2006

2006 schedule is released

The CFL released its 2006 schedule Friday, two games on June 16th featuring the BC Lions and Hamilton Tiger-Cats and Montreal Alouettes and Edmonton Eskimos, the four teams chosen to l kick off the 94th season for Canada's league. The Friday Night Football double header will feature the Eskimos taking part in a Grey Cup rematch with the Alouettes at Molson Stadium, while the Leos and Eskies will do battle at BC Place.

Once again this year Atlantic Canada will see some CFL action, the Als and Renegades will bring pre-season football back to Halifax on Saturday June 3rd, as the CFL continues to test those expansion waters of the Atlantic coast.

As for the regular season, rivalries once again rule the schedule makers computer programs, with key match ups timed to hit the high profile dates on the calendar.

The usual rivalry games are featured once again over Labour Day, the Stamps and Eskies and Ti-Cats and Argos will renew the ages old battle for bragging rights on Labour Day. While the day before, the Riders and Bombers will stoke the prairie fire that has become their annual Labour Day match up. The Renegades and Alouettes will launch the Labour Day weekend festivities with a match up on Friday Night Football.

Lions fans will have five straight Friday night home games to kick off the season, as BC Place is home to Friday Night football until September, as a matter of fact 6 of the Leos 9 home games fall on a Friday night this year.

The twenty week schedule leads up to the 94th Grey Cup celebration, this year at Winnipeg's Canad Inns Stadium on November 19th.

For the full schedule, click this link here.