Sunday, July 31, 2011

Week Five Reviews (ending July 30)

British Columbia at Winnipeg

Wally Buono's season from hell continued on this week, as his BC Lions dropped an emotion charged game with the hometown Winnipeg Blue Bombers on Thursday night.  A 25- 20 loss that dropped the Lions to an 0 and 5 record, and racking up stats that suggest major changes may be required with both offensive and defensive plans.

The Bombers played the game with heavy hearts, as they took time with the Lions pre game to commemorate the passing of their assistant coach Richard Harris earlier in the week, both teams gathered a centre field prior to kick off to watch a video that provided a sample of the importance that the long time CFL coach had far beyond his current stop of Winnipeg.

When the game commenced, the Bomber defence put on a display that would have made their coach proud, providing a strong effort on the D that rocked the Lions offence at key times of the game.  However, for a good portion of the game the Lions answered back with some strong Defensive play of their own, providing the Lions with the opportunity to claim a first victory on the season.

With Buck Pierce once again forced from the Blue Bomber lineup due to injury, it did seem as though the Lions had the opportunity break the win less streak, in fact with 2 and half minutes left on the clock, Travis Lulay was leading his Lions down the field towards a potential touchdown,  but a missed interference call, which saw Geroy Simon clearly held as he attempted to catch a Lulay pass proved to be the final blow to the Lions chances on Thursday night. a game which showed some progress for the Lions, but nothing to show in the standings where things tend to count by season's end.

For the Bombers, holding on to snare the victory will no doubt help to ease the pain of the loss of a coach who clearly had an impact on many that wore Bomber uniforms over the last few years.

Led by their defence, which claimed six QB sacks on the night, an extra effort that seemed rooted in their quest to win one for their coach.  Offensively, third stringer Alex Brink may have provided a bit of reassurance for Bomber fans that all may not be lost should Buck Pierce need to step to the sidelines as he did after the third quarter, while nervous at times, Brink managed to move the ball when required and  pick up some key points to take the lead from the Lions and propelled the Bombers on to  4 and 1 record on the year thus far, the kind or run that at the moment Wally Buono can only dream about.

Winnipeg Free Press-- Bombers post emotional win over Lions
Winnipeg Sun-- Bombers score inspirational win
Vancouver Province-- B. C.  Lions defence good, but Bombers better in Leos' latest loss
Vancouver Sun-- Blue Bomber send Lions reeling to 0-5
Globe and Mail-- Bombers keep Lions winless
National Post-- Late drive lifts Blue Bombers over winless Lions

Montreal at Hamilton

The pre game hype this week seemed to revolve around Avon Cobourne's talking points about his former team and by games end, it was clear that when it comes to walking the walk, Cobourne can give as good as  he says.

The hometown Tiger Cats seem to have righted their early season mis steps, as they convincingly sent the Alouettes off to their second loss of the season,  the Cats topping the Als by a score of 34-26. The Alouette loss marked the first time since 2008 that the Als have lost two consecutive regular season games.

The Cats depended on Cobourne's running attack to keep the Alouettes defence off balance, while Kevin Glenn found success in the air through the hands of Dave Stala who snared two TD passes on the way to the Ti Cat victory.

The Alouettes on the other hand, made things a little too predictable, relying mainly on an aerial offensive, which the Cats managed to reign in as the game moved into the fourth quarter.

It was a chippy game in the trenches, with 14 penalties called during the course of the sixty minutes, penalties that proved to be more costly to the Alouettes than the TiCats, something that no doubt will be mentioned during the upcoming week of practices for the Als as they prepare for their next game in Toronto this weekend.

The Hamilton win moved the team into second place in the suddenly very competitive East, the Cats taking advantage of two weeks of Alouette stumbles to regain some footing in the division. The win against the defending Grey Cup champs also provides the Cats with a bit more confidence as they head on into week six and a match up with the Calgary Stampeders on Saturday.

National Post-- Ticats hand Alouettes second straight loss
Globe and Mail-- Ti-Cats upset Alouettes
Hamilton Spectator-- Ticats upset Als 34-26 Avon Cobourne, Ticats make no apologies

Toronto at Edmonton

Argos coach and GM Jim Barker  must be wondering what it is that they have to do get untracked, as once again the Argos proved to be their own worst enemies, ending up on the short end of the 26  to 25 final score in a error prone game in Edmonton Friday night.

It was an ugly game by any standard, neither team looking particularly confident though for the most part the game it seems was the Argos to lose, and they fulfilled that possibility heading into the second half as they surrendered a 17 - 1 half time lead.

With Argos starter Cleo Lemon still on the injured list, Dalton Bell was given the start and was calling a pretty steady game in the first thirty minutes, leaving the Commonwealth faithful perhaps to ponder if the last four weeks had indeed been too good to be true.

But, in what seems to be a recurring theme this year for the double blue, the end result of sixty minutes of labour isn't necessarily going to be a W to add to the checklist.

Penalties once again proving to be the root cause of the Argos destruction as untimely penalty calls provided the Eskimos with the opportunity to not only chip away at the Argo lead, but take charge of the final half of the fourth quarter as Ricky Ray led the key drive down the field, calling on Fred Stamps twice for key receptions on the way to the go ahead touchdown.

The Argos to their credit continued to battle on, left with one last gasp chance with nine seconds to play, a 57 yard field goal attempt that fell short securing a one point victory for the Eskimos, leaving up in the air the question as to why the Argos didn't attempt to punt the ball through the end zone for a single point and a potential overtime.

While the ending was thrilling, the errors of play and untimely nature of the penalties, made it one of the sloppiest of games thus far in the season, one which may get a review in the film room, but certainly not in the world of positive reinforcement, rather it could be the season's first real production designed to show "how not to do this".

Globe and Mail-- Eskimos edge Argos to stay undefeated
National Post-- Eskimos roar back to edge Argos
Toronto Sun-- Argos fall to Eskimos
Toronto Star-- Argos lose by one point on wild night in Edmonton
Edmonton Journal-- Eskimos run record to 5-0 against Argos
Edmonton Sun-- Bizarre loss dogs Argos

Calgary at Saskatchewan

When Calgary comes a calling in Regina it's always a highly anticipated event, and Saturday night was no exception as the Stampeders came into Mosaic Field and took two points back west with them, handing the Riders their third loss at home this year, leaving the Green Riders to yet provide their fans with a victory to celebrate at home.

Calgary's offence still seems to be having problems kicking into an extra gear,  requiring the Stamps to depend on the foot go Rene Parades who went four for five on the night, leading the way to the Stampeders 22-18 victory.

The game was a typical hard hitting affair between the two squads, but even by the standards of past Stamp/Rider games, the hit that Romby Bryant took in the second half was off the Richter scale. Romby crossing across the field reeled in a Henry Burris pass but was immediately rocked by Tristan Jackson, who delivered one of those hits that seemed to be still rattling around Mosaic Field long after the teams had left.

While there is still work to be done on the offensive side of the ball, the Stamps must at least be pleased that  of their three wins thus far in 2011 all three have come on the road,  a string of victories that at least are keeping them within radar distance of their provincial rivals the Eskimos who have so far been yet to taste defeat.

Calgary returns home to a major challenge this week as the Hamilton Tiger Cats, a team which has begun to get into its groove arrive in town to take on the Stamps at McMahon Stadium.

Saskatchewan on the other hand, is but one game removed from having to battle the BC Lions for most woeful team of the West, with a 1 and 4 record so far in 2011, the Riders are nowhere near the kind of confidence that they had last season as they battled the Alouettes for the Grey Cup last November.

The Riders travel west to British Columbia and a Friday night Football doubleheader finale against the Lions, a team which is desperate for a win and may welcome the chance to add to the woes of the struggling Riders.

National Post-- Kicker Paredes leads Stampeders to win
Globe and Mail-- Stampeders slip past Roughriders
Calgary Sun-- Stamps edge Riders
Calgary Herald--  Burris and Co. find way past Roughriders
Regina Leader Post-- Stampeders hand Riders third home defeat

Saturday, July 30, 2011

CFL Gameday: Calgary at Saskatchewan

With their first win under their belt, the Saskatchewan Roughriders will seek to continue on with their winning ways with a home date Saturday against the Calgary Stampeders.

Saskatchewan and Calgary have struggled in the early portion of the CFL schedule, with uncharacteristic breakdowns contributing to their less than successful ways, neither squad has shown any particular consistency when it comes to on field performance in the first four weeks of play, with mistakes looming large at key points of past games,

Saskatchewan can at least lay claim to coming into Saturday's game in a winning frame of mind after last weeks victory in Montreal, Calgary on the other hand lost to provincial rival Edmonton last week, making this weekends game another key moment for their plans for the season.

Below you can find information about the wrap up to week five action in the CFL, offering up previews and game reviews, as well as other items of note from and other sources.

Game Time 7:30 ST, MT ( 6:30 PT, 9:30 ET) TSN 

Pre Game

Calgary Sun-- Stamps aim to corner Riders
Calgary Herald-- Stamps ready to battle Riders in hostile territory
Regina Leader Post-- Cates remains game-time decision
Globe and Mail-- Riders' Hugh Charles waits for his chance

Quick Snaps Calgary Stampeders
Quick Snaps Saskatchewan Roughriders

Post Game

Calgary 22 at Saskatchewan 18
Attendance-- 30,048

Globe and Mail-- Stampeders slip past Roughriders
National Post-- Kicker Paredes leads Stampeders to win
Calgary Sun-- Stamps edge Riders
Calgary Herald-- Burris and Co. find way past Riders
Regina Leader Post-- Stampeders hand Riders Third home defeat

Friday, July 29, 2011

Keeping a lid on it all

Everyone loves the throwback look, the ancient uniforms, the vintage film of the days gone by.

But this CFL season seems to be taking the idea of the past a little to seriously, into week five the main recurring theme of CFL games of late seems to be the frequent occurrences of helmets rolling down the field, separated from their owners by a glancing blow or just popping off at the most inopportune of moments.

To date, there hasn't been a serious injury attributed to the popping lids, but it does seem only a matter of time before the untimely departure of a helmet and the onrushing crush of opposing players results in somebody facing a serious concussion issue.

And in a league where concussions have never been more in the spotlight, this is probably not a good thing.

There has been no real explanation yet as to why helmets seem to be popping off with such frequency, though the suggestion that the players may be mixing and matching equipment seems to be the unofficial link between the frequency of rolling helmets.

The suggestion a few weeks back was that some CFL players are using chin straps from competitors on their league issued helmets, a decision which could very well put their playing days at risk should the chin strap fail at the most inopportune time. However, news reports later in the week stated that the chin strap suggestion wasn't accurate and that the issue wasn't completely at the doorstep of chin straps.

The helmet situation is apparently spooking more than a few players, as some have returned to an older model, which unlike the new helmets introduced last year, is less safer in protection, but fits much snugger with less chance of departure.

The CFL has had no "official" statement on the equipment issue, but one has to imagine that there has been some commentary on unofficial back channels to the teams, reminding the players of the necessity of maintaing the proper accessories with their equipment.

If it is an equipment supply issue, the league should be quick to rectify whatever it is that is resulting in so many instances of players chasing down their lids after the play.

Last year, Canada AM outlined the process of development of a new football helmet the Xenith, which is in use with some CFL players and in the CIS as well, below is some video of that report which provides a helpful guide as to what refinements have been made to the traditional football helmet.



 It's not known yet, or at least hasn't been outlined thus far if the helmets that are rolling along the field are of the new variety or of the more traditional styles, still it is a situation that needs to be rectified pretty quickly.

While we all enjoy the old footage of the original days of The Rugby Football Union, the game today is a much different even than from the past, the speed of play, the construction of the equipment in use dictates that all precautions need to be taken to protect the players.

It would be shame to see an existing or rising CFL star, or any player for that matter,  sidelined for the season or beyond because he took a hit when he was at his most vulnerable.

Especially if that injury took place due to an equipment issue, or due to a lack of attention by the players as to their own personal safety.

Globe and Mail-- Keeping a lid on CFL players
Sportsnet-- CFL players ditching 'safer helmets'
Vancouver Province-- CFL and wayward helmets: A ticking timebomb
Calgary Herald-- Players losing their lids sets off alarm bells

CFL Gameday: Toronto at Edmonton (July 29, 2011)

Week five doesn't make things any easier for the Toronto Argonauts, the Argos who have won but one game thus far in the CFL season face the unenviable task of taking on the Edmonton Eskimos, the leagues only undefeated team in 2011.

Toronto pulls into Edmonton with starting quarterback Cleo Lemon still on the injured list, apparent dental issues keeping him on the sidelines in week five, handing the ball over to Dalton Bell who stepped into action last week and now has had a week of practice under his belt as the scheduled starter.

For the Eskimos, its a case of growing confidence as each week puts another check mark in the win column, a pleasant surprise for followers of the CFL, for the most all but the Eskimo management, players and only the truly dedicated fans had figured this to be a rebuilding year for Edmonton, but four games into the season and the Eskimos are beginning to resemble those historic teams of the seventies.

The finale to the weekly Friday Night Football festival provides a snapshot of two teams in very different positions, the Argos needing a win to begin the climb out of the basement in the east, the Esks hopeful to keep those winning ways moving along quite nicely.

Below you can find information about the second of our Friday Night doubleheader, offering up previews and game reviews, as well as other items of note from and other sources.

Game Time 7:30 MT (9:30 ET, 6:30 PT)  TSN

Pre Game

Edmonton Journal-- Stamps proves he's CFL best receiver so far this season
Edmonton Sun-- Eskimos trying to stay humble
Toronto Star-- Golden opportunities for Bell, Eiben
Toronto Sun-- Bell wants to play like Ricky Ray
Globe and Mail-- Bell to start for Argos against Eskimos
National Post-- Argos' quarterback carousel keeps turning with Bell

Quick Snaps Toronto Argonauts
Quick Snaps Edmonton Eskimos

Post Game

Toronto 25 at Edmonton 26
Attendance-- 32,478

Globe and Mail-- Eskimos edge Argos to stay undefeated
National Post-- Eskimos roar back to edge Argos
Toronto Sun-- Argos fall to Eskimos
Toronto Star-- Argos lose by one point on wild night in Edmonton
Edmonton Journal-- Eskimos run record to 5-0 against Argos
Edmonton Sun-- Bizarre loss dogs Argos

CFL Gameday: Montreal at Hamilton (July 29, 2011)

Anthony Calvillo will be back in the line up for week five's early Friday Night Football offering, always a good thing for the television audience as he continues his checklist towards the CFL record books.

The Als take to the road for a key match with divisional rival Hamilton, providing the Tiger Cats the chance to make up some ground in the east from their ineffective start of the season, since their stumbles in the first couple of weeks the Cats have come back strong in recent efforts, battling back to .500 on the season.

With both Montreal and Winnipeg holding higher positions in the standings, Friday night is a key game for both the Als and Bombers. With Montreal seeking to keep pace with the Bombers, while the Cats are no doubt anxious to keep their name in the mix when it comes for the quest for first in the CFL East.

Speaking of names, one Avon Cobourne seems to be adding some importance to this match up of Friday night, judging by the number of articles that reflects on Cobourne's time with the Als and his opinions of his former team of late, it would seem that tonight's game may have some special feeling for the TiCat running back, always a good sub theme for a game.

Below you can find information about the first of Friday's two CFL feature attractions, offering up previews and game reviews, as well as other items of note from and other sources.

Game Time 6:30 ET (3:30 PT) TSN

Pre Game

Globe and Mail-- Jamall Johnson puts the hammer in Hamilton
Globe and Mail-- Calvillo says eye injury has healed
National Post-- Cobourne uses his words to rattle opponents Receiver Chris Williams proves that speed kills
Hamilton Spectator-- First grad from the school of Avon Cobourne
Toronto Star-- Ticat takes verbal shots at former team

Quick Snaps for Hamilton Tiger Cats
Quick Snaps for Montreal Alouettes

Post Game

Montreal 26 at Hamilton 34
Attendance-- 24,068

National Post-- Ticats hand Alouettes second straight loss
Globe and Mail-- Ti-Cats upset Alouettes
Hamilton Spectator-- Ticats upset Als 34-26

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Bombers, Lions pay tribute to Richard Harris in pre game commemoration

The CFL paid its respects to Richard Harris on Thursday evening as members of both the home team Winnipeg Blue Bombers and visiting BC Lions gathered as one at centre field, to share a moment of silence in commemoration of the late Blue Bomber assistant coach.

It made for an emotional sight, as the two teams co-mingled in their loss, standing in front of the hushed Winnipeg crowd as they paid their tribute to the coach who clearly meant much to players both in Winnipeg, British Columbia and beyond.



The long time CFL coach, who previously served in positions in both British Columbia and Ottawa passed away two days ago, suffering a heart attack while in his office at Canad Inn stadium.

Since the moment that the shock of that announcement was received across Canada, the tributes and memories of time shared with Richard Harris have grown from a trickle to a volume. Fond remembrances of a giant of a man, who made the CFL more than a professional home, but in recent years adopted Winnipeg as his hometown, spending the full year in residence in the city.

In a league that at times exhibits gypsy tendencies, with players and coaches dropping if for a short term stay, Harris was a CFL lifer, his stops across the nation, leaving him with many friends, coworkers and admirers.

It's indicative of the impact that he has had both on the league and the city of the many kind words that have flowed since Tuesday's announcement of his passing.

The Bombers of course have felt the loss the most, for them he was clearly more than just a coach or co worker, for some he most likely was a father figure, if not a grandfatherly figure a solid anchor for those new to the CFL.

For others, he was a life long friend, who shared experiences and memories across the close knit CFL family of players, coaches, executives and friends.

The entries in the book of remembrance that the Bombers have provided a link for, offers up just a snap shot of the impact that Richard Harris had far beyond the football field.

As well, over the last few days, we've learned much more about his time in the CFL and the lasting impressions he has provided for all who love the CFL game, his passing was far too early and as you will read in the items below, it still resonates as a shock that was both unexpected and since has been much lamented.

The game that was played in his honour on Thursday, was one that perhaps he would have enjoyed, both defensive squads had big plays that dictated the flow and pace of the game, in the end it was his Blue Bomber defence that created the opportunities for the the Bomber offence to take the win.

An emotional week for the Bombers, commemorated as best they could with a stand out performance under trying times, as a team they were taught well, by a coach they will miss long after the wins and losses are tallied in November.

Winnipeg Free Press-- Bombers take win against Lions
Winnipeg Free Press-- Tonight's game tribute to coach
Winnipeg Free Press-- Blue defensive line has lost its leader
Winnipeg Free Press-- I'm worried about how I'm going to react': Brown
Winnipeg Free Press-- Blue Bombers sombre during walkthrough after death of popular coach
Winnipeg Free Press-- Bombers reeling from loss of Harris
Winnipeg Free Press-- When coach Harris spoke, everyone listened
Winnipeg Free Press-- Heart attack claims life of Bombers asst. head coach
Winnipeg Free Press-- Big Bomber loss
Winnipeg Free Press-- Blue Bombers defensive line coach Richard Harris dies after collapsing
Winnipeg Sun-- Bombers score inspirational win
Winnipeg Sun-- Big-Hearted Harris left major impression on CFL
Winnipeg Sun-- Bombers recall beloved coach
Winnipeg Sun-- Bombers pay tribute to Harris
Winnipeg Sun-- Bombers' Khan formed connection, friendship with Harris
Winnipeg Sun-- Process begins for Bombers
Winnipeg Sun-- Baggs: ' God doesn't make mistakes'
Winnipeg Sun-- Jyles, Picard shaken by coach's death
Winnipeg Sun-- Brown remembers coach, friend he had in Harris
Winnipeg Sun-- Harris was always in kicker's corner
Winnipeg Sun-- Former Bombers mourn 'huge bear'
Winnipeg Sun-- Bombers assistant coach Harris dead at 63
TSN-- Bombers honour coach Harris with Victory over Lions
Globe and Mail-- Blue Bombers in mourning after death of popular coach
Globe and Mail-- Bombers keep Lions winless
National Post-- Requiem for a coach
National Post-- Late drive lifts Blue Bombers over winless Lions
Sportsnet-- Heavy Hearts
Vancouver Sun-- Who's going to hug the Blue Bombers now
Vancouver Sun-- Bombers coach's unexpected death sends shock waves throughout league
Vancouver Province-- Harris death shocks Lions
Vancouver Province-- Blue Bombers: Swaggerville subdued after coach's death Bombers plan tribute to coach Harris
Edmonton Journal -- He was the brother I never had
Portage online-- More Important than football

CFL Gameday: British Columbia at Winnipeg (July 28, 2011)

Wally Buono seeks out his first win of the season as the Lions travel to Winnipeg to take on the rejuvenated Blue Bombers, a team which has surprised more than a few CFL fans this season with their success thus far.

The Blue however have things other than football on their minds this week, as they are in mourning over the passing of their popular defensive coach Richard Harris, the long time CFL coach was found in his office at Canad Inn stadium having succumbed to a heart attack.

Needless to say his passing has affected the Bombers and owing to the nature of the CFL his death also has been felt by many other players across the league.

The emotional toll of the news of the week will provide an additional challenge for the Bombers, who found much of their success through the season so far on the strength of the Harris defence, it will be with their coach on their minds that the Blue take to the field on Thursday night.

Below you can find information about the kick off game to week five, offering up previews and game reviews, as well as other items of note from and other sources

Game Time 7 PM CT ( 5 PT) TSN

Pre Game

Vancouver Province-- Lions share of heat is now on Benevides
Vancouver Sun--  Bighill becoming a hit with Lions
Winnipeg Free Press-- Tonight's game tribute to coach
Winnipeg Sun--  Bombers' Reid looking to launch
Globe and Mail-- Winless Lions cling to glimmers of hope

British Columbia Lions Quick Snaps
Winnipeg Blue Bombers Quick Snaps

Post Game

British Columbia 20 at Winnipeg 25
Attendance -- 29,553

Winnipeg Free Press-- Bombers take win against Lions
Winnipeg Sun-- Bombers score inspirational win
Vancouver Province-- BC Lions defence good, but Bombers getter in Leos' latest loss
Vancouver Sun-- Blue Bombers send Lions reeling to 0-5
Globe and Mail-- Bombers keep Lions winless
National Post-- Late drive lifts Blue Bombers over winless Lions

CFL Regular Season: Week 5

The fifth week of play kicks off on Thursday night in Winnipeg, where prior to the game the Bombers will commemorate the life of their defensive coach Richard Harris, who passed away earlier this week after succumbing to a heart attack. The Bombers have provided a link to the commemorative page, where CFL fans can leave their messages of condolence.

While football rightly takes a back seat in Winnipeg this week as they commemorate their popular coach the season moves on and with heavy hearts, the Bombers will take to the field to play the Lions in a pivotal game for British Columbia, which has yet to win a game this year.

The remainder of the week features other key match ups for week five, the list includes.

Thursday, July 28-- British Columbia 20 at Winnipeg 25 (A--29,553)
Friday, July 29-- Montreal 26 at Hamilton  34 (A-- 24,068)
Friday, July 29-- Toronto 25 at Edmonton 26 (A-- 32,478)
Saturday, July 30-- Calgary 22 at Saskatchewa n 18 (A-- 30,048) TSN

Twelve Men Prognostications: Predicted Winners


Weekly Record-- 4 -  4
Overall Record-- 9 - 20

CFL Players of the Week -- Week 4

Week number four provided a few exciting plays for consideration and with play complete the CFL has announced the Gibson's Finest CFL Players of the week.

With the Eskimos continuing on with their domination in the early going of the CFL season, it's not a surprise that they find two of their players on the honour roll for week four, likewise the Bombers who found success yet again in week four, collected the other half of this weeks representatives.

Official website for the Gibson's Player Awards

See Video replay here

Offensive Player of the week
Buck Pierce
QB-- Winnipeg

Defensive Player of the week
Greg Peach
DE-- Edmonton

Special Teams Player of the week
Damon Duval
PK-- Edmonton

Canadian Player of the week
Corey Watson
WR-- Winnipeg Blue Bombers

Items of Note

Pierce headlines Players of the Week
Top Ten plays of Week 4

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Week Four Reviews (ending July 24)

Saskatchewan at Montreal

The weekend finale offered up one of the closest finishes from the unlikeliest of sources. The Saskatchewan Roughriders, who had yet to claim victory in 2011 went into Molson Stadium on Sunday and took two points from the defending Grey Cup champion Alouettes.

It was a result that most probably didn’t think was likely pre kick off, but with Anthony Calvillo knocked out of the game in the early going, the playing field suddenly seemed very level for the Riders who took advantage of the CFL’s marquee attractions absence to craft their own little march to victory.

The path to their 27-24 victory was a rewarding one for head coach Greg Marshall, who no doubt has been feeling the pressure in Saskatchewan these last few weeks, the locals having become unaccustomed to being on the losing end of final scores.

But with Calvillo sidelined due to an eye injury, the reins to the Alouette offence were turned over to Adrian McPherson, who struggled to move his team for the majority of the third and fourth quarters.

However, in the latter stages of the final quarter, McPherson finally got into a rhythm, bringing the Als to within seven points with less than five minutes to go with the Riders in the lead 24-17.

A field goal ninety seconds away from the end of the game seemed to put the game away for good for the Riders, the added bonus of a Rider interception seemed to spell doom for the Als, but a fumble shortly after that set the scene for another wild CFL finish.

The Als took over the ball on the Riders seven yard line and put another six on the board thanks to a McPherson scramble, with time running down the Als attempted a short kick off, but the Riders special teams unit rose to the occasion grabbing the ball and securing the first victory of the year for Saskatchewan.

The finish seems to reflect the kind of season the Riders have had thus far, where breakdowns and turnovers have ruled for the most part, Sunday however fate provided a change of luck, something we imagine that head coach Marshall hopes provides a path for future success down the line.

For the Als, the loss was secondary we imagine to the state of their starting quarterback’s health, it’s anticipated that Calvillo’s vision problems will clear up by the time week five starts, while McPherson did eventually get into sync, it’s clear that Calvillo is the main driving force behind the Alouettes offence, as goes AC so it seems will go the Als.

Globe and Mail-- Riders hand Alouettes first loss Riders beat Als for first victory this season Als shoot themselves in the foot
National Post-- Calvillo injured as Riders win their first

Edmonton at Calgary

It was the more anticipated showdown of the weekend in the CFL, a return to the glory days of the Battle of Alberta, a battle that in the last few years had been tilted towards the Calgarians, but as we’ve seen in this early part of the CFL season, these aren’t last years Eskimos.

Edmonton remained undefeated at the end of the 60 minutes played, another stellar day for Ricky Ray who led the Eskies to a 20-5 lead by the third quarter, a pace which most would have though should secure victory.

But, the prospect of humiliation at the hands of their provincial rivals finally seemed to shake some of the lethargy off the Stamps, as they launched an impressive rally that erased most of that lead and set the stage for some nail biting action in the final minutes of the fourth.

The Stamps finally got into a groove through the third and fourth, with Henry Burris finding his range again after a first half of struggles, the Stamps seemed to leave the Eskimos defensive unit a bit off their balance in that third and fourth quarter shift, but the Eskimos finally got their defensive play back on track just in the nick of time.

It was an Eskimo force of a turnover in the waning moments of the game that secured the victory, as Julius Williams hit Henry Burris from behind on a third and 10 gamble, knocking the ball loose and securing possession for the Eskimos.

The Stamps who had started on the comeback trail a little late, wouldn’t find the end zone again, leaving the Eskimos to claim their first win at McMahon Stadium since 2008 by a score of 24 -19.

The Edmonton victory seems to serve notice that it’s time to redraw those pre season predictions as to placements in the West Division, the Esks have been full value for each and every win thus far and seem to be growing in confidence as each week passes by on the CFL schedule.

With their success in Calgary over the weekend, the battle of Alberta it would seem is back on full boil, making for a some appointment making television viewing to come as we work our way towards the playoffs in November.

Edmonton Journal-- Esks handle adversity, Stamps
Edmonton Sun-- Eskimos down Stampeders
Calgary Herald-- Unbeaten Eskimos hold off Stampeders
Calgary Herald-- Edmonton's best on O outshine Calgary's
Calgary Herald-- Stamps beat Stamps

Winnipeg at Toronto

Home sweet home for the Argos, as Toronto made its Rogers Centre debut for 2011 in the midst of a Southern Ontario heatwave.

Such was the oppressiveness of the heat, that Rogers Centre officials chose to keep the roof closed for the benefit of the paying customers, something which provided the first lesson of the night for the Argonauts, when they learned that pre game fireworks and closed roofs make for an interesting combination.

With the pyrotechnics complete, Argo fans and those viewing on TV were left to gaze through the haze, as a fog of smoke brought back memories for the truly faithful Argo fan of the ancient fog bowl, where players zigged and zagged in and out of view, it wasn’t quite on that scale on Saturday afternoon, but it was close.

Eventually the fog of smoke lifted, but for Toronto the fog of another losing effort would remain, despite a hopeful start, the Argos watched the Blue Bomber launch a comeback on the way to 33-24 victory.

Along the way to the loss, the Argoss lost the services of Cleo Lemon, who took a helmet to helmet hit six minutes into the game and never returned.

Until that point Lemon had started off strong, leading the Argos to their first score of the game on their first possession, it was to be his only success on the day, forced out shortly after that, a glancing blow hit that sent his helmet flying and damaged a tooth, a combination that brought his day to an end and with no penalty call on the Bombers, it was a hit that had the Argos questioning the officiating by games end.

Dalton Bell was thrust into the game at that point and with his big opportunity as understudy at hand, after an initial drive for a score, he failed to impress for the remainder of the game, providing an opportunity for the Bombers to add to their win column for yet another week.

Buck Pierce, who took a few more hits of his own this weekend, rallied the Bombers into the second half, finding his success through both the run and the air, in particular the second half reboot provided Terence Jeffers-Harris to showcase his skills, picking up two of the Bombers TDs, his second late in the fourth the back breaker for the Argos, coming on the heels of Toronto having taken the lead back heading into the homestretch of the game.

The loss leaves the Argos with but one win on the season so far and with questions that need some answers for the week ahead, the concerns over Lemon’s troubles mixed with the defence’s inability to shut down the Bombers just a few of the items that the Argos coaching staff need to sort out.

Globe and Mail-- Buck Pierce rallies Bombers past Argos
Winnipeg Free Press-- Buck Pierce leads Bombers to victory over Argos
Toronto Star-- Lemon knocked out as Argos lose home opener
National Post-- Argos question officiating in loss to Bombers
Toronto Sun-- Bell blew chance as Argos QB

Hamilton at British Columbia

By the end of the weekend, the Lions would be feeling very lonely holding down the dubious title of team that hasn’t won as their own.

An er, (achievement?) that they grasped with a 39 to 31 Friday Night Football loss at Empire Field another game where the Lions failed to take advantage of opportunities to score and despite offering up a bit of a comeback, still remained without a win for the fourth time in this regular season.

The night didn’t get off to a terrific start for the hometown side, the Cats were quick to the score board running up a fourteen point lead before the Leos finally got untracked from whatever it is that haunts them after the national anthem.

They battled back into the second quarter to draw even with the Cats, only to surrender the lead once again thanks to a penalty for too many men on the field which allowed the Cats to take a 3 point lead into half time.

The penalty indicative of the Lions struggles this year, an inattention to detail or missed assignment causing as much trouble as any actual fumble, interception or stopped drive.

Hamilton took charge of the third quarter adding to their lead as Kevin Glenn found more success from his air game, mixing both the run and the pass nicely through the three quarters of football.

Quarter four saw the Lions begin what seems to be a common theme of the year, the comeback quarter that comes up just a little short.

Using the run to more effect the Lions Robertson picked up his second TD on the ground in the fourth quarter, a TD run that was set up by Geroy Simon pass reception, it brought the Lions close but as has been the case through the year thus far, the Lions could not close the game out.

While they added a field goal towards the end of the final quarter, the Tiger Cats took control once again scoring a game clinching TD with less than a minute to go.

For the Cats it was a welcome victory on the road, bringing some balance to their early season troubles and securing a place in the hunt for first place in the CFL East.

Vancouver on the other hand is a team heading in the wrong direction and while the signs are there that there may be some positives to build on, the first third of the season is moving up quickly and judging by the success of their West Division competitors any hopes for a first or second place finish are starting to fade a bit, rather just surviving to grasp a playoff spot may soon be the motivating factor, but then again unless they start to win some games that too may be a bit of a moot point.

Vancouver Province-- Lions worst in CFL with 0-4 record after loss to Tiger-Cats
Vancouver Sun-- Lions drop to 0-4 with 39-31 loss to Ticats
Vancouver Sun-- Lions' Wally Buono now racking up defeats to go with record wins
Globe and Mail-- Glenn leads Tiger-Cats past Lions
National Post-- Lions fall to 0-4 after loss to Ticats

Sunday, July 24, 2011

CFL Gameday: Saskatchewan at Montreal (July 24, 2011)

Two teams at opposite ends of the Win Loss column take to the field on Sunday to wrap up week four of the CFL season.

The Saskatchewan Roughriders, seeking their first win of the season travel to Montreal to take on the surging Montreal Alouettes, who with Anthony Calvillo at the helm look set to collect record after record this year.

Be low you can find information about the wrap up match of the week, offering previews and game reviews, as well as other items of note from and other sources.

Game Time 7 PM ET (5 ST, 4 PT) TSN

Pre Game

Regina Leader Post-- What a difference a year makes for Riders
Globe and Mail-- Struggling Roughriders left looking for answers Als big on newcomer at left tackle

Saskatchewan Roughrider Quick Snaps
Montreal Alouettes Quick Snaps

Post Game

Saskatchewan 27 at Montreal 24
Attendance--  24,434

Globe and Mail-- Riders hand Alouettes first loss Riders beat Als for first victory this season
National Post-- Calvillo injured as Riders win their first

Friday, July 22, 2011

CFL Gameday: Edmonton at Calgary (July 23, 2011)

It may be the marquee match up of the weekend in the CFL, the undefeated Edmonton Eskimos make the trip down to Calgary and a showdown with their provincial rivals the Stampeders.

The Esks have had an impressive start to the season, running up an undefeated record and some startling offensive numbers, while the Stamps have struggled during their first three games. While they have two wins to make note of, if but for a bounce of the ball or a deflection the other way and they could very easily be 0-3.

The Stamps who of late could probably have taken the two points from the Eskimos as granted, won't be able to make that mistake in week four, the Esks have been full value for their wins thus far and no doubt have ambitions to extend their run at McMahon Stadium.

Below you can find information about the second of the Saturday match ups, offering previews and game reviews, as well as other items of note from and other sources.

Game Time 5 PM MT (7ET, 4 PT) TSN

Pre Game

Calgary Sun-- Rivals Stamps, Esks well-grounded
Calgary Herald-- Stamps defence will be tested by red-hot Ray
Edmonton Sun-- Esks play down rivalry
Edmonton Journal-- Battle of Alberta rivalry 'back where it needs to be'
Globe and Mail-- High-flying Eskimos can't take Stamps lightly

Calgary Stampeders Quick Snaps
Edmonton Eskimos Quick Snaps

Post Game

Edmonton 24 at Calgary 19
Attendance-- 29,2910

Edmonton Journal-- Unbeaten Eskimos hold on to lead, finally taste victory in Calgary
Edmonton Sun-- Fred cancels Stamps
Calgary Herald-- Unbeaten Eskimos hold off Stampeders
Calgary Sun-- Stamps beats the Stamps

CFL Gameday: Winnipeg at Toronto (July 23, 2011)

The Argonauts take to the home field for the first time in this 2011 season, a few stumbles over the last couple of weeks bringing them to the home opener with a 1-3 record and just a few questions from their fans, most involving concerns over the anemic nature of the Argonaut offence of late.

On the other side of the Rogers Centre field on Saturday will be the Winnipeg  Blue Bombers, a team hobbled by injuries after a fast paced start to the CFL season, had this had been the Bombers of two weeks ago, the Argos might have been considered an underdog in their own home.

But with the Bombers sorting through their injuries and with a cautious return to action of staring quarter Buck Pierce, it should at least be a pick em, if not a game that favours the Argos.

Below you can find information about the first of the two CFL games for Saturday, offering previews and game reviews, as well as other items of note from and other sources.

Game Time  4 PM ET ( 3 CT, 1PT) TSN

Pre Game

Toronto Star-- Argos aim to silence Winnipeg sack attack
Toronto Sun-- Argos aim to smash mouth Bombers
Globe and Mail-- Willis leads the way for Bombers defensive unit
Winnipeg Free Press-- Bring it On
Winnipeg Sun-- A case for the defence

Quick Snaps Winnipeg Blue Bombers
Quick Snaps Toronto Argonauts

Post Game

Winnipeg 33 at Toronto 24
Attendance -- 21,189

Globe and Mail-- Buck Pierce rallies Bombers past Argos
Winnipeg Free Press-- Buck Pierce leads Bombers to victory over Argos
Winnipeg Sun-- Road win for Bombers
Toronto Star-- Lemon knocked out as Argos lose home opener

Thursday, July 21, 2011

CFL Gameday: Hamilton at British Columbia (July 22, 2011)

With a vote of confidence in his pocket from Lions owner David Braley, BC Lions coach Wally Buono is hopeful that his team will begin to turn around their thus far woeful season on Friday night.

The Tiger Cats fresh off their impressive performance against the Saskatchewan Roughriders, make the trek across the Rockies and away from the oppressive Ontario heat, eager to show CFL fans that last weeks first win of the season was the real Tiger Cat team in total sync.

For the home side, a win would seem to be imperative at this point, if for no other reason than to show the fans of the Lions that there is finally some light at what seems to have been a pretty bleak three weeks.

Below you can find information about the Friday Night Football match up, offering previews and game reviews, as well as other items of note from and other sources.

Game Time 7 PM PT (10 ET) at Empire Field (TSN)

Pre Game

Vancouver Province-- Young Lions need to learn how to win
Vancouver Sun-- Dennis wants to see more menace from Lions
Hamilton Spectator-- Contest with Lions a true test for Ticats
Toronto Sun-- Ticats vs. Lion is about revenge
Globe and Mail-- Tiger-Cats Marcel Bellefeuille boss shifts gears

Quick Snaps Hamilton Tiger Cats
Quick Snaps British Columbia Lions

Post Game

Hamilton 39 at British Columbia 31
(Attendance-- 24,117)

Vancouver Province-- Lions worst in CFL with 0-4 record after loss to Tiger-Cats
Vancouver Sun-- Lions drop to 0-4 with 39-31 loss to Ticats
Globe and Mail-- Glenn leads Tiger-Cats past Lions
National Post-- Lions fall to 0-4 after loss to Ticats

He just want's to toss the coin all night and party every day

As the Lions embark on the journey towards hopefully extinguishing their three game losing streak, they have called upon the services of a rock and roll icon of the shock variety to handle the ceremonials duties for Friday night.

The Lions announced on Wednesday that Gene Simmons, of KISS fame and key figure in the Reality TV Family Jewels, will perform the pre game coin toss at Friday nights Lions - Ticats game at Empire Fields.

CTV News-- Gene Simmons to appear at BC Lions game

We're not sure, what impact Simmons may have on the actual game itself, unless of course he's also planning on suiting up and taking a stint as a receiver or DB, but perhaps he's there for the motivational speaking aspects.

To that end, some possible affirmations for the Lions courtesy of the KISS songbook...

Strutter-- Kiss 1974
Nothin' to Lose-- Kiss 1974
Hotter than Hell-- Hotter than Hell 1974
All the Way-- Hotter than Hell 1974
Rock Bottom-- Dressed to Kill 1975
Great Expectations--- Destroyer 1976
King of the Night time world-- Destroyer 1976
Mr. Speed-- Rock and Roll over 1976
Shock Me-- Love Gun 1977
Magic Touch-- Dynasty 1979
Tomorrow-- Unmasked 1980
I'm a Legend tonight-- Killers 1982
War Machine-- Creatures of the Night 1982
Gimme More-- Lick it Up 1983
Thrills in the Night-- Animalize 1984
Get all you can take-- Animalize 1984
King of the Mountain-- Asylum 1985
I'll fight like hell to hold you-- Crazy Nights 1987
Hell or High Water-- Crazy Nights 1987
Rise to it-- Hot in the Shade 1989
In the Mirror-- Carnival of Souls 1997
We Are One-- Psycho Circus 1998
I finally found my way-- Psycho Circus 1998

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

CFL Regular Season: Week 4

As the CFL heads into week number four there's the cream of the crop in Edmonton and Montreal currently undefeated and looking in fine shape these day. While what appears to be the bottom of the CFL barrel can be found in Saskatchewan and British Columbia, where neither have won a game yet and more than a few questions are starting to be asked about their horrid starts.

Week four features the always entertaining battle of Alberta and also provides the Argos their first opportunity to play in front of a home crowd. After three weeks on the road, the Argos will take to the field at Rogers Centre on Saturday, though last weeks loss to Montreal probably didn't do a lot for advance sales.

The games of week number four include:

Friday, July 22-- Hamilton 39 at British Columbia 31 (A--24,117) 
Saturday, July 23-- Winnipeg 33 at Toronto 24 (A--21,189)
Saturday, July 23-- Edmonton 24 at Calgary 19 (A--29,910)
Sunday, July 24-- Saskatchewan 27 at Montreal 24  (A--24,434)

Twelve Men Prognostications: Predicted Winners

British Columbia

Weekly Record --  0 - 4
Overall Record -- 5 - 16