Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Saskatchewan Roughrider Attendance Correction

My apologies for the figures in the last post. The Saskatchewan Roughrider totals were not correct as I forgot the capacity got boosted for the August 31 game against Winnipeg from 28,800. Strangely, for the Winnipeg game the attendance is listed as 30,985, whereas for the last three games it is 30,945. Here's the amended list:

Edmonton 37383
BC 34083
Calgary 32617
Saskatchewan 29758
Toronto 29189
Winnipeg 27151
Hamilton 20784
Montreal 20202

This you will note, boost Saskatchewan over Toronto. I'm still working on the best road draw calculations, but I should be able to post them for Friday.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Best Road Draw, Part 1

Remembering the Ticat game at home against Saskatchewan and all the Riders fans there, I got to wondering which CFL is the best road draw. I also thought about how the Jesse Lumsden fumble before halftime probably cost us the game, but then I should probably just let that go. Damn he had the first down yardage too.

Anyways, calculating who is the best road draw is a bit tedious, but I have calculated the average attendances for each team last year which is the first step:

Edmonton 37383
BC 34083
Calgary 32617
Toronto 29189
Saskatchewan 28800
Winnipeg 27151
Hamilton 20784
Montreal 20202

All right Hamilton, not last in something! Actually with the feeble record and
feeble attendance the Ticats had last year, the Cats may be able to improve on both this year.

Anyways, from what I've seen so far, the Riders look like they will end up being the best road draw. Hopefully I can have part two posted by the weekend. Somehow I don't think Hamilton will end up doing that great and the Argos might surprise.

Richie Williams, A Ticat No More

The Spec is reporting that the club has released quarterback Richie Williams. This isn't a big surprise considering the signing of Kevin Glenn. I suppose the timing is related to the draft and the need to be at the right number of players signed going into camp. I liked Richie, but with the relative success of Quinton Porter, Williams became an afterthought. Richie seemed to have more success than Printers when he was in, but that's not saying much, is it?

Whether Williams will resign with another club is a question. After all, if you get released by the last placed club, that's not saying much. The Argos seemed to have respect for Richie, so maybe he will end up there. Hopefully that won't come back to bite us.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Season Ticket Missive

So I received the season ticket holder email today, as a proud holder of two tickets in section 5 (section 5 motto: we're cheap and we can probably move over towards the centre right after kickoff). Two points were worth noting. The first was regards to purchasing parking to go along with your season tickets. Lot J near Scott Park is $135, whereas A, D and K are $175. There's a lot B shown on the map right behind the stadium, but I guess that's for VIPs or something. Getting parking in J for $135 isn't so bad, as then you wouldn't have to creep around Ivor Wynne in your car like a pedophile looking for elusive street parking (and enraging locals at the same time) although it is over $10 per game. I wonder if a home playoff game is included in the price. I still believe there has to be a magical area near Ivor Wynne, where you're relatively close, and can easily find a spot near game time. Haven't found it yet.

The other point is that as a season ticket holder you can get Grey Cup tickets before the general public. The game is in Calgary this year and endzone tickets were available for $195, with bronzes for $225. The higher price tickets are apparently all sold out, which I take as a good sign considering that the draft hasn't even happened yet.

Ticats Probably Won't Draft Jamall Lee

TSN reports that Jamall Lee has signed a contract with the Carolina Panthers. The Bishop's player was probably going to go high in the draft (and possibly the Cats could have picked him with their third pick), but now since he wouldn't be available at the earliest until after the CFL season has started, he will probably drop down into the later rounds, although probably not any later than the third. Too bad for the CFL, as he would have been interesting to follow this year.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

CFL Draft, Live on TSN

Yes you, like Homer Simpson in the episode "When Flanders Failed", can watch the CFL 2009 draft in the comfort of your own home on TSN. The draft takes place on May 2nd, at 11 am, with the first two rounds broadcast live. Apparently it will also be broadcast on TSN HD, which seems like a bit of overkill. I'm still waiting for TSN to start broadcasting non Touchdown Atlantic preseason games.

Of course the Cats have the first and third picks this year so it is well worth watching.

Grey Cup Droughts

Thinking about how long it has been since the Cats last won the Grey Cup in 1999, I decided to make a list of when the various teams last won the Cup. Out of the current teams in the league, only Winnipeg has had a longer drought than the Hammer and I'm guessing they're not ending it this season. I suppose since Ottawa has a conditional franchise, they are in a sense the team with the longest drought of over thirty years. Sarnia's also had a long, long drought, but I never hear any Sarnia Imperials expansion talk. Sarnia also won in 1934, so they were no one hit wonder.

2008 Calgary
2007 Saskatchewan
2006 BC
2005 Edmonton
2004 Toronto
2002 Montreal
1999 Hamilton
1995 Baltimore
1990 Winnipeg
1976 Ottawa
1936 Sarnia

Weird Grey Cup Fact: Luba was the half time entertainment for the 79th in 1991.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

More Stuff

Duane Forde has a long article on, describing the draft status of Zac Carlson, a Weber State (alma mater of Rob Hitchcock) offensive lineman. It is one of those weird cases where part of his growing up is done in Canada so he should qualify, but he needs receipts from that time period. Like a six year old keeps receipts. Anyways, looks like Carlson won't qualify for this year's draft, but qualifies for some weird purgatory like supplemental draft. And since the Cats sucked, they have the first pick in the supplemental draft, but at the cost of a pick in next year's draft. Where do the Cats see themselves placing next year?

Forde also discusses how if the Cats can actually sign DT Corey Mace, whose rights they acquired in the Moreno deal, then they wouldn't have to pick Laval's
Etienne Légaré, another defensive lineman and could instead pick Bishop's running back Jamal Lee. I've heard nothing about the Cats being interested in picking Lee and frankly I thought the Cats have soured on Canadian running backs after the Jesse Lumsden situation. Lee might still be a good pick in a seemingly weak draft year, as he would at least be useful on special teams. Really he couldn't do any worse than Cat 2008 first round picks Samuel Giguere and Dylan Barker, neither of whom played a regular season down.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Ottawa, Still Going

Looks like things are looking up for an Ottawa CFL team, where previously things looked bleak. Apparently council will vote as to whether they will enter negotiations with Hunt's group to redo Lansdowne Park with assorted real estate development and an updated Frank Clair Stadium.

Looks like Eugene Melnyk's idea to build a soccer stadium out in that far from Ottawa centre suburban wasteland Kanata for a theoretical, if somewhat unlikely MLS franchise has been given the boot. Putting a stadium in exurbia seems to have died out in North America (witness the quick kiboshing to the idea of putting the new Ticat stadium in Confederation Park), so Melnyk probably didn't have much of a chance unless he was willing to pay for everything.

CFL Criminal Proceedings

So Riders GM Eric Tillman has pleaded not guilty to sexual assault and we won't know what happens until June 12th. Should one be suspicious of someone with two years of salary cap violations under his watch?

In other CFL sexual assault news, Frank D'Angelo, former Steelback (they still make that stuff? Who the fuck drinks it?) head honcho and Argo, uh, associate was found not guilty of sexual assault on a 22 year old woman after a short trial.

Testimony included strange things going on at a Holiday Inn. Apparently according to the defence, the woman was looking for a rich boyfriend. What this had to do with the case is a mystery.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Power Rankings, 1st Edition 2009, Part 2

In some ways, ranking the bottom four teams is harder than the top four. There's just a lot crap and uncertainty down there. That said, I'll give it an attempt.

5. Saskatchewan
I was tempted to rate the Riders below 5, but the mediocrity of the other teams was just too much. I don't really like their QBs (despite Durrant shredding the Cats last year at Ivor Wynne) that much. They have decent Canadian talent and I generally like their receivers. Probably their defence sets them apart from the other three teams here. The Riders will end up last in the West.

6. Toronto Basically this was a tossup with Hamilton, however trying to be not too biased, I think you can't predict Hamilton above 7th, so the Argos have to slot in somewhere. Their American coaching experiment could work like the Alouettes last or explode. I'm betting on explode. The Argos offensive line should improve with the addition of Rob Murphy this year and if the Argos can actually formulate a game plan that is geared towards Kerry Joseph, they should score some points. I expect the Argos defence, with Moreno, to be decent but not great. Hamilton could well end up better than the Argos this year, but I think the main thing for me is how often the Cats go into a season looking like they should improve but don't.

7. Hamilton
Hamilton was actually fairly close to not being the worse team in the league last year. I think the Cats will improve on their win total to six or seven games, which while better than the past couple of years, is still poor. I expect the Cat defence to improve under new defensive coordinator Greg Marshall, however I think they still don't have the talent there. On offence a lot depends on what Porter does this year. Glenn provides a decent stopgap against total suck if Porter regresses. If everything went perfect the Cats could be a ten win team, but honestly, what are the odds of that. Going five and four at home should be a goal.

8. Winnipeg
The new coach and GM has blown up the team and anything connected with the old regime. I can't think it will go well, but they will probably be better at the end of the season. I can't even remember who is supposed to be the starting quarterback off the top of my head. Some guy who came from Edmonton? That's not good.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Power Rankings, 1st Edition 2009, Part 1

Since a popular web cliché for sports content is the power rankings, I figured I would start in off season. During the season, I'll probably do it weekly, however up to then, I'll probably do it every couple of weeks, based on pretty much nothing except minor signings blown out of proportion and what I'm feeling that day. These rankings aren't based on who will win the Grey Cup, but rather which ever team has a higher ranking would win against a lower ranked team on a hypothetical neutral field. Probably too much will be based on the quarterbacks, but that's CFL football (i.e. if Jason Maas is your starter, prepare to suck).

1. Calgary
Defending champs, proven starting quarterback in Henry Burris, surprisingly good young offensive line loaded with Canadian talent makes filling out the rest of the roster easier. Haven't really paid much attention to their offseason moves.

2. BC
This was tough, but they still have relative strength at QB with Pierce and Jackson. Losing Cam Wake, the leading sack guy in the league last year to big NFL money will definitely hurt, but they still have nonimport Brent Johnson, who had 10 sacks last year. They also lost Rob Murphy on the line which should also hurt. Basically I'm giving them the two spot due to coaching, however I could see BC scratching for a playoff spot.

3. Montreal
Well coached now with Mark Trestman, the Alouettes are still a team to be reckoned with. I'd put them above BC, but I still wonder if this is the year age catches up with Calvillo. If so, they're in trouble. Plus their offensive line is a getting a wee bit crotchety.

4. Edmonton
I don't really like Edmonton, but the teams below are just that bad. Ricky Ray is definitely a good QB, but he tends to put up gaudy passing numbers rather than wins. They added Canadian bobsleigh champion Jesse Lumsden. We'll see how that works out.

Tomorrow, the bottom four. Wow do they smell. And not just the Ticats for a change.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Ottawa, The Saga Continues

There's an article in the Citizen saying that the elected representatives have seemed to have shifted away from putting a new stadium in Lansdowne Park, perhaps in favour of a combined football soccer stadium in, yes that exurban hellhole, Kanata. I thought it was pretty much standard now throughout North America to put your stadiums near the downtown rather than way out in the suburbs as was done in the past (Buffalo).

Probably more disturbing is the suggestion by the Hunt group who have the conditional franchise to have Eugene Melnyk take over. Hasn't crappy or disinterested owners caused enough damage to Ottawa football already. Melnyk appears to like soccer and disdain football. Seems like a bad recipe. Frankly I think one thing that needs to be pointed out is how much of an outside shot Ottawa is for MLS. There's many other places in the US (and Canada) for that matter that will likely get a franchise before Ottawa does.

Prospects for an Ottawa franchise seem cloudier and cloudier.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


So there's an article in the Globe about how the city council isn't sure about investing in a new stadium for Lansdown Park. On the bright side, they seem even less enthused about Eugene Melnyk's rival plans for an MLS franchise based in that exurban hellhole known as Kanata. MLS in Ottawa always seemed to be kind of the last place I thought they would expand and guess what, they didn't.

I hope that Ottawa can get its act together and get a new or refurbished stadium built, especially with the way the feds are spraying around money right now. Ottawa does seem a hard market for the CFL, being a government town and the disappointment of multiple past failures. One upside is the CFL is remarkable stable right now, with, apart from Saskatchewan, a viable salary management system and also seeming to be relatively unaffected by the current recession. Which is more than you can say for the NHL.

Sometimes I wonder if Quebec City isn't a better place for the next team. Ottawa will attract people in the Ottawa area, but it certainly won't be Canada's team. Quebec would probably draw a decent amount of fan interest throughout Quebec outside of Montreal proper. Although then again, it could end up just splitting the fans the Alouettes already have. Seems unlikely Quebec will ever get a stadium in the near future, so Ottawa is probably the only chance for a new CFL team for quite some time.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Sacre Bleu! No Booze at Argos Game

Seems a bit odd that we don't know what infraction led to two Blue Jay games and one Argo game being booze free, considering the Liquor Control Board of Ontario is a government agency. Perhaps a Freedom of Information request is in order to figure out which event caused the ban. My guess is one of those Monster Jam events as they always seemed quite dubious to me. I guess that pretty much guarantees sneaking in a mickey, as Toronto versus Winnipeg this year will probably be a pretty mediocre game. Seems a bit odd that they couldn't have dinged the exhibition game.

Not much going on, here's some photos... 3

As I recall, the Cats ended up winning this game right near the end.Thus the Cats won both preseason games and went 3 and 15. Two years in a row. What are the odds of that?

Not much going on, here's some photos... 2

Originally uploaded by philinator

Note the giant referee. I was sitting at some seats that were practically at one end of the goal line.

Not much going on, here's some photos...

Jumbotron, Rogers Centre
Originally uploaded by philinator
Not really much to say now until the draft, barring any other trades. I guess the Cats could potentially move the first and third overall picks, but after moving the ninth overall pick in the Goodspeed trade, the Cats will probably stand pat.

Here's some photos I took last year at the exhibition game versus the Argos at their stadium, including one of the Jumbotron. I actually enjoyed going to the game, even though it was preseason. In a way it is too bad the away exhibition game is in Winnipeg this year, as I probably would have gone again.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


I checked the Cat site and Jordan Rempel was born in Saskatchewan and played at the University of Saskatchewan so he is not an import. I don't know what TSN and the Canadian Press were talking about. Crackheads.

Three Way Trade Craziness

Apparently the Cats have acquired Winnipeg import OL Dan Goodspeed, from, er, Saskatchewan. Apparently we gave up OL Jordan Rempel (who is apparently an import according to TSN, which was news to me) and our second round pick in the draft (ninth overall) and we got back a future somebody who will probably never get out of camp (a fifth round draft pick) and no doubt a hardy handshake. Not really sure what this is about. The ninth overall pick seems like it might have been useful, especially with some pseudo Canadians emerging from the NCAA woodwork for this year's draft. Personally I have always thought that import olinemen were a fungible commodity, so swapping them? Goodspeed has more experience than Rempel, so maybe we will be better immediately next year. Or Goodspeed has nothing left in the tank and we've got a sucky oline next year.

Salary Cap and the Nine Game Injury List

Thinking about the Riders going over the cap yesterday, I was wondering about the nine game injury list. If a player is put on the nine game injury list, his salary while on the list does not count against the cap. How does the nine game list work at the end of the season? Say the Cats, with three games left last year, they know they won't make the playoffs. Could they put a bunch of their more expensive players on the nine game list for the last three games to get under the cap if they were over? If putting players on the list would put them under the cap, could the team renegotiate a contract and pay a player a bonus during the last three games to get back to the cap and then pay him less the following year, thus potentially leaving more cap room for the following year? Seems to me, if you're sucking towards the end and know the team will miss the playoffs, there's some manipulating that could be done to leave you better off next year.

I do remember last year where the Cats could have released Casey Printers before the half way mark of the season (veteran players have their contracts guaranteed after nine games), however he ended up "injured" during that crucial period so they couldn't have released him anyways, Certainly in hindsight it would have been better if he had been released.