Monday, November 16, 2009

Yesterday's Game

While the final result was certainly disappointing, at the very least the Cats did not get blown out and kept it interesting right until the end. Casey Printers played a better game than I thought he was capable of right now and pretty much won the game for BC with his scrambling ability.

There were several things I was disappointed with, in regards to the Cats play yesterday. First was not being able to take advantage of the seven (or somewhere around there) illegal procedure calls the Lion offense received. Missing their starting center, plus a loud crowd was likely the cause, however if you hear a team gets seven illegal procedure calls one would think in all probability they would lose. However the Lions were able to convert on second and long repeatedly, almost as if the procedure calls did not matter. Second was the special teams play. Hamilton seemed to get nothing on their run backs, while the Lions had a few decent run backs. Disappointing. Third was the little use of Cobb throughout the game. Admittedly Hamilton got behind, but still strange to go away from what had worked the previous three games.

Good to see a big crowd, although we were all hoping for a sellout. A better opponent (draw wise) like Toronto or Saskatchewan probably would have filled the joint. Hopefully the Cats sold a lot of merchandise and made some money off concessions and parking.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

CFL Previews, Playoffs Week 1

BC at Toronto,
Hamilton is favoured by a mere three points at home, which seems a bit charitable to BC considering their rather tenuous quarterbacking situation. Former Cat Casey Printers starts with an apparently quickly healed thumb, injured in BC's loss to Edmonton last week.

The Ticats are on a three game win streak, while the Lions are on a three game losing streak. Hamilton is six and three at home, versus the Lions four and five record on the road.

Provided the Cats can keep Casey Printers somewhat contained and not hooking up with Geroy Simon for the big play, the Cats have to be favoured. Having a balanced attack to exploit BC's weak run defence should ensure the win.
Hamilton 29, BC 24

Edmonton at Calgary,
Edmonton is coming off a two game win streak, while Calgary is coming off a one game losing streak. The Eskimos are four and five away, while Calgary is considerably better at home at six wins, two losses and one tie. Ricky Ray is playing better football over the past couple of weeks, whereas Calgary has been reasonable down the stretch, but lost an important game last week to Saskatchewan. Calgary is favoured by a mere 3.5 points, but the lure of getting a Grey Cup berth at home should be enough to motivate the Stamps.
Calgary 35, Edmonton 32

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Ticat Depth Chart, Playoff Edition v1

For the Cats on offense, the line stays the same. Gauthier at left tackle, import Dan Goodspeed at right tackle, Dyakowski and Hudson as the guards and Hage as the centre.

Import Drisan James is at one wide receiver spot, with Bauman at the other. Import McDaniel is one of the slots, with local boy Dave Stala the other. Bruce is listed in his usual weird position.

Glenn starts, Cobb at running back and John Williams at fullback for the rare times when the Cats go with a four receiver set.

On defence, Long and Hickman are the ends, with McIntyre and Adams as the tackles.

Knowlton, Floyd and Johnson are the linebackers.

Bradley and Smith are the starting corners. Thompson and Tisdale are the starting defensive backs and non-import Barker is in again at safety. Setta is back in this week. Ebell is in as a kick returner and maybe spotting Cobb at running back the odd time.

Some changes for BC since the last time Hamilton played them. On the offensive line, the lines go with two import tackles, Heerspink and Jimenez. The guards are Sorenson and Haji-Rasouli with Valli in as the starting center for the injured Angus Reid.

At receiver, there is the import Gric-Mullen and former mediocre Cat O'Neill Wilson. The import Geroy Simon is one of the slots. The import Arcenaux is the W slotback (whatever the hell that is) and Jackson is the Y slotback.

Printers starts at quarterback, with Lulay, Jackson, Pierce and Champion listed as the backups. The import Mallett is the running back, with Lumbala the fullback.

On defence, the Lions go unusually with two Canadian ends in Brent Johnson and Ricky Foley. Williams and Hunt are the tackles.

McKenzie is the WIL linebacker and former Cat Armour the MAC linebacker. Marsh and Glover are the corners. Toney and Phillips are the halfbacks. Miles is the safety with Banks the nickel back. McCallum is booting the ball.

Hamilton Playoff Attendance

Seeing as the Cats are selling a goodly number of tickets for the playoff game tomorrow, I tried to find the attendance for the last home playoff game in 2001. Apparently my Google skills are not good enough, as I haven't found it yet. Looking on the wikipedia page for CFL attendance, I did find the highest playoff attendance in Hamilton, 33,392, on November 14th, 1971. Sadly Toronto won 23 to 8 that day, but fortunately went on to lose the Grey Cup.

New Stadium Location

For my first choice, I would rather Ivor Wynne be renovated, but that doesn't seem to be in the cards so I am going with the Rheem site down by the waterfront. Getting the Rheem site cleaned up as part of the stadium process is a double win for the city, as with the Pan Am stadium going there, the site would likely stay as is, a haven only for urban explorers for fifteen years or more. Transit and parking wise, I don't think it is any worse than Ivor Wynne is presently (although admittedly Ivor Wynne is better accessible from both the East and the West. There already is some parking down at the Harbour, plus walking down Bay from downtown passes some lots as well.

Why Bob Young mentioned an Aldershot location in the Spec (even if the naming rights are worth more there) is a bit of a mystery, considering the city is contributing a big chunk of funds to the stadium as part of the Pan Am bid.

Confederation Park is too far away from most of the city and virtually no spinoff effects would be gained from the stadium and too many teams already stay at Burlington hotels when they play the Ticats, a Confederation Park would mean none would ever stay at a Hamilton hotel or eat at a restaurant.

There does seem to be some NIMBYs down in the Northend that are putting pressure on Ward 2 Councillor Bob Bratina, who made some weird location suggestions in this article. Hopefully this can all be overcome.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Ticats Fined for Boat Celebration

Sad. When did we become the NFL? And apparently Casey Printers is starting on Sunday. Makes for a good story, starting against his former team. A better story is the fact he uses a "Life Coach."

Something Else the Cats Haven't Done Since 2001

This week's game against BC is the first home playoff game for the Cats since 2001. What else have the Cats done this year since 2001? Score more points than they gave up during the regular season. The Cats scored 449 points while giving up 428 in 2009. Compared to last year, the Cats gave up 441 and allowed an ugly 593. In 2001, the Cats scored 440 and gave up 420.

Monday, November 9, 2009

CFL iPhone Apps

I downloaded the Rider iPhone app, presented by SaskTel to check it out. It has the standard sections, schedule, standings, scores, roster, stats plus articles that seem to come exclusively from The stats section is basic but well done. It also has the Riders' Twitter feed and wheat prices. OK, no wheat prices, but it would be useful for a Rider fan. Given Bob Young's computing background, I wonder why the Cats haven't gotten around to making an iPhone app. I could understand that doing it internally might not be worth it on a cost basis (the Rider app unsurprisingly is free), but the Cats could easily pay a Mac student a few dollars during the summer break to create one. Maybe Bob Young's love of open source precludes an app on a closed platform, but maybe an Android app would be possible. Having a Blackberry one as well wouldn't be bad, as would some more functionality, such as facilitating posting on the forums, plus access to video content.

I also downloaded the Score's app. I actually really like their CFL section on it. The only criticism I have of it, is that for games it has the offensive stats, but no defensive stats like tackles or sacks, which doesn't make a lot of sense, but apart from that, it is great and free too.

CFL Power Rankings, End of Regular Season

1. Montreal
2. Saskatchewan
3. Calgary
4. Hamilton
5. Edmonton
6. Winnipeg
7. BC
8. Toronto

Montreal wiped the floor with Toronto, doing the job with a lot of backups and finished the season perfect at home. Saskatchewan prevailed over Calgary at home in a game that decided home field advantage for the Western final. Burris isn't quite the same quarterback he has been in previous years.

Hamilton wins easily over a terrible Winnipeg team, extending a win streak and arguably the hottest team in the league. Edmonton slaughtered BC in a potential win or out game (which it turns out wasn't but the teams didn't know it at the time), but haven't beat a decent team in a while.

Winnipeg gets an edge over BC, because as bad as Michael Bishop is, he's better than BC's fifth string quarterback or whatever quarterback they are on now.

Toronto hasn't won since the week after Labour Day. Not good.

That's the end of the power rankings this year. I think I did one for every week during the season, plus a few random ones during the off-season that were pretty much based off of nothing but free agent signings and making fun of Jesse Lumsden's bobsleigh career. For laughs, here's my first set of power rankings for 2009, done in April: Calgary, BC, Montreal, Edmonton, Saskatchewan, Toronto, Hamilton and then Winnipeg. Could have been worse I suppose. BC was probably the team that seemed least likely to have quarterback troubles, but then did. Saskatchewan was better than I thought, mainly due to Darian Durant, who I honestly thought would be exposed as a fraud this year, but ultimately showed me up. Winnipeg did end up sucking in my defence.


That was satisfying, especially the two trips by the secondary to the Lund powerboat. Hamilton's 39 to 17 win puts the Cats at 0.500 for the regular season, secures a home playoff spot for the first time since 2001 and gives the Cats a three game winning streak going in to next week's game at Ivor Wynne against BC where they are 6 and 3 this season.

The defence was especially good, with the Bombers only scoring three points in the last three quarters. Admittedly it was Michael Bishop, but the Cats did a decent job of bottling up running back Fred Reid. Why the Bombers didn't have Bishop try to run more and move the chains is beyond me. Bizarrely it seems that Bomber coach Mike Kelly will be back next year, which can only be good for the Ticats 2010 playoff chances.

Cobb frankly had a subpar day, rushing 21 times for 77 yards for a 3.7 yard average, however the Bomber run defence is probably the best in the league (apart from Montreal). Good to see the Cats kept running though, as it kept the Bomber defence honest.

Glenn was good, with 28 for 42 passing for 316 yards with a TD, but two picks. McDaniel was the hero of the receiving corps, with seven grabs for 91 yards, but also Stala, Bruce and James had good games, with even John Williams having one reception for 14 yards. Eight different receivers had at last one catch in the game, which shows good diversity on offense. By contrast, Winnipeg only had four different receivers catching a pass, but Bishop only completed eight passes.

Ito did decently with a 40 yard average on ten punts, plus three for three on field goals, even if one is of the phantom variety.

BC looks pretty beat up in the quarterback department and lost in rather lacklustre fashion to Edmonton on Friday so the Cats are looking good. The Cats have beaten BC twice this year and I'm guessing if they win this will be the first time the Cats have ever beat the Lions three times in one season. Should be a good game and hopefully a good crowd at Ivor Wynne

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Ticat Depth Chart, Regular Season Finale

The offensive line is the usual. Gauthier at left tackle, import Goodspeed at right tackle, Dyakowski and Hudson the guards and Hage the centre. Import James is one wide receiver and Bauman is back at the other. Import McDaniel is one of the slotbacks and local boy Dave Stala is the other. Bruce is listed as is customary, backing up Bauman. Rodriguez is listed as backing up James.

Glenn starts, Cobb starts, with non-import Williams listed as the fullback.

On defence, Long and Hickman are the ends, McIntyre and Adams are the tackles.

Knowlton, Floyd and Johnson are the linebackers.

Bradley and Smith are the cornerbacks, with Thompson and Tisdale the defensive backs. Barker starts again as the lone Canadian on defence at safety. Sasha Glavic is listed as his backup, who I thought the Cats had released.

Jeremy Ito is in as the punter and kicker because Setta is injured. Good that we had Ito on the practice roster for a while, although I wonder how he will do.

For Winnipeg on the offensive line, Morley is the left tackle, with import January the right tackle, LaBatte and Mac product Donnelly are the guards and Khan is the centre.

Imports Ryan and Bowman are the wide receivers, Ralph and Hargreaves are the slotbacks. Bishop is the starting quarterback, with Bramlet (who?) the backup. Fred Reid is the starting running back, with Oosterhuis the fullback.

On defence, Hunt and Willis are the ends, with non-imports Brown and Oramasionwu as the tackles. Imports Charlton, Simpson and Shabazz are the linebackers.

Imports Craver and Johnson are the cornerbacks. Imports Walls and Hefney are the defensive backs, with non-import Logan as the safety.

Serna is the placekicker and Troy Westwood is the punter.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Terry Caulley Cut

Sad to see that Terry Caulley has been cut. Drew Edwards reported it in his blog. Caulley was injured for a lot of the year, and the emergence of Deandra' Cobb kept him on the bench. Caulley was a decent player, however his time corresponded with some low points for the Tiger-Cats. Seems with the signing of running back Tyler Ebell, Caulley became expendable. Still wondering what is going to happen to Kenton Keith in the off-season. Outright release?

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Morencie Signing

There's an article in the Province about the Cats signing Windsor Lancer fifth year player Matt Morencie. BC had drafted him in the third round before the start of this season, but Morencie went back for his fifth year after I assume the Lions released him. That meant with Windsor out of the playoffs and their season done, he was free to sign with any team and ended up with the Cats.

This is an interesting issue as players routinely go back for a fifth year of CIS ball if they can't make the club. BC could have done what the Cats (Zack Carlson) and Riders seem to be doing and kept Morencie on the roster this season, but then put him on the nine game injury list, where he and his salary doesn't count against the cap or the roster limit. This nine game injury list is now a way of getting around the salary cap. Teams with more resources like the Riders can stockpile players, compared to the Argos who tend to be underfunded (probably from paying too much to coaches past and present) and keep the bare number of Canadians and end up screwed when injuries occur.

The Cats are looking good for next year in terms of young Canadians on the offensive line. They have number one pick Rottier, supplementary pick Carlson and now Morencie getting some practice in before next year's camp. Morencie was highly rated going into the draft but somewhat inexplicably dropped down to third. With guard Dyakowski also being quite young, the Cats are probably OK next year even if backup guard Gagne-Marcoux goes to Montreal to replace Bryan Chiu at centre (his natural position). Hudson is getting quite old, although his play has been reasonable and better than Gagne-Marcoux's. Goodspeed and Gauthier will no doubt be back, with probably this year's crop of offensive linemen making their presence felt in 2011.

CFL Previews, Week 19, Part 1

Edmonton at BC,
So BC is favoured by four at home last I checked, despite BC having had lost two games in a row. Edmonton is on a one game winning streak after spanking the hapless Argos last week. Still not sure who starts for BC this week in a win or go home game (or tie and both stick around) Printers or Buck "the Glassman" Pierce. Printers has played well the past few weeks, but hasn't won. Not sure if BC running back Mallett will play either. BC's defence looks like it has finally adjusted to not having Cameron Wake make everyone else look better. Edmonton's defence has looked porous the entire year. I'm going with BC mainly due to Buono, but really these two teams are not that good.

Montreal at Toronto,
Uh, Montreal is only favoured by 9.5 points? Toronto has lost seven straight, is one and seven at home, whereas Montreal is five and three on the road and has a mighty one game winning streak going. Easy romp for Montreal, especially if Toronto starts Reaves

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


So the last odds I have seen have Winnipeg 1.5 point favourites at home against the Tiger-Cats on Sunday. Winnipeg didn't look great against a Montreal with Calvillo at the controls, but this week they are at home and if they don't win, they are out. Hamilton is in unless BC and Edmonton tie and the Cats lose. I think Hamilton has looked quite good the past two games, especially the defence, so barring Bishop heaving bombs randomly down field that happen to land near Winnipeg receivers, I think we have really should be favoured.

BC is favoured by three at home versus Edmonton in their do or die game. Hamilton and BC winning we mean Printers starting in Hamilton the following week. Somehow I think Ray comes out of this one.

The Riders are favoured by one at home against Calgary in their battle to host the Western final. Saskatchewan hasn't won the division since 1976 which is remarkable in a four and five team division. The Riders looked crap against Hamilton and if they bring that against Calgary, they'll get blown out.

Montreal is favoured by 9.5 against Toronto in David Millerville. Toronto is starting that Reaves kid, however if I was betting, I would be tempted to take Montreal against the spread.

Monday, November 2, 2009

CFL Power Rankings

1. Montreal
2. Calgary
3. Saskatchewan
4. Hamilton
5. BC
6. Edmonton
7. Winnipeg
8. Toronto

Montreal came back into form with Calvillo back. Calgary won a close one in BC, while Saskatchewan looked terrible in Hamilton, flu or not. Hamilton looked good both
offensively and defensively.

BC can play reasonably with Casey Printers at the controls, but doesn't look like they can make the next step.

Edmonton beats Toronto. Which means little. Winnipeg comes back to earth against a real quarterback. Toronto sucks as per usual. One last game to tie last year's four and fourteen record.