Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Stamps Not So Hot?

There's an excellent and surprisingly long article in the Post with their panel looking at the upcoming season. They all seem to like Hamilton and dislike Calgary, mainly due to their offensive line getting raped in the off-season. Maybe my last power rankings for Calgary were a bit high, although I expect Burris and Reynolds can carry a mediocre line, although maybe not a shitastic one.

Bruce Arthur has a column also in the Post about how the league isn't sucking in any particular way this year. He mentions that some may find the lack of testing of recreational drugs as part of the CFL testing regime, but really with the way society is going, why should the CFL test for this? A good choice by the CFL and probably makes the league more of an option for some import players.

Drew Edwards has a good article about the new collective bargaining agreement, including the fact that the 56% share of revenue the players had previously never resulted in any extra money so giving it up wasn't such a big deal. Although I wonder with the Riders having produced $17 million in revenue, how hard the other teams had to suck for there to be no extra money.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Ticats for Sale, WTF?

So the news in the Spec today and other sources about city council meeting with Edmonton Oilers owner and Rexall magnate Daryl Katz and sports conglomerate AEG about taking over the lease of Copps and maybe the West Harbour stadium was a pretty big surprise. The idea of taking over Copps would be to control the lease for a future NHL team apparently, although one would think the potential owner (which assumedly would not be Katz) would want to control the arena themselves. News about the West Harbour stadium is also surprising and one would have to assume that the negotations with the Ticats aren't going well. Scott Mitchell having to deny the Cats are not for sale adds a new wrinkle as well, as quoted by Drew Edwards in the Scratching Post. I'm afraid to look at the forums to see what the denizens there are doing.

The fact the Katz group is saying they love the West Harbour location is fascinating to me as a West Harbour supporter. I've long thought that there is value at the site and at least someone else is recognizing it.

News about the new collection bargaining agreement between the CFL and the players. I thought this article did a good job of showing how it isn't a particularly great deal for the players. One thing I've been confused about is the salary cap being at 4.2 million, but the players getting 56% of revenue (gate and television and anything else like merchandise), which now ends. So if last year that revenue share was over the salary cap, did the players get extra money or what? Also not to bring it back to the Pan Am stadium, but the Ticats assumed a 4.5% increase in expenses that would lead to a $7 million loss in 2015. However if there is no rise in salaries this year and only around a 2.5% rise next year, that's hardly 4.5% increase per year at least for player expenses. I always thought this 4.5% per year increase in expenses mentioned by the Cats was pure BS and this is more evidence it is. The option year closing is a big deal too, with potentially a lot of import players staying away from the CFL because of that, but really they don't have a lot of choice.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

End of Preseason CFL Power Rankings

Doing a power rankings right before the season starts seems like the prudent thing to do, especially when you get a laugh from looking back (although I'm pretty sure the Argos will suck this year). Remember these rankings measure who would win the current week on a neutral field, not who wins the Grey Cup in November.

1. Montreal
Calvillo starts out healthy and that's the main thing, even if Alouettes backup quarterback may be out a while. The Als lost centre Bryan Chiu to retirement, but they are still a deep team that went 15-3 last year and even if they go 12-6 this year, that's good enough to be best in the league, unless the Ticats really have their shit together. If Calvillo gets injured, they're probably screwed, but he has proven surprisingly resistant.

2. Calgary
I don't feel particularly strong about Calgary, but they did well in the preseason and have a solid starting quarterback in Henry Burris, plus they have Joffrey Reynolds at running back. Their offensive line was ravaged during the offseason by the NFL, so that is one large question mark.

3. Hamilton
Maybe a bit of a homer pick, but the Cats are relatively solid at quarterback compared to most CFL teams, their offensive line is relatively intact from the previous season (although what is the fallout from the Jimeniz injury is unknown) as is their defence. Cobb has turned out to be a solid CFL running back that can win games and all indications from the preseason are that he will continue where he left off last year. Baseball statistician Bill James has stated that whenever a baseball team outperforms one year compared to the previous season, inevitably the team has a dropoff the next season. The Ticats went 9 and 9 last year after back to back 3 and 13 seasons, but with a solid returning team the Cats have an excellent chance to go over 500, for the first time in a while.

4. Edmonton
This was a tough pick and below Hamilton, the teams seem pretty much the same. Edmonton lost narrowly to Calgary and beat BC narrowly in the offseason which doesn't really convey a lot of information. The Smos weren't great last year, but not bad either. They do have a reasonable quarterback in Rickey Ray, although judging from last year, his best years might now be behind him. No Jesse Lumsden to be injured the entire season either. Can't remember much about the Edmonton defence last year, so I won't say anything about them.

5. BC Lions
This is probably a dubious pick, The Lions were able to beat Hamilton in the crossover playoff game last year with Casey Printers at the helm. BC beat Saskatchewan narrowly and lost to Edmonton narrowly in the preseason, with Printers not looking particularly great. The Lions do have Wally Buono as coach, so that's enough to warrant fifth position for me.

6. Saskatchewan
The Riders lost defensive linemen John Chick and Stevie Baggs to the NFL which will definitely weaken a strong defence. Durant isn't a bad quarterback and I do like the strong set of Canadian receivers the Riders have. I just the think the defence will cause the Riders problems this year.

7. Winnipeg
No more Mike Kelly to make fun of this year. Starting Buck Pierce as your quarterback is always a crap shoot, as he is either going to play a good game or get a concussion. New coach Paul Lapolice seems like an upgrade over Kelly, so that should help somewhat, but the Bombers were a team in disarray last year and will probably have a hard time at the start of the season (ie this week).

8. Toronto
Uh, not a lot to say about the Argos. Until they show something, they are in the basement.

Ticasts Release Zac Carlson

WTF? I know the Ticats are limited in terms of roster space, but the breaking news that non-import offensive lineman Zac Carlson is slightly surprising. Couldn't the Cats have done a nine game injury list thing with him to keep him away from other teams and hopefully use him down the road? George Hudson is getting pretty old. Evidently Carlson was behind Simeon Rottier and Matt Morencie on the Canadian offensive linemen depth chart. In hindsight, using a supplemental pick to get the Weber (my major is barbequing!) State product and giving up a first round pick in this year's draft seems like a bad move.

I'm sure the Cats tried to trade Carlson, but teams probably knew he would be released and would have to give up nothing. If I'm the Argos, I snatch him up quick, considering how feeble they are at Canadian offensive lineman.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Jiminez Injury

I've neglected to comment on the Jason Jiminez injury. The import tackle will miss the season opener, making a difficult question as to who should start there. Second year non-import Simeon Rottier is a possibility (altering the ratio equation) or relative newcomer import Matt Spanos.

So veteran offensive tackle and new signee is injured going into game one. I'm going to go ahead and give Jiminez the Tigercatatonia stamp of brittleness, just to get ahead of game. More games will be missed and this will become a problem.

One other prediction, if the Cats do start Spanos, watch out for a raft of illegal procedure calls.

In Bomber news, the starting quarterback this week will be Buck "the human concussion" Pierce. What's the over under number for the games Pierce starts before getting injured. I say three and that's probably being charitable.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Ticats Last Preseason Game

So I missed seeing the last preseason game flying back from San Francisco. I did however watch most of the Cable 14 replay at midnight. Generally I was pleased with what I saw. Glenn looked decent, Stala looks like he could potentially have a 1000 yard receiving year, and Cobb looked like he's ready to continue where he left off last year. The offensive line looked decent. The defence looked good too, although I wasn't sure whether that was valid or Winnipeg's incompetence. The Bombers look like a work in progress, with Jyles outplaying the human concussion, Buck Pierce. I declare myself optimistic about the coming season. I think I probably said that before the start of 2008 too, so take that with a grain of salt.

There's an article in the Spec about the new stadium location. People asked about the site split evenly between the West Harbour and Confederation Park. A Grey Cup in November at Confederation Park. Great.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

West Harbour Stuff

There's an article in the Spec about the expropriation of homes and businesses at the West Harbour stadium site. Things look like they are moving forward there although the possibility exists for something else to go there if the stadium doesn't end up going there. One wonders with the city getting its ducks in a row in terms of acquiring all the necessary land, how difficult it will be to go to a different site where the process hasn't started and potentially bigger, wealthier landowners could have different designs on their properties. As far as I know the Cats don't own any properties of their own. One other thing about the article, it seems a bit cheap for the city to only give $5000 over the assessment. Doubling this would seem more reasonable.

I didn't comment about the Ticats preseason loss to the Argos (13-10) as all I heard was a bit of the halftime interview on CHML with O'Billovich. Too bad Brannigan didn't do much as the Argo quarterback. Hopefully they keep him around, even if it is just on the practice roster. Surprising the Cats ended up losing the game, but it is the first preseason game, which is pretty random. I just thought the Argos would be quite disorganized after this offseason. Winnipeg should be a tougher test, especially if Buck Pierce plays well.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Ticats Game Day, Preseason versus Argos

I'm away on business so unfortunately I won't make the game in Toronto today. No television but you can hear it on CHML. The first preseason game is generally more about evaluating players and apparently we won't see Kevin Glenn at all. I'll be curious to hear how Porter does today. I'm still a fan of his and knowing the history in the CFL of starters getting injured over the course of the regular season, having him on the team is certainly important. Another issue is if Glenn starts out slow, what happens? Also today Tafralis and Boltis will battle for the third quarterback spot. It wouldn't surprise me if the Cats end up jettisoning one of them early in the year rather than carrying four quarterbacks this year. What happens in the interior of the defensive line with the retirement of Darrell Adams will also be interesting?

The Argos are obviously going to be a mess this year. Probably the most curious thing about the Argos for this game will be how Queen's quarterback Danny Brannigan does. I've wondered, as have others is if a CIS quarterback can be just as good as some of the more wankerly third stringers in the CFL. Historically with former bad Ticat third stringers like Billy Dicken, I think the answer is yes. Hopefully we get a partial answer today and Brannigan does OK. Here's a Toronto Sun article on Brannigan.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Ticats Hamilton Grey Cup in 2013?

I posted a couple of days ago about trying to get the Grey Cup in 2014 for the last season of Ivor Wynne. Now there's a story in the Spec about the Cats and the city trying for the Grey Cup in 2013, using the new stadium. There's several surprising things about this. First that the year would be 2013, which I assumed the stadium would not be finished by, especially considering it is June 2010 and the city and the Ticats are still bickering over a suitable stadium site. The other is holding it in the new stadium itself, which by itself would be quite small for the Grey Cup. Assuming the Cats somehow get a 25,000 seat stadium with open ends, the Cats could probably add bleachers at both end zones although getting above 40,000 might be difficult. Conceivably the stadium could be built such that adding extra bleachers for special events like the Grey Cup is an easier undertaking. I still think holding one last Grey Cup in Ivor Wynne is worth exploring, although the stadium may now be so decrepit, adding seats would more difficult than in 1996.

One issue that the Grey Cup brings up is obviously where is the hell is the stadium going to go? I've harped about this idea in the past, but putting a stadium in Confederation Park vastly increases the likelihood that visitors using the facility would stay in Burlington hotels rather than ones in downtown Hamilton. Not a huge deal for regular season games, but for a Grey Cup and a depressed Hamilton hotel market as it is, that's a lot less benefit for the city. I'm away next week, but maybe the week after I'll test drive going from a Burlington hotel to Confederation Park versus going from the Sheraton in Jackson Square. I'm guessing Burlington will end up a much shorter journey. What's the point of having a Grey Cup in Hamilton if Burlington slurps up all the benefits?

So with a Confederation Park site, the city could host a Grey Cup, try and arrange events downtown in the preceding week, but have a much more difficult time of it. Conversely a west harbour site is reasonably close to Hess Village. Maybe the possibility of making some money off a 2013 Grey Cup could help the Cats to agreeing to the west harbour.

Tigercatatonia is Sad. No More Darrell Adams

I saw yesterday that Ticat import defensive tackle Darrell Adams has retired at 26 and was shocked. Apparently his heart wasn't in football anymore. Here's today's Spec article on it. Adams was one of my favourite players in recent years, especially on a terrible 2008 Ticat team. I'm definitely sad to see him go and I wonder if the relatively low salaries the CFL pays is one of the factors. Maybe with a $6 million salary cap Adams plays a few more years. Who knows.

Here's a Post article on the Cats using helmet cams in practice. One thing about being owned by Bob Young, the Cats are certainly more technologically advanced.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Long Time No Post

Wow, almost a month between posts. Not good, but there wasn't a huge amount of news apart from more BS about the stadium, which makes me want to avoid posting. In the Spec, there's an article on the latest of the stadium, with council trying to figure out the committee to advise facilitator Michael Fenn. Doesn't sound so promising, but that's Hamilton city council for you.

In better news, the Grey Cup in Edmonton has sold out already, with more than 60,000 tickets sold. I contemplated going, but now I guess I won't, barring the Cats making it and the Euro going back up against the US dollar.

Here's a crazy Grey Cup idea. If 2014 is going to be the last season for Ivor Wynne, why not host the Grey Cup and expand the stadium like how it was done for 1996? The new stadium looks like it could end up quite small for Grey Cup hosting purposes, plus there's the sentimentality factor for the last game. Insane, maybe.