Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Mac Wins!

It was a little close at the end, with Mac beating Queen's 23 to 18. Really Queen's shouldn't have managed to get all the way down the field at the end, but Mac prevails with the Queen's receiver getting absolutely annihilated on the last play of game.

One could argue that Queen's played better, but Mac made some decent long runs in the final quarter. Tough game against Laurier coming up.

Queen's at Mac Halftime

Mac was pretty lucky to only be trailing by 1, 11 to 10 at half time. They started off well, but in the second quarter their pass defence started to get shredded which doesn't bode well for the second half.

I thought Mac's running game would have done better, but maybe Queen's has a good defence this year. Mac needs to cut down on the fumbles in the second half if they are going to have a chance to win.

West Harbour is Dead, Long Live Longwood!

So council has apparently voted 13-2 in favour of pursuing the new stadium at the Longwood and Aberdeen site. Whether the city can make a deal with Mac is a bit up in the air. The city has land to trade, plus the medical centre Mac wanted to build in the MIP (McMaster Innovation Park) was never a good fit for that location, so maybe the city can find a better site for it closer to downtown. The city has had problems dealing with Mac lately so who knows. With the city and the Ticats on board, plus assumedly the province and the feds who I'm sure wish this would just go away maybe there's a deal to be made.

I'm still not convinced that the deal is that great for the Ticats compared to West Harbour, but they do, so I guess that's what's important. One thing I hope comes out of this is a focus on getting the West Harbour remediated. Judging by the time it has taken for the Lister Block or Randle Reef to be addressed, I'm afraid it is going to be a long wait, even with concrete plans. One of the benefits of putting the stadium at the West Harbour, from the city's perspective is that with the tight timeline things would start moving quickly.

In football news, last year's CFL sack leader, Ricky Foley has been released by the Seattle Seahawks. With BC last year, he's a free agent and obviously will draw some interest as a non-import rush end. Should the Cats go after him? Good question. The Cats defensive line has been decent, although not stellar and Foley would be an improvement, at least in terms of ratio. Starting him and Matt Kirk on the line would be pretty sweet. However the Cats have been burnt by midseason NFL signings in the past (see Keith, Kenton), so maybe they're a little gunshy. Whoever signs Foley will have to have some cap room. I'm sure BC will make a run at resigning him, although a team with a single win probably won't make the playoffs if that's a concern for Foley. Historically the Argos would be in there. Speaking of history, the Cats have been rumoured to have cap room every season, so maybe they could win the bidding war and frontload the contract this year so the next two seasons wouldn't have as big a cap hit.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Longwood and Aberdeen Lives!

The Spec has reported that Bob Young has sent a letter to the Mayor and various other politicians about locating a stadium at Longwood and Aberdeen, near the McMaster Innovation Park (MIP).

I've stated before that I'm not really that enamoured by the site compared to the West Harbour. Bus service is pretty mediocre unless you walk down to Main. There's not many bars in the area, with I'm guessing Ray's Place on Dundurn being the closest. Of course for the Cats that is likely a feature, not a bug. There's parking at the MIP, plus whatever they can get on the site, although it won't be 6,000 spots. GO bus service is OK, considering one could use the Dundurn stops, but I don't see much with regards to the GO train. I think it is a bit rich of the Cats to mention transit, considering their favourite site, Confederation Park, has a route that only runs Saturdays and Sundays in the summer. Never too late to get religion, I suppose.

Building a pedestrian bridge over the 403 linking the Ainsile Wood neighbourhood might be a decent idea down the road, both for the stadium and the MIP, although the length required would probably mean a ridiculous cost.

Perhaps this is an opportunity for both Bob Young and the Mayor to compromise. Again I don't see how much better this is for the Cats over West Harbour, apart from naming rights being higher due to being beside the highway. If anything, traffic will be more of a hassle.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

CFL Previews, Week 9

I forgot to put a pick for the Calgary BC game last night, but I'm pretty sure I would have taken Calgary.

Saskatchewan at Edmonton
So Edmonton is at home which is something I guess. The Riders are currently favoured by 6.5 points, which seems a little small for a 5 and 2 team versus a 1 and 6 team. Looks like Edmonton is missing receiver Fred Stamps too. With all the Rider fans who will be at the stadium, I'm not sure you can even really count it as a home game for the Eskimos. I'm picking the Riders to cover.
Saskatchewan 39, Edmonton 28

Friday, August 27, 2010

No Real Stadium at West Harbour

It just goes on and on. According to the Spec, the Pan Am Games organizers are now only willing to pay for a 5000 to 7000 seat stadium on West Harbour. Obviously that becomes more difficult for the council to support. Is Aberdeen and Longwood still a possibility? Who knows. At this point I wish the Pan Am games had never come along. Everyone would be pumped about the season and hopefully the Cats would have a decent year revenue wise at Ivor Wynne. I'm curious to see if the Labour Day game will sell out. Without the Pan Am debacle, I'm almost positive it would, but now with a lot of resentment to the Ticats lingering, I'm not sure they can fill it up.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

CFL Power Rankings, Week 8

There were only two games last week, so somewhat of a limited data set to work off of.

1. Calgary
I remember at the beginning of the year there was concern about Calgary's offensive line being decimated in the off-season. It caused some problems in the beginning of the year, but now Calgary has won four straight and is looking good for a trip to the Grey Cup in Edmonton.

2. Saskatchewan
Durant is healthy as far as I know, so that's enough for me.

3. Montreal
Calvillo's status is not well known, but clearly without him, the Alouettes are a much worse team. Maybe not Eskimo bad, but the Bombers could possibly beat them.

4. Hamilton
Sure I'm biased, but the Cats won ugly on the road and actually have a quarterback rather than some guy named after an Internet shock photo. Things could change after Labour Day, but for now the Cats are into the top half of the league.

5. Toronto
Still a decent team with an awesome defence and a good running game. They would be scary with a quarterback, but I'm sure they are not paying Lemon much so maybe the money is going to the defence.

6. Winnipeg
Still rocking two wins and a chance for the Western crossover. They might want to win a third game at some point.

7. Edmonton
Sure they got spanked in their last game, but they still have Ray. That's not enough to win many games, but gives you a shot at the bottom feeders.

8. BC
No real viable quarterback and the loss of Ricky Foley to the NFL is hurting them more than one would have thought. So much for playing outside.

Here's an article about Oshawa going after a CFL team via the Pan Am games. The mayor seems to know the score.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Stat Breakdown, Cats at Argos

Argos Cheerleaders
Originally uploaded by philinator
So it is time to look at the stats for the ugly 16 to 12 win by the Cats at Dead Ted's Dome last week. As illustration, I included this photo of an Argo cheerleader looking wistful as the game ended, wondering "what if the Argos hadn't taken all those holding penalties at the beginning of the game or what if Jim Barker knew you couldn't challenge a spot on second down." Anyways the rest of the photos I took of the game are located here. A bit cheerleader heavy maybe, but with the layout of the stadium my view of the game was terrible unless the play was right down near me. There's also a picture of Pinball and a blurry one of CFL commissioner Mark Cohon.

It was definitely a defensive battle. Glenn's numbers weren't terrible, going 25 for 36 for 247 yards with a pick. Cobb had an OK week, with 99 yards on 20 carries with the games's only TD, but he can't seem to crack that 5 yards per carry barrier. Toronto does have a tough defence, so not a bad outing.

Bruce had a reasonable game with 68 yards on 8 passes. Mann had a good game with 57 yards with five catches and Stala also had 57 yards on one less catch. Stala is on track for a 1000 yard season which might be enough for him to win the Most Outstanding Canadian Award.

Hickman had a good week with six tackles as an end. Johnson had five tackles and a sack. Four sacks total, but Cleo "the Party" Lemon holds on to the ball a lot. Barker had a great chance for an interception but eventually bounced it off his face and dropped it. Not to sound like too much of an old-timer, but Rob Hitchcock hit hard and made interceptions.

For the Argos, Lemon went 18 for 31 for 210 yards, which generally won't win you many games. Boyd had only 81 yards on 16 carries, so the Ticats did a good job of bottling him up. The Argos were missing Gagne-Marcoux on the offensive line so maybe that contributed.

Durie led the Argo receivers with 69 yards on seven catches. Which makes one wonder where the Argo import receivers are. Maybe Drisan James can expect a call so he can make some awesome catches and then inexplicably drop easy ones.

Eiben led the Argos with ten tackles.

I saw this article on Raise the Hammer, comparing Buffalo and Hamilton with regards to stadium sites and I pretty much agree with it.

Bruce Article

Hamilton at Toronto
Originally uploaded by philinator
Here's an interesting article from a US paper about Arland Bruce III and his success in the CFL today, especially this season. What's fascinating is that Bruce only caught 24 passes during his two seasons with the University of Minnesota Gophers. Sure maybe they were a run oriented offence (or maybe not), but that's amazing for Bruce to succeed at such a higher level in the CFL. The photo shows Bruce from last Friday's game in Toronto

Sunday, August 22, 2010


Originally uploaded by philinator
I put up some photos on Flickr of the last Winnipeg at Hamilton. You can check out the set here. There's a photo of the 1972 Grey Cup winning team, plus a few of the cheerleaders in their 70s garb.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Calvillo Released From Hospital

So Montreal Alouettes quarterback Anthony Calvillo has been released from the hospital after two nights from a falling on the ball injury. Two nights actually sounds a bit serious. But of course as luck would have it, the Alouettes have a bye week followed by the 1 and 6 BC Lions. I was looking forward to the Lions losing that game and then going into Lion message boards and trolling by demanding Wally Buono be fired. Now maybe the Lions have a chance.


Back to 500 for the Cats. I attended the game at Dead Ted's Dome yesterday and obviously enjoyed the outcome. Not much of a game, with neither team able to finish off drives. Both defences played well, although the Argos offence is reminiscent of the Dr. Dre song Bitches Ain't Shit.

I can say the Cats benefitted from some refereeing in their favour, especially very early on in the contest when the Argos almost began with a bang. The penalty for wrongly calling for a challenge review on second and short was critical, although that was Barker's fault. I didn't know you couldn't challenge the spot on second down either, but I'm not a CFL head coach either.

The Rogers Centre is a mediocre venue especially if one is close to the sidelines. I was sitting very close to the five yard line, which was great for action down at our end, but was mostly mystified by what was going on for the other parts of the field.

I'll do a stat breakdown tomorrow and hopefully post some photos on Flickr including some Argo cheerleader shots. They were right there, plus this site could use the pageviews.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Yet More Stadium Rumours

You know that old Timex Social Club song Rumours? The one about hating rumours. Well I'm starting to get sick of stadium site rumours. Now some land near the McMaster Innovation Park, right by the 403 is the newest subject of rumours. Personally I like it better than the East Mountain site and less than the West Harbour. The Ticats get their beloved highway access, plus a crapload of parking one would assume and as a feature, not a bug, not many places to grab a beer or food before or after the game.

For the city, well it is still somewhat near downtown. If the West Harbour still gets fixed up then maybe that's OK in the end. I still prefer the West Harbour for the city and the Cats. I am a bit curious about the big boxes the Cats wanted to develop at the EM site. Seems less likely there, so is it financially worth it for the Cats there? Who knows at this point.

CFL Previews, Week 8

Winnipeg at Montreal,
So Montreal is 11.5 point favourites at home, one of the bigger spreads this year in the CFL. Can't really say much in favour of the Bombers in this one, especially after they got their asses handed to them at home last week by the Ticats. I'm even doubtful if they will cover. Montreal is missing running back Avon Cobourne which should help Winnipeg a bit, but Pierce seems to be out with knee injuries. Montreal isn't the team that went 15 and 3 last year, but they are still pretty good. No need to overanalyze this one.
Alouettes 45, Winnipeg 28

Hamilton at Toronto,
Finally a meaningful midseason game between these two teams. Both teams looked good last week although one would have to give the edge to the Argos for having the better opponent. Toronto has a great defence, an awesome running game and a quarterback who does just enough to allow the Argonauts to win in Cleo "the Party" Lemon. Questions are can the Cats stop Boyd enough to force Lemon to pass? Glenn has been pretty good of late, can the Argos slow him down? This one could come down to special teams. The Argos are favoured by 2.5 at home, which isn't much considering their respective records. Not making a homer pick, I'll take the Argos by two points.
Argos 25, Ticats 23

CFL Power Rankings Week 7

Sorry, I've been on vacation for a bit, which involved being out of radio contact for a while. Anyways, here's this week's power rankings.

1. Calgary
Granted totally bitchslapping an Edmonton Eskimo team in absolute turmoil isn't hard, a 6 and 1 record and winning 4 straight is impressive. No doubt Terry and Dean are enjoying this.
2. Montreal
Yeah so they ended up losing rather convincingly to the Argos away. It will take another loss to see them tumble down.
3. Saskatchewan
A real tossup between them and the Argos. I'll say something pithy like the Riders have better Canadian talent to justify it.
4. Toronto
Could be as high as two, but I'm not quite convinced they are the second best team in CFL right now. We'll see how they do against Hamilton.
5. Hamilton
Three and four! That's almost 500. Or total mastery of Winnipeg. That will get you the five ranking.
6. Winnipeg
Two wins! Two wins! Western crossover possibility.
7. BC
Seems hard to have a team that is 1 and 6 and has lost 6 straight not be the last team in the league, but anything's possible. When does it become acceptable to say fire Wally Buono?
8. Edmonton
After last week's beating, this is a bad football team. Almost Hamilton from a couple of years ago bad. And that's bad.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

CFL Previews Week 7, Part B

Montreal at Toronto
Toronto has a chance to show that they are the real deal with a victory over Montreal. They're at home which should help. Can Montreal stop running back Cory Boyd? I'll say probably. The Argos are still a one dimensional team. Their defence is good, but won't be good enough to stop Calvillo from scoring some points. Tight game in any case.
Montreal 26, Toronto 21

Edmonton at Calgary
A 5 and 1 team at home versus a 1 and 5 team. Pretty easy. One wonders when the Eskimos start looking at another quarterback. Ricky Ray is the master at putting up good stats with mediocre win results. Stamps easy.
Calgary 39, Edmonton 23

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

CFL Previews, Week 7, Part A

BC at Saskatchewan,
The start of the second third of the season. Over the first third BC has proven they suck. Now they're going with Jarious Jackson as the starter, who historically has been better coming off the bench. Riders, easy. They aren't favoured by 8.5 points for nothing.
Sasky 41, BC 29
Hamilton at Winnipeg
A tougher one. Winnipeg is favoured by 4.5 currently, which strikes me as a tad high by a point or two. Admittedly the Peg kept it close last week against Hamilton in Hamilton so who knows what they could do at home. The Bombers have gotten rid of kicker Serna, which should help in the intermediate term, but I'm not so sure what happens for the next game. Bruce'a health seems a bit questionable, although I'm sure he'll play. I'll go against the grain and pick the Ticats by one. A bit of a homer pick, but Winnipeg fundamentally is just not a good team.
Hamilton 28, Winnipeg 26

CFL Power Rankings Week 6

1. Montreal
Shocking, the Alouettes on top. Can't give it to Calgary yet.
2. Calgary
The other 5 and 1 team. Not much to say.
3. Saskatchewan
Not quite Calgary.
4. Toronto
You can't argue with 4 and 2. If they can beat the Alouettes at home this week, that would be something.
5. Hamilton
Yeah! The best of the 2 and 4 teams. Wasn't expecting that of the Cats going into the season, but I wasn't expecting them to be leaving Hamilton either. Thanks Scott Mitchell. Your business acumen and football smarts are second to none.
6. Winnipeg
Lost two straight, although they were close last week on the road. Frankly having a worse record than with Mike Kelly last year should motivate these people.
7. Edmonton
Battle of the 1 and 5 teams! I'll take the one that hasn't lost five games in a row. Although they're in Calgary this week. Smelly.
8. BC
Casey Printers, bad mojo. Has Wally Buono lost it? Away against the Riders this week, I'm thinking there might be two 1 and 6 teams this week. Good for the possibility of an East crossover, but not so hot for the CFL.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Last Game

I haven't commented on last game yet, although I have been meaning too. A good result and for once the Cats were able to stop a team driving at the end, albeit that did allow them to get to the three yard line. Kudos to McIntyre for the stop at the end.

Kudos also to Bruce for almost getting 200 yards receiving in back to back games. I wonder if anyone has ever done that? Maybe Stegall or Simon or some long forgotten hero. Bruce now leads the league in receiving yards and receptions. Some nice play by Stala, picking up 59 yards and a TD. Although him getting the top Canadian award must have meant Canadians had a weak week this week.

Jyles did a decent job, going 24 for 35 for 349 yards and two TDs. Glenn was not quite as good going 24 for 41 for 371 yards with 3 TDs and a pick.

DeAngelis did excellently, whereas Serna sucked and apparently has been booted from the Bombers. The swirling winds of Ivor Wynne claim another victim.

Cobb had kind of a meh game with only 47 yards on 11 attempts. The Cats are basically a pass first team now so that's probably to be expected from now on.

If the Cats can win in Winnipeg this week, that sets up a potential match to get to 500 against the Argos. I'm not sure if the Cats can pull off two wins in a row against the Bombers, but Winnipeg is pretty mediocre this year. They could end up with fewer wins than last year with Mike Kelly, which is perverse.

Nice to see the 1972 Grey Cup team being honoured. I now know what Tommy Joe Coffey looks like. Good to see all the old players. One interesting fact about Coffey is that he is a winner of the Dave Dryburgh Memorial Trophy, for the top scorer in the Western division. According to the wikipedia entry, there is no Eastern equivalent. More CFL weirdness for you.

Sad Days

I suppose I should say something about what is going on. I'm more sad than anything. Going into the season, things were positive, with great expectations of how the team would do. I thought the West Harbour stadium would be built and everything would be great.

Anyways, things changed and now there's a possibility of no more CFL team in Hamilton. Pretty depressing. Am I one of the die hard Ticat fans who spouts whatever Scott Mitchell spews out? No. I care about Hamilton in general. I don't think the East Mountain is good for the city and I don't think it is particularly good for the Ticats either. Now apparently that's done anyways.

Sad days.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Ticat Game Day, Winnipeg Edition and West Harbour Rally

Just back from the West Harbour rally. Good speeches and a decent turnout including a few Box J Boys, maybe 400 in my estimation, but I have no experience at all with estimating these things. Of note, Bob Bratina revealed a West Harbour jersey (so I guess I can now vote for Bratina again) and Fred Eisenberger said the feds may now be disavowing their decision against the West Harbour. Hard to keep track of these things, although the Mayor wisely said he wanted to see it in writing.

On to the lineup. Offensive line the same as last week, Gauthier and import Belton at the tackles, Dyakowski and Rottier at guard and Hage at centre.

Mann and Bruce are the wideouts, with McDaniel and non-import Stala as the slots. Bauman is now listed below Matt Carter as a backup receiver. Ouch.

Glenn is the quarterback, with Cobb as the running back and non-import Brown as the fullback.

For the defensive line, things stay the same, Hickman and Long as the ends and Bolden and McIntyre as the defensive tackles.

Linebackers are the same, Knowlton, Floyd and Johnson.

Bradley is back at corner, with Tisdale. Dennis and Shivers are the defensive backs. Non-import Barker is the safety.

Import Wilbur is the new punter.

For Winnipeg I had to use their PDF and it loaded in kinda screwy so I might get the names a bit off.

Winnipeg goes with two import offensive tackles, Douglas and Butler. The guards are LaBatte and Morley with Khan as the centre.

Bowman and non-import Hargreaves are the wide receivers. Edwards and Davis are the slots. Pierce is listing as starting, but I don't know what's up with that. Reid is the running back and non-import Oosterhus is the fullback.

Hunt and Willis are the starting defensive ends, with non-import Brown and Smith inside.

Smith, Lobendahn and Hicks are the linebackers.

Johnson and Glover are the corners. Stewart and Suber? are the halfbacks. Brown is the non-import safety.

Serna kicks and Renaud is the punter, I think.

CFL Predictions: Week 6, Part B

Winnipeg at Hamilton,
Hamilton is favoured by only three at home, which is kind of sad, but hey, when you're one and four you don't get a lot of respect. It's not like the Cats have a 4 and 2 record with league's leading rusher. No sir the 2010 Ticats are no Argonauts. That said, they are playing the Bombers who are without Buck "the Glassman" Pierce at home. Crap versus crap. Cats hammer Winnipeg again at home.
Ticats 35, Bombers 19

Calgary at BC,
Calgary is favoured by a measly 2.5 points away. Why? One team is 4 and 1 and the other is 1 and 4. One team has Casey Printers on the roster and one doesn't. One team has lost four straight. Seems like a pretty easy choice, but strange things have happened in the CFL before. Like Horn Chen.
Calgary 41, BC 16

Friday, August 6, 2010

Half-time: Toronto at Edmonton

So Toronto is sort of for real, ahead at the half 19-7. Edmonton is suckatronic. Cory Boyd is running wild, which isn't much of a surprise, with 12 carries and 113 yards. Obviously the best running back in the league right now.

Question, at what point to you not start Ricky Ray anymore?

Question, which is funnier Cleo "the Party" Lemon's first name or last name?

Feds and Province Say Nyet to West Harbour

Whoa, talk about lack of local democracy. The news that the feds and province won't fund West Harbour is pretty depressing. The question now is whether East Mountain has enough votes on council. With the fact the city will have to pony up a bunch of future fund cash, plus what looks like considerable expenses for the East Mountain, especially forgone tax revenue from what will end up as a rarely used parking lot makes it less likely. McCarthy, Merulla and McHattie are probably definite nos. Bratina could be a no, considering that he is appearing at the rally for the West Harbour tomorrow, although I'm not sure. Brad Clark is a definite yes for the East Mountain. Others I'm not sure about.

The only positive is that the Cats could end up staying at Ivor Wynne if the city has the balls to tell the feds and the province to go fuck themselves. Which is what I'm really hoping will happen.

CFL Predictions: Week 6, Part A

Saskatchewan at Montreal,
Montreal is favoured by a healthy six points at home. Can't say that I really disagree with that assessment. The Riders are a decent team, but Montreal has a pretty ridiculous home winning streak going. Barring an injury to Calvillo early in the game, I'm going with Montreal to win and cover.
Montreal 39, Sasky 31

Toronto at Edmonton
Edmonton is still a mediocre team, last week not withstanding. Favoured by five at home, I think may be a bit much. The Argos win with defence, special teams and running the ball. Perhaps a bit delusional, but I'm picking the double blue to eek out yet another victory.
Toronto 21, Deadmonton 19

CFL Power Rankings Week 5

1. Montreal
I've been saying for years that Calvillo will eventually get injured and then there go the Alouettes. Yeah, well it hasn't happened yet.
2. Saskatchewan
I still like the Riders better than the Stamps. No particular reason.
3. Calgary
See above
4. Toronto
Well they have the best record of the remaining teams. Things may change against Edmonton this week, but until the then the Lemon Party continues. Shudder.
5. Winnipeg
Two wins bitches! Those 1 and 4 teams can suck it.
6. Edmonton
For the three 1 and 4 teams, I'll go with the hot hand. Getting rid of Maccocia doesn't hurt either.
7. BC
BC quarterback Travis Lulay turns out to be not good, to be charitable. The Lions don't really have what it takes anymore, regardless of a small intimate outdoor stadium.
8. Hamilton
Probably the best team that has occupied the last spot on the rankings for a while, but wins don't lie. Or maybe losses tell the truth. Anyways, punter Palardy has been punted, which should help. Maybe.

Sunday, August 1, 2010


Disappointing. This team seems cursed somehow. The Cats managed to get ahead in the first half, lost the lead, then had it slowly slip away from them. Good teams when they get ahead go for the jugular and pull further away. Obviously easier said than done, but it is how to consistently win games.

Congratulations to Bruce on his 272 receiving and 16 catches. Amazing. I guess he's back in the hunt for an 1000 yard season. Sad we still lost with such a ridiculous performance.

I'm wondering if part of the Cats struggles boil down to punting. The Cats always seem to start from a worse initial yardage position than their opponents. Rather than get nothing, even with tough defence, the opposition ends up with field goals. The Cats move the ball and end up punting. Would the team be better this year if the only thing changed was that Setta was kept? Possibly.

Can the Cats reel off four straight versus the Argos and Bombers? I think 3 and 1 is more likely.