Thursday, July 29, 2010

Your CFL Week 5 preview, jokes, odds, and stuff

So far, every team has a loss. But not every team has a win! The last time that the Edmonton Eskimos went 0-4, the Rolling Stones were at the top of the world with their fresh hit (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction. The last time the Argonauts started 3-1, Men In Black was tops at the box office.

The last time that the Vancouver media obsessed over a non-story? The radio waves were being dominated by pop-stars such as Eminem and Katy Perry, while Christopher Nolan's classic film 'Inception' was the talk at water coolers.

Montreal Alouettes vs. Toronto Argonauts - Today at 7:35

So it's come down to this: the Toronto Argonauts are tied for first place and are part of the marquee matchup of the week. As great as the Argos have been, they really have yet to face serious competition. Cory Boyd leads the league in rushing yards, and Cleo Lemon is somewhere in the top ten in completion percentage.

Toronto won 3 games all of last year and find themselves at 3-1 right now. There really is no reason to believe yet that they won't finish at 3-15, given how close their last couple of games have been against bad teams who were playing worse than they were.

Montreal, on the other hand, have been pretty clinical since that Week 1 defeat, even though they have yet to put together a full 60 minutes (-1 for unbearable cliché) in any game except the ones they play against Hamilton.

Also, let's get through the game without anti-French sentiment, shall we?

The over/under is 52.5. Go with the under. Montreal has played in a couple of low-scoring games this year and the Argos offense is still totally alright to joke about. Alouettes are favoured by 10.5 points. Spot them the points--they're 3-1 against the spread this year as well.

Edmonton Eskimos vs. BC Lions - Friday at 9:05

Friday Night Football, TSN's heavily-promoted matchup of each week, did not work out in Week 5, but luckily, both sides of combined 1-7 teams have given us no shortage of storylines to whet our thirsts for blood, personnel firings, and dropped passes.

Eskies president Rick LeLacheur makes it seem like a whole pile of people are going to lose their jobs. "Let me put it this way, there's nobody in this organization that's untouchable." LeLacheur said. Linebacker Maurice Lloyd said it best: "A lot of guys in this room need to go visit the Wizard of Oz and ask for either a brain or a heart."

Unfortunately for BC and us Lions fans everywhere, that overpaid has-been of a quarterback we have seems to be untouchable, even though a knee injury has relegated him to third-string status. That news was partly the reason I don't listen to sports talk radio anymore.

A lack of star power and the promise for blood should the Eskies lose make this game a cynic's dream. Did you know that these two teams are also the only ones who have punted over 1000 yards this year? I bet you don't think it's because both teams have extraordinarily capable punters.

The over/under is 55.5. Take the under, since the defenses for both teams have actually been quite good despite their records. It's a "pick 'em" sort of game, so I'm going to go with Edmonton with the hope that Lions president Dennis Skulsky can make the same threats to Wally Buono.

Saskatchewan Roughriders vs. Hamilton Tiger-Cats Saturday at 6:30

Quick! What has three kickers and can't count? Aside from a Texas Hold 'Em player betting on an outside straight after the river, it is also the Saskatchewan Roughriders. Luca Congi, Eddie Johnson and Louie Sakoda are all kickers listed on the Riders roster. The latter two are imports.

The Riders probably won't need the extra roster spots this week, but Peter James made the obvious point that just one, and not both, will be back with the team this time in Week 6.

As for useful statistics, CFL Daily did the research and found that the Riders have been improving in every quarter, while the Tabbies haven't. This means that if Saskatchewan are down by 49 after the first quarter, they're still completely in the game. (I think)

Let it also be known that 'Fantuz Flakes' debut today. Somewhere right now in Regina is Arland Bruce buying up shelves, desperately looking for a production boost.

Riders are favoured by 7.5 at home and the over/under is 53.5. Take the over and the Riders to cover. The teams have averaged 60 points between them and their opponents this year. Hamilton has been blown out in both road games. Do the math.

Winnipeg Blue Bombers vs. Calgary Stampeders Saturday at 9:30

The Stampeders dominance at home multiplied by Stephen Jyles going against the top defense in the league, divided by Calgary's remarkable inconsistency and Henry Burris interceptions means that this game is a coin flip.

The Stampeders are favoured by 7 points. The smart money says to take Calgary, but a big part of me think that the Bombers can come close to an upset. At 57.5, the over/under is the highest this week, but I doubt this will be the most high scoring game, so the odds are to take the under. (Hint: don't gamble on anything I say)

I get the PVR setup by Saturday at the latest, meaning all four games will be watched in their entirety, as well as the season premiere of Jersey Shore, several back-to-back episodes of Two and a Half Men, and a full season of Little Mosque.

And imagine, all this PVR space with a bowl of Fantuz Flakes. Now if only we can get a brand of toast named after Dominique Dorsey.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Here's a video of Sidney Crosby attempting a field goal at Heinz Field

...with a hockey puck at today's Winter Classic press conference:

*Thanks to Mike Colligan from TheHockeyWriters for tipping us off.

Turns out, Ice Edge still can't buy Coyotes

For the third time since last summer, it seems inevitable that the Phoenix Coyotes will return to Winnipeg after Ice Edge Holdings "failed to submit the proper paperwork" to the city of Glendale.

Five weeks after the company was supposed to have filed documents to the city, assumingly with financial details. Everybody and their grandmother think that the company doesn't have enough money to buy the team, otherwise it would have been done by now.

The news has been confirmed by James Mirtle and by several good sources, but among the list of people who are sticking their heads in the sand are NHL deputy commish Bill Daly and Ice Edge spokesman Robert Johnson.

May as well just end this thing now and bring the team back to Winnipeg.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Time for your CFL Excitement Rankings through Week 4

Websites and other news organizations often compile statistics to determine how good a team is and call them 'Power Rankings'. These rankings are completely meaningless since the only true indicator of how good a team is is by its win-loss record, which is the same way that the league determines it.

These rankings are not totally useless, however, since they've given the 'Eh' Factor an idea into compiling statistics to determine how exciting the team is in played games. While close defensive battles may be a signature of the game of football, we all know that long bombs and high scores put butts in the seats and close games keep you tuned in on the couch.

Call these what you will. 'Excitement Rankings' suffice for us.

Youtube highlights this week were shockingly slim. Despite several highlight-reel plays, we've been reduced to a bleacher video of Stephen Jyles doing what he's done in the CFL for the past three years, only this time he's the starting quarterback.

The shocking thing about this video is that all the Edmonton Eskimo players on the field actually arrived at the right stadium, on time, and all of their shoes appear to be done up. Once the weather gets cold, it'll be interesting to see whether coach Richie Hall sews their mittens to their sleeve cuffs.

1: Montreal Alouettes

For the first time, the Als played in a game that was decided before the fourth quarter, but they still retained the top spot in the excitement rankings because they score a lot of points and throw for over 300 yards a game, and in 75 per cent of their games the kicker hasn't come in to kick 7 FGs. They've scored 8 passing touchdowns to just one rushing touchdown.

2: Toronto Argonauts

Somehow 3-1, and somehow in second place in the Excitement Rankings after a comeback win over the Lions, based on *sigh* running and defense, running and defense. Cleo Lemon, despite a 3:4 TD:Interception ratio, is looking like the best quarterback in double blue since Damon Allen. That includes Buffalo Bills quarterbacks who have played at Rogers Centre.

3: Saskatchewan Roughriders

Letting Calgary run them up is embarassing enough, but losing their spot in the Excitement Rankings to Toronto is cause enough to fire the front office. The media's honeymoon with Darian Durant seems to be over. Even the level-headed Peter James is getting in on the feeding frenzy, mentioning Durant's "invincibility" as a loser in Week 4.

Don't fret, Rider fans, you get Hamilton in Week 5 at home.

4: Calgary Stampeders

Next year I may include turnovers in my formula to determine the most exciting teams, because Henry Burris has been throwing picks in such a comical manner I keep expecting Moe to burst out of the tunnel at McMahon and slap him. Nine touchdowns is tops in the CFL, but as is eight interceptions.

5: Hamilton Tiger-Cats

It's only Week 4, but the playoff picture seems obvious at this point. Hamilton, Winnipeg and BC are going to be fighting for five wins and the final Western Division-slash-crossover berth.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Truth seems to be who are looking at game film in Hamilton.

6: Winnipeg Blue Bombers

Back into 6th place in the Excitement Rankings thanks to a strategically-scheduled game against Edmonton. An obscene amount of points? Check. Close until the finish? NOPE! The Bombers have only seen one lead change hands in the fourth quarter, giving one up to the Argonauts in Week 2. Other than that, they've played in blowout games, which does not bode well for a team going into Calgary.

7: Edmonton Eskimos

The difference between the Eskimos and the Lions in these rankings is 3 passing yards, about six possessions worth of productivity from these two miserable football teams.

8: BC Lions

Emmanuel Arcenaux, a receiver for the Lions, dropped several passes and failed to make a key cut on an interception returned by Byron Parker which gave Toronto the late lead, took to Twitter after the game:


This week is interesting. The Thursday game has teams #1 and #2 going head-to-head, as well as teams #7 and #8. Unfortunately for TSN, the latter game is the Friday Night game, and a late start.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Saturday morning hoser update

I'm going to start running this feature on Saturday mornings. It will grow to include things to watch in the upcoming week in Canadian sports.

-First off, Mike Weir finished tied for 146th at the Canadian Open, in a 156 player field. If only the 'mendoza line' could be applied to golf. We're blaming tendonitis this time.

But St. George's Club in Hamilton isn't all that bad for Canucks. Abbotsford's Adam Hadwin is 4 off the pace after shooting 68-66. This is the first PGA Tour event for the 22-year old golfer who has made $5,387 in his life as a pro, which is even less when you consider all those earnings were frontloaded to reduce the Canadian Tour's cap hit.

-When he's not crashing into fences or tripping over bases, Jason Bay is putting up spectacularly mediocre numbers this season, with a D-grade OPS, just six home runs and slugging numbers off the first page of the National League leaderboard.

-Joey Votto, though, is a ballplayer. He is still putting up better numbers than Albert Pujols but the Cardinals are a half-game up on the Reds.

-The Cardinals wouldn't be up a half on the Reds if North Vancouver's Blake Hawksworth didn't have a 2-game win streak going. He's 4-5 and has a respectable 4.85 ERA.

-As far as the Blue Jays are concerned, Jose Bautista is still impregnating women across America. He still leads the major leagues in the home runs. Not since Jesse Barfield hit 40 in 1986 has a Blue Jay led both leagues.

-At the Tour de France, Ryder Hesjedal is closing in on the first top 10 spot by a Canadian since Steve Bauer in 1988. You just know that Hesjedal would be doing better on home soil. When does this race come to Canada, anyway?

Tour de New France. Escape Eastern Canadian rioters.

-This week in the CFL, the Lions choked against the Argos and fell 24-20, giving me ample opportunity to recycle a clutch 'when life gives you lemons' joke for later in the year. You know what isn't clutch? Just about everything associated with the Lions.

Also, the Tiger-Cats got rung up by the Alouettes in their home opener. Montreal was up by 19 in the fourth quarter and went for two after a Kerry Watkins touchdown.

TSN seemed surprised when discussing Jeremaine Copeland's lack of production this year for the Argonauts, funny considering his receiving numbers were at their highest when he was thrown to by Anthony Calvillo and Henry Burris in their primes.

And just a heads-up, the Sunday night baseball game on TSN2 has Chris Carpenter starting against Gibson's Ryan Dempster. Toronto FC play today against Dallas. There is also a chance that a Canadian will break 80 at the Canadian Open. It's a good week ahead.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Drunk Jets fan calls 911, demanding team's return

This is one of the strangest stories you'll read on the net today. A Lundar, Manitoba hockey fan dialed 911 multiple times in an effort to convince the RCMP to bring the Jets back to Winnipeg.

From the Winnipeg Free Press:

The emergency dispatcher politely told the angry caller there was nothing she could do to help him and reminded him that he was tying up a valuable resource before hanging up. But the man continued to phone back, claiming he had a lot on his mind.

How did this end?

The final straw came when the man began insulting the 911 operator, eventually calling her a crude name. She warned him that his number had been traced and police were being sent out to arrest him.

"If you’re coming to get me, can you bring me some smokes," was his reply.

A related story has a Toronto fan calling emergency dispatch demanding Brian Burke trade for a top-line centreman. Winnipeg should really count their blessings, knowing their shot at a Stanley Cup is just as good as Toronto's this year.

Week 4 CFL Preview - Senator vs. Senator

We have four CFL games in the next three days, giving us plenty of time to drink beer and ask ourselves whether Chris Cuthbert's suits are getting smaller, or if he is growing a little bit around the waist.

Montreal Alouettes vs. Hamilton Tiger Cats - Today at 7:30

So it's come to this: the defending Grey Cup champions finally, finally get their home opener. They've compiled a 2-1 record (with the one loss not really counting as a loss if this is hockey) and Anthony Calvillo is at the top of his game.

It doesn't seem much can go against Montreal's favour right now. Except for my picking them to win this game. They're screwed.

Pick Montreal by 8.5. The Ti-Cats got rung up at Winnipeg's home opener for 49 points.

Toronto Argonauts vs. BC Lions - Friday at 7:30

The Braley Bowl! No matter what, Lions and Argonauts owner David Braley is guaranteed a loss. Casey Printers will carry the clipboard with Travis Lulay getting the start for BC. I'm not the biggest Printers fan around, but doing this after three games seems like a ridiculous knee-jerk reaction by Wally Buono and his cast of evangelicals. At least this will solve the mystery if the Lions' offense is built around throwing footballs into the groud in front of check receivers.

At least Senator (!) Braley has one good coach in this game. Jim Barker appears to have turned the Argonauts around (for now). This is a good matchup for the Lions right now, since all they can do is get it done on defense.

Give the points and take Toronto plus three at home, by virtue of the fact that no team should be able to score three points in this game. And watch out for leftover cougars from the Bon Jovi concert.

Winnipeg Blue Bombers vs. Edmonton Eskimos Saturday at 6:30

Without Buck Pierce, this COULD be a matchup of the two worst teams in the league. Steven Jyles, at no point throughout his career, has shown any ability to control an offense or do anything but take a knee at the end of quarters. Don't trust Winnipeg's defense. 10-38-29-36-28 are the point totals they've given up so far (including pre-season).

Edmonton are a team that can get dominated on the ground (been hit twice for 190 yards already in just three games) which opens up room for Fred Reid, who's surely the number one offensive weapon for Winnipeg.

Take Winnipeg and the three points, but bet the under on number of beer snakes in the crowd at CanadInns.

Calgary Stampeders vs. Saskatchewan Roughriders Saturday at 9:30

Saskatchewan lead the league in touchdowns divided by field goal attempts, a stat I made up last week to determine a team's offensive ability. The air attack is a big reason for that, but nobody in the league has more TDs on the ground that Wes Cates (at two. The bar is set really, really low for runners in this league)

I think it's because this team is fearless. Running reverses in your own endzone in fourth quarters shows how confident the coaches are in the players, or something. Not something we've seen out of Calgary just yet.

The over/under is 56, and you're out of your mind not to take it. [Monday headline: 'Luca Congi hits field goal to win tight 19-18 game']. The Riders lead the league in offense and have given up the second most points in the CFL. Calgary, are, well, Calgary, and in Week 4 last year they exploded for 48 points. This is definitely the most intriguing matchup on the schedule.

The Stamps are favoured by 2.5 in this game, which is curious since the Riders have looked unbeatable since the third quarter of their Week 1 game against Montreal. This means that Vegas knows something I don't. Take Calgary -2.5.

I'm going to spend this weekend inventing more statistics. Chime in with a comment if you think that there's a number that's worth looking into. I have all kinds of time on my hands.

FC Edmonton come close to beating FA Cup finalist

FC Edmonton, a team made up of almost all Canadians, came close to beating a team that were in the FINALS for English football's biggest trophy, the FA Cup!

They lost on penalties, and, if you've ever watched soccer (unlikely) you'd know that penalties are like a lottery. We came so close to beating the English!

Ah, except...

They were playing Portsmouth, who are on a brutal North American road trip and apparently don't play much on artificial turf like Commonwealth has. They have to explain to readers what artificial turf is.

Also, Portsmouth were recently relegated. While they fluked their way into the FA Cup Final against Chelsea thanks to an easy schedule, they also finished 20th in the Premiership League, meaning that they drop down to the lower division. I don't understand exactly how relegation works, but the Leafs should be very, very afraid. Also, due to injuries and an early red card, "Pompey" were down to nine men.

Here's a game report written in a language we can understand.

Mathematically, a team of fresh Canadian players let a bunch of tired foreigners onto their turf with a surface that foreigners don't understand, they're all hurt, one is sent off and they're down early. Then manage to come back and spit in the face of Canadian soccer.

Until the 24th Minute chimes in on the importance of this game, I think it's fair to sweep it under the rug for now.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Bob McKenzie is hi-lar-ious when (drunk?) on vacation.

It's hard to criticize Bob McKenzie. Him and Darren Dreger make the best investigative journalism team in hockey. McKenzie, sometimes to his credit, sometimes not, is a more active user of the Internet. This is not one of those times.

McKenzie left the Rogers Centre for a Bon Jovi/Kid Rock double bill with some thoughts about the Ilya Kovalchuk saga, and a belly (we can only assume) full of beer:


Actually, this doesn't really fall under 'criticism' so much as it does under 'awesome'. McKenzie is more of a reporter and a story-breaker than a writer, making it even more upsetting when he comes up with better lines than I do.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Lou Lamoriello criticizes the contract he signed Kovalchuk to

The long, arduous, Ilya Kovalchuk saga is over, thus launching the North American media into a feeding frenzy and is sure to become a long, arduous, Collective Bargaining Agreement saga.

Today it became official: An American General Manager signed a Russian player to an American team, but the consequences will be felt all across Canada, starting with the next work stoppage.

Barry Patchesky of Deadspin had a great post on the matter yesterday, noting that:

It's technically illegal to agree to deals that neither side has any intention of honoring to completion, but nothing came of those investigations because it's near impossible to prove intent in cases like these.

This is the longest contract in NHL history and makes Rick Dipietro look like a travelling nomad.

Of course, the NHL can't do anything about it because the NHL is scared of Lamoriello, and because they allowed ridiculously long-term contracts for every star player in the league.

So what's Lamoriello's response? Cue Tom Gulitti of the Devils' Fire & Ice blog:

I asked Lamoriello what he would think if someone brought up Kovalchuk’s contract in the next round of CBA negotiations (in two years) and pointed to it as a flaw.

“I might agree,” he said. “But there is nothing that we have done wrong. This is within the rules. This is in the CBA. There are precedents that have been set. But I would agree we shouldn’t have these. But I’m also saying that because it’s legal and this is something that ownership felt comfortable doing for the right reasons.”

The issue is not that the Devils are cheating, but that front-loaded contracts do nothing for 'cost-certainty' or all the other things that the salary cap was supposed to do. Thus, we're probably headed for another work stoppage in a couple of years to rectify this whole situation.

The Devils, by paying Kovalchuk an extra six years after 2021 (when he's 38 and would probably retire) save just $3.5 million (or one Jeff Finger), but a total of $32.5 million in cap space over the 11 years that he's playing.

Normally I don't really care about contracts, I just like watching the games, but the more bloated, front-loaded contracts we see, the more likely we are to Gary Bettman's third work stoppage in his tenure as NHL commissioner. Hopefully, it will also be his last.


Contract rejected by NHL. The question is not 'why' but 'why now'?

Monday, July 19, 2010

Simon Gagne, expensive hypochondriac, traded for two problem contracts

As per TSN, Simon Gagne has waived his no-trade clause to play for Steve Yzerman and Tampa Bay. Him and his $5.250 million deal with one year left on it has been traded for a fourth round pick, Andrej Meszaros and Matt Walker.

It's also popping up that Tampa Bay also gets a second round pick out of this deal.

The oft-injured Gagne is still a legitimate scoring threat, completely turning around that series against the Bruins, with four goals after returning in Game 4, with the winner late in Game 7. If he gets hurt, well, you only have him for one more year before you can re-sign him to a much more appropriate dollar-figure.

Andrez Meszaros and Matt Walker, on the other hand, have a combined cap hit of $5.7 million with deals that don't expire until 2013 (Meszaros in 2014).


So a rookie, rebuilding General Manager saves his team money and gets the best player in the deal? Nobody told Darryl Sutter it could be that easy.


Unfortunately, it does not seem that Andrej Meszaros is part of this deal, meaning that the Flyers don't get a good return defenseman and save $1 million in cap space to fix their goaltending tinker around with their blueline.


Nope, I had it right the first time. Meszaros is a Flyer. Philly takes on more salary and downgrades.

Week 3 Excitement rankings (Pierce injured? Oh no!)

Websites and other news organizations often compile statistics to determine how good a team is and call them 'Power Rankings'. These rankings are completely meaningless since the only true indicator of how good a team is is by its win-loss record, which is the same way that the league determines it.

These rankings are not totally useless, however, since they've given the 'Eh' Factor an idea into compiling statistics to determine how exciting the team is in played games. While close defensive battles may be a signature of the game of football, we all know that long bombs and high scores put butts in the seats and close games keep you tuned in on the couch.

Call these what you will. 'Excitement Rankings' suffice for us.

Even the grotesque and unfamiliar red jerseys of the green Riders couldn't shake a pretty decent slate of games this week. Though touchdowns were hard to come by, all but one game came down to the last possession. The Argos, a surprising 2-1, shot up in the rankings this week, while the Blue Bombers, fresh off a blowout loss to the Tiger-Cats and losing their starting quarterback dropped like a ball off the hands of Kamau Petersen.

1: Montreal Alouettes

The Als managed to hold the top spot despite not scoring a single touchdown in their rare road win over BC. They also hold the top spot despite not having played a single game at Percival Stadium yet. Anthony Calvillo is throwing over 300 yards a game, and spreading the ball around really well too. Six Alouette receivers have caught for at least 100 yards so far, more than on any other team, even though Kerry Watkins, their top receiver in yardage, is 11th in the CFL.

2: Saskatchewan Roughriders

The Riders managed a comeback win to climb to 3-0 and back into second spot in the rankings, with a comeback win against the Eskimos. It took a couple of dropped passes and baffling play call moves from former coach Richie Hall on the Eskimo sideline, but a win is a win, even if it's while wearing Rough Rider colours.

By the way, Saskatchewan are the only team to score more touchdowns than drive-stalling, channel-changing field goal attempts.

3: Toronto Argonauts

The Argos are getting it done with timely defense, a strong ground attack and a very balanced, though terrible, passing game. A lot of bad teams (hint: British Columbia) simply target one receiver and make themselves easy to beat. [statgeek alert] The standard deviation for Argonaut receivers in yards is the lowest in the league by a good margin, telling us that while Cleo Lemon isn't necessarily putting up great numbers, he's distributing effectively, meaning that the right play call could put the ball in the hands of any number of receivers.

Only Anthony Calvillo has more 70-yard receivers at his disposal than Cleo Lemon.

4: Calgary Stampeders

The Stamps have managed to keep every game close, even though they tend to slog through fourth quarters and are about as urgent as a cop car with a busted siren. The team has yet to play in a game where either side registers over 30 points. Rookie kicker Rob Maver leads the league in field goals.

5: Hamilton Tiger-Cats

Despite an impressive performance from Kevin Glenn against his former team, the Cats drop in the rankings because they were a little too good this week, putting the game out of reach early, giving us reason to catch up on the morning's 'Price is Right' on our PVRs. But I don't have a PVR just yet, so instead I watched Seinfeld reruns.

6: Edmonton Eskimos

They're 0-3, but the calculations I use to determine these rankings must take into account the comical ways that the Eskimos have managed to lose these games. Kevin Strasser [offensive coordinator] has his can't-lose strategy of 'put the ball into the hands of your playmakers and forget about balance'.

It's a shame, because the team has been very good defensively, to see them start 0-3 and seemingly in disrepair. How bad is it? Next week's game against Winnipeg is pretty well a must-win.

7: Winnipeg Blue Bombers

The Bombers, on average, play in games that are decided by more than two scores. Combined with an injured Buck Pierce (miss you!!!! xoxox!!) and the worst defense in the league, it isn't looking better for this team. Check your cheat-sheets for career third-down backs: we may be able to tell how Steven Jyles will do.

8: BC Lions

After an 0-2 start at Empire Fields, I bet being indoors with the artificial, amplified sound is starting to be missed by the Lions and their fans. Apparently Wally Buono has become a bit of a crazy man, signing players who fit the man's deep religious convictions. That's a positive, because only God can help this flimsy excuse for an offense.


Mathematically, the best game this week should be between Saskatchewan/Calgary. The over/under for Henry Burris interceptions is set at two and a half.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Roughriders 3-0, look dumb doing it

The Saskatchewan Roughriders came back at home to beat Edmonton 24-20 and climb to 3-0, while the Eskimos dropped to 0-3, with former Grey Cup MVP Ricky Ray a shadow of his former self. So naturally, the big story here is how silly the Riders looked while doing it.

*Cue Jerry Seinfeld voice* What's the deal with teams celebrating their centennials to overdo it with the retro and wearing outfits that would make Don Cherry blush? */seinfeld*

I can understand retro to an extent. But sometimes colours are phased out for a reason. Today was supposedly a celebration of the Roughriders' 100th year anniversary, and what are the colours that come to your mind when you think of Saskatchewan?

Black and shit-red, apparently.

Thing is, the Riders aren't the only century-old team to celebrate with merchandising opportunities. Who can forget the barber-poles or the pyjamas?

I will say this though: credit to the outfits that coach Ken Miller and his staff wore:

They remind us at the 'Eh' Factor of the second best thing about the Vancouver Olympics.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

CFL Week 3 preview (plus Wednesday Argos recap)

What do you get when you have:

-A quarterback who, even though he has played one extra game than all but one other pivot in the league, is ranked 7th out of 8 in total passing yards?

-A team who was riding an eight-game losing streak coming into the season and was the butt of all jokes, particularly since all of their potential quarterbacks lacked league experience?

-A team that, in their comeback win over the heavily-favoured Calgary Stampeders in their home opener, did not score a touchdown until there was just 1:57 left on the clock?

Your 2-1 Toronto Argonauts. Somehow, that's what you get.

They are on a two-game winning streak, and they are doing in the weirdest of ways.

Wednesday night, 142 yards by Cory Boyd kept Toronto in the game while Grant Shaw kicked field goal after field goal in a close game at Rogers Centre. The defense effectively shut down Henry Burris and the deadly passing attack of the Stamps, intercepting him four times and holding him to 207 yards.

Last week, in a game plagued by raining beer cups, the Argonauts were out-gained 493 to 317, but won thanks to a couple of big returns and a heads-up, savvy-coaching play by coach Jim Barker and linebacker EJ Kuale, who punted a ball with no time on the clock in the first half into the endzone for a single.

They have a victory over one division rival (Winnipeg) and split the season series with the Stamps. We are only 1/6th of the way through, but this is the most interesting team so far to watch. If Cleo Lemon can get it together and give this team a decent passing game, watch out.


All that done and gone, I can ignore the fact that I completely overlooked last night's game when planning this week's CFL preview.Games aren't supposed to be held on Wednesday.

Hamilton Tiger-Cats vs. Winnipeg Blue Bombers

Hamilton against Buck-Pierce's MVP laser rocket arm. The 'Peg go on the road for the first time after scoring an obscene amount of points in their first two games at home (49 and 34). With the afore-mentioned Pierce having more yards on the ground than starting running back Fred Reid, it's fair to assume to who this team belongs to.

But, Winnipeg has lost this season by letting inferior teams in the game. Their defense is questionable, they've allowed at least one return in each of their two games. Is this the game that the Ti-Cats give last year's rusher DeAndra Cobb his touches? Probably not. It's not that Cobb hasn't been effective, it's that Marcel Bellefeuille seems unwilling to get him into the lineup. The dude is a former offensive co-ordinator and is sitting on one of the most balanced offenses in the league. Oh well.

Edge Winnipeg. (And by default should beat the +4 spread)

BC Lions vs. Montreal Alouettes

Montreal doesn't win in BC, but now that the Lions are playing outside, anything can happen. Also, the Lions have an offensive line that has been easier to penetrate than your average Roxy girl (not that we'd know).

Now that the nostalgia has passed and the Lions are settled into their 'new' 'stadium' how soon until this team starts feeling the heat for its abysmal play this year? Montreal is a defense-first team by default (Everything is in that city, like the politicians and the Habs. But not the women [again, not that we'd know]) and the lone bright spot for the Lions on offense is that time where a whole bunch of Eskimos forgot how to tackle.

Edge Montreal. (And will cover the six. If this is a close game, Montreal will probably find a way to lose, and their shittiness on the West Coast isn't just a BC Place curse)

Saskatchewan Roughriders vs. Edmonton Eskimos

And that leaves the 2-0 Riders. Who let this happen? Who let this team win two games? Who let this running team develop a dangerous passing attack? How long until TSN stops calling Darian Durant a 'breakout star' or pretending that he isn't already as scary as a false positive on a pregnancy test for an opposing defense (again, not like we'd know).

Somebody made the point that the Eskimos haven't been the same since Milt Stegall's last second 100-yard TD return on them a couple of years ago, and I'm willing to believe that. Ricky Ray just isn't that good anymore, and their receivers are no longer big-play threats.

Edge Saskatchewan. (I'll also give them 7 points to cover)

Don't let Wednesday games sneak up on you. All of a sudden you turn into the pre-game show for something you didn't think existed and are left wondering if you've warped space-time.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

TheHockeyWriters post: Don Hay to seek NHL bid?

Occasionally, 'Eh' Factor editor and sole writer Cam Charron will post on and shamelessly repost it here to create useful synergy between the two websites, one which attracts far more readers than the other.

This is one of those times.

This post is about Don Hay. Neate Sager of Buzzing the Net posted this earlier today, and I felt I had to jump on the story. My short post reducing Don Hay's WHL career to a bunch of numbers can be found here. Enjoy.

Blue Bombers ban the beer snake

Well here's a mini-controversy piling up like empty beer cups over rows.

After the first two games of the season (both at home) saw Blue Bomber fans stack their empty watered-down Molson cups up rows and rows of seats, the team had to respond.

Unfortunately, the Winnipeg Football Club continues to face new challenges with respect to unruly and/or disorderly behavior in the stadium facility during the course of game day. Specifically, this behavior relates to the “beer snake” concept. Regretfully, we witnessed the beer cups being thrown at the conclusion of our home game of July 9th which resulted in several minor injuries to our fans as well as many emails and communications to our office voicing concern and displeasure from our fans.


There's probably good reason to ban it. According to the CBC article, the beer snake spanned 30 rows. I'm not a mathemagician, but if we conservatively estimate that a row of seats is a yard long (we're not accounting for incline or the curve of the cups) and it's about five cups to an inch of beer snake, then we're looking at a minimum 5400 cups located in one super-drunk area of the stadium to be used as ammunition when your team loses at home to Toronto.

[Bombers respond to beer snake incident - National Post]

Monday, July 12, 2010

Cue the inevitable Joffrey Lupul dong photos

If you're a reader of Deadspin, you're probably aware of a trend that's affecting male athletes. For some reason, guys like Grady Sizemore, Greg Oden and Santonio Holmes took pictures of themselves naked and sent them to female acquaintances, presumably under the pretense that they'd never leak out.

Well, they did. But it has yet to happen to a Canadian. It has happened in hockey, but to a Czech.

So when two-time Chris Pronger trade-bait Joffrey Lupul tweets something like this:

Ok, just got my iPhone 4.. Anyone wanna video chat? Preferably a female..

we can't help but feel a tinge in national pride when we consider the consequences that could erupt from such a request.

CFL excitement rankings: Week 2

Websites and other news organizations often compile statistics to determine how good a team is and call them 'Power Rankings'. These rankings are completely meaningless since the only true indicator of how good a team is is by its win-loss record, which is the same way that the league determines it.

These rankings are not totally useless, however, since they've given the 'Eh' Factor an idea into compiling statistics to determine how exciting the team is played. While close defensive battles may be a signature of the game of football, we all know that high-octane passing attacks put butts in the seats and close games keep you tuned in on the couch.

Call these what you will. 'Excitement Rankings' suffice for us.

Thanks to Marcus Thigpen, the second week gave commentators and journalists to preemptively declare this season the 'Year of the Return'. We hope that the horrendous specialty teams tackling continues, because, again, we love exciting games over good football.

1: Montreal Alouettes

The Als hold the top spot thanks to Ricky Ray's second-half spastic performance, allowing Montreal to rally and play in their second straight game decided after the third quarter. The terrible performance by the team in the second half against Saskatchewan and in the first half against Edmonton doesn't bode well for the team's future performances.

2: Hamilton Tiger Cats

The Tabbies can take solace in their 0-2 start knowing that they popped up second in these rankings thanks to the play of the afore-mentioned Thigpen and a pretty respectable passing attack.

3: Winnipeg Blue Bombers

Dear sabermetricians (is it sabremetrician in Canada?), figure this one out: Buck Pierce is second in passing touchdowns but first in rushing touchdowns. He leads the league in completion percentage and fifth in overall rushing. Unfortunately, going onto the road will lessen the Bombers' "beer snake sighting" stat, an important factor. A happy fan is a drunk fan, and a drunken fan stacks cups.

4: Calgary Stampeders

Usually unflappable Sandro DeAngelis missed a kick against his old team, then had one blocked late, and then the rookie kicker Rob Maver sealed it with ten seconds to go for the Stamps in Week 2. Henry Burris wasn't as effective as we thought he'd be against the Cats, throwing for "just" 257 yards.

4: Saskatchewan Roughriders

We have a tie for fourth, actually. Darian Durant is leading the league's best offense, who have put up a league-leading 91 points so far. Durant has 6 touchdowns and has yet to throw a pick.

6: Toronto Argonauts

The Argos won their first in nine this week against the Bombers, who really made them work for it. Credit to E.J. Kuale who punted a kickoff return in the dying seconds of the first half for a single, in one of the year's most interesting plays.

7: Edmonton Eskimos

An abysmal 0-2 start at home. The boo-bird is apparently a native of Edmonton, giving the recent performances by the Eskimos and the Oilers. TSN has stopped talking about Ricky Ray.

8: BC Lions

Shame to see the 'first' outdoor game at Empire Fields go so wrong for the Lions. They have a terrible offensive line and a wimpy defense. Playing in two blow-out games is a sure-fire way to end up at the bottom of the list.


What to take from this? Well, in an effort to double the amount of CFL posts I write, I will begin to run a preview for each week every Thursday, but do it in a way to not bore you with knowledge or any tactical insight.

Also, Saskatchewan is 2-0. Can somebody please step in here?

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Spain/Netherlands final sucked

All the momentum gained by soccer in North America following the American's short-lived run in the World Cup quickly dissipated when, during the final between the Netherlands and Spain, we were reminded why we don't watch this stupid sport.

It's a real shame. The game that is played in MLS and the NASL Divisions is entirely different from the type of game that we saw in the Final. Progress was made. The United States loved Landon Donovan for a short while, while Canada, with Toronto FC's representation in MLS, with Vancouver and Montreal (and Ottawa?) set to join, it was good for soccer in Canada too.

The more our American media outlets celebrate the game, which gives us reason to check out our local teams. CBC saw tremendous ratings with their coverage. This was a make-or-break year for soccer in North America, and if the world wanted to win us over, well...

The performances of a few, not all, but a few, of the players at the World Cup shut off our interest. John Heitinga, Arjen Robben, Andreas Iniesta, Carles Puyol and the eight other players who were carded in this game. Howard Webb, the inexplicably inept official who blew his whistle only when a player went down. All of these guys are at fault. The scoreless tie through 116 minutes didn't help, and neither did the Dutch frantically arguing the call on the first goal of the match.

So what to take from this tournament? Canada wasn't in it, so we can't exactly gauge our performance, save from K'Naan's abysmal opening ceremony performance. Having conquered hockey and ice dancing, most Canadians would love to see a team in Brazil in 2014.

We have our obstacles, and the crappy final is one of them. It doesn't leave us with good memories. Soccer left a little sour. Had this ended with the Germany/Uruguay third place game, a 3-2 nailbiter for the Germans, we're good. The hardcore footie fans put aside their hatred for the inferior MLS or NASL and watch a local game. The casual fan keeps the channel on should they find it on TV (and wonder what happened with the buzzing).

All that is good. All that gets our good athletes to play soccer and make a name for themselves here, for them to stay here, and play for Canada internationally. (I'm looking at you, Owen)

Friday, July 9, 2010

Hoser update: The heat is ridiculous.

I miss my igloo. I miss riding my snowmobile to the beer store to pick up a two-four of Molson. I miss moose meat and its stringy goodness. The summer heat is absolutely unbearable, so much so that it would dry the tears off the face of everybody in Ohio this morning.

Today was the big day, when Joey Votto got a chance to stare down dinosaur Charlie Manuel for keeping him off the NL All-Star team. Not only did Votto win the 'Final Vote' to earn him a spot on the team (although his numbers, though better than Pujols' is, apparently aren't enough to give him a starting spot) but on his first at-bat he went yard to deep right. What with Votto leading the NL in home runs, and the Blue Jays' Jose Bautista leading the AL, if chicks dig the long ball, then Toronto would be Kim Kardashian right now.

Ryder Hesjedal is still 4th in the Tour de France. I'm starting to think that nobody really changes places in this. All I know is I was too much of a pussy to bike up a hill to work in the heat yesterday. These riders have more stones than Palestinians.

Finally, Bruce Arthur of the National Post explains how wrong the Lebron special was. I was going to do a post like this and how athletes string along fans and the media, and how Lebron is American, Kovalchuk is Russian and Mats Sundin is Swedish, but then I remembered Scott Niedermayer. I guess we weren't above all this after all.

We have football tomorrow, gang. Sure, it's the Argos, but I'm always looking for an excuse to drink to excess to tune out Glen Suitor.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Your daily hoser update

-Somehow I think that Joey Votto has this 'Final Vote' All-Star thing locked up. Not only does Votto have the endorsement of former MVP Justin Morneau, but I'm pretty sure that Billy Wagner's campaign doesn't have a re-imagining of a Styx song going for it.

Votto went 0-for-2 tonight, but prior to yesterday's games he had the league lead in most important batting categories: Home runs, on-base percentage, slugging, and, by extension, OPS. Not only does this mean that Votto is turning into a player as good as Albert Pujols, but that the 'Eh' Factor now pretty much only recognizes statistics invented by Bill James. (Votto also lead Pujols in runs created. We needed to use our collective fingers and toes to figure that one out)

Then Ryan Zimmerman, also part of the 'Final Vote' decided to be a poor sport and hit a walkoff home run tonight. But, if Votto's 21 home runs didn't matter in determining who made the All-Star team, I doubt that one from Zimmerman will.

-We like some members of the St. Louis Cardinals. Like Blake Hawksworth, who started against Jeff Francis today. T..t..two!!! Two Canucks started on the mound tonight at Coors Field (In Canada, our Coors Field is stronger).

Unfortunately, the two combined for nine innings, 14 hits, seven earned runs and six strikeouts. Damn.

-Currently, Victoria's Ryder Hesjedal is in fourth place in the competition to ride your bike around former Nazi-occupied countries really fast. Fourth is pretty good. It seems like we're doing well without looking too pretentious.

-Why Not Winnipeg? asks Dave Naylor (played by Aaron Eckhart) in a joint effort between TSN and the Globe and Mail. Well, here's why, Jason Brough of the Kurtenblog says. I guess that solves that.

Shameless wireless company understands synergy

How does this work for you?

General Motors' deal for the naming rights of Canada Hockey Place expired yesterday, meaning that some new sponsor would have to step up to the plate.

That would be Rogers Communications.

Enter the world of corporate buzz in press releases. Here are some of my favourites:

Rogers will work with the Canucks to explore new and innovative ways to use wireless technology to engage fans anytime, anyplace.

Ah. New and innovative. I hope that they put together an extensive strategy to implement these ideas.

“This is an important strategic alliance and we’re thrilled to partner with an outstanding organization like the Canucks,” said Nadir Mohamed, President and CEO, Rogers Communications. “B.C. is a critical market for Rogers and this announcement further enhances our investment in the province and builds on our powerful sports legacy."

Not only is this an 'important strategic alliance' but this is coming from a a guy who has no lss than four capital letters in his job title.

I also like the buzzspeak phrase "powerful sports legacy."

The legacy of Rogers in Canadian sports:

-Constantly refer to Nick Kypreos and Doug MacLean as leading experts.
-By keeping Don Taylor around, they have the goofiest late-night highlight programming on the major sports networks. And this is a competition that includes Jay Onrait and Dan O'Toole.
-Made the switch to 'Connected' to reach an edgier segment of the population. Only changes made were that the highlight show somehow got shittier and you don't wear ties anymore.
-Changed the name of Canada's biggest sports landmark.
-Constantly interrupt our otherwise mundane sports programming with commercials featuring attractive young people who are sexually attracted to video phones and unlimited texting plans.

And also...

Rogers has a long history in sports. The company operates the Toronto Blue Jays baseball team as well as the Rogers Centre and Rogers Sportsnet.

Yeah, probably should have left that out of the press release.

Sportsnet News, not surprisingly, had the corporate bosses shell out a 2-minute segment on the "news" with some dumb montage of white-collar guys who have nothing to do with the Canucks put on jerseys.

Memo to Sportsnet: re-named arenas is not news. Fans falling out of the bleachers and parodies of Styx songs. Get it together.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Your daily Joey Votto update

Here's your daily Joey Votto update:

One day after being left off the National League All-Star team and getting tossed against the Cubs, Votto hit two home runs to take the National League lead.


Not surprisingly, Votto is in the lead in the 'Final Vote' campaign. He has received one (1) vote courtesy of the 'Eh' Factor (as has Delmon Young in the American League).

What's great is that in the lead-up to the All-Star game is a four-game series with the Philadelphia Phillies, led by Charlie Manuel, the old coot who left Votto off the team in favour of Omar Infante, who hit a game-winning single against the Phillies on June 2nd. Supposedly Manuel was impressed enough to name him to the team.

That series gets underway Thursday. I predict infinity home runs for Votto, and a foul ball that lands in the Phillies dugout knocking Manuel into the 21st century, where he'll learn that we measure the quality of baseball players by such things as 'home runs' 'total bases' and 'on-base plus slugging' now, and not with whatever quality we used to determine that Omar Infante was a more worthy choice.

'Hustle' or 'character' or whatever bullshit that was.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Bob Probert dead at 45

We caught wind this afternoon that Probert had collapsed on his boat. For a guy who lived the days after his NHL career in a glut of drug, alcohol and legal problems, this is still a shocking, bitter conclusion to the troubled life of a goon.

[CKLW Windsor]

CFL Excitement Rankings, Week 1

Websites and other news organizations often compile statistics to determine how good a team is and call them 'Power Rankings'. These rankings are completely meaningless since the only true indicator of how good a team is is by its win-loss record, which is the same way that the league determines it.

These rankings are not totally useless, however, since they've given the 'Eh' Factor an idea into compiling statistics to determine how exciting the team is played. While close defensive battles may be a signature of the game of football, we all know that high-octane passing attacks put butts in the seats and close games keep you tuned in on the couch.

Call these what you will. 'Excitement Rankings' suffice for us.

The first week provided us with one absolute classic and three blowouts. Since only one game has been played for each team, opponents from the first week are bunched together, and these rankings should even themselves out in a few weeks.

1: Montreal Alouettes

Anthony Calvillo proved he still has it, throwing for 368 yards. Receiver SJ Green gave us our highlight of the year with his overtime catch. While they gave up a 21-point lead, they took part in a game that drew more viewers as it went on and even drew interest down South. The Als end up with the top spot thanks to a missed field goal return by Tim Maypray.

2: Saskatchewan Roughriders

Darian Durant threw for 478 yards in the double overtime win over the Montreal Alouettes. He led his team back from a 21-point deficit in the third quarter and threw two touchdown passes in the extra frame.

3: Calgary Stampeders

The second Canada Day game provided a nice comedown from the excitement of the first one, but wasn't as close and the outcome was never really in doubt. Henry Burris found six receivers more than once and led a clinical passing attack.

4: Hamilton Tiger Cats

Despite the big loss to the Blue Bombers and a brutal passing game (somebody find this team a quarterback, for the love of God) the Tiger Cats are in the top half of the rankings thanks to two returns by Marcus Thigpen, one off of a 119-yard missed field goal that also saw action down South.

(No more ESPN Top Plays in this post. We know our inferiority complex is showing.)

5: Winnipeg Blue Bombers

Buck Pierce may prove to be the best acquisition this year on any team. As a Lions fan, watching him throw for a couple of TDs while Casey Printers keeps under throwing his check down receiver makes me question Wally Buono's sanity.

6: Toronto Argonauts

Cleo Lemon had a disastrous debut, as expected, throwing for under 200 yards and throwing an interception. This is just a bad football team with a bad offense.

7: Edmonton Eskimos

Speaking of bad football teams, I truly hope that none of you were caught watching the Edmonton/BC game yesterday. While the rain on the new field turf at Commonwealth had people falling all over the place, Ricky Ray couldn't establish an offense and they were the lowest scoring team in week number one.

8: BC Lions

And coming in last place is BC. They were the only team to win their first road game and did it in completely disappointing fashion, with Paul McCallum having to kick six field goals. Casey Printers didn't throw a touchdown and his only highlight running was bumping into a table during the second quarter.


Based on this, Saturday afternoon's Calgary/Hamilton game is supposedly our game of the week. That's probably proof our ranking system needs a few more games to become relevant, since this is likely to be a blowout, if Winnipeg lighting up that defense for 49 points is any indication.

Stay away from the Argos/Bombers game, which is the Friday Night affair. Glen Suitor being part of the broadcast team may make that a little easier.

Required reading: Burke Keeps His Promise

This is a piece from Bruce Arthur of the National Post. It's about Brian Burke's promise to his late gay son Brendan to march in the Toronto Pride Parade with him. It's meant to tug at your heartstrings.

[Burke Keeps His Promise - National Post]

This week is going to be pretty good. TSN and the Globe have been pumping up a series that focuses on why there aren't more Canadian NHL teams. And it'll be a good week here on the 'Eh' Factor too. On Monday we're going to debut our 'Excitement' rankings for CFL teams. We'll be following Joey Votto's All-Star Game push. On Thursday we'll rank how the Canadian teams did in the first week of free agency, and a bit of hoserism as we look at the outrageous free-agency demands of a prima donna Russian.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Joey Votto snubbed from all-star game, gets tossed

Only Albert Pujols had hit more home runs than Joey Votto prior to Sunday's games, yet Phillies manager Charlie Manuel felt it necessary to leave the CANADIAN off the National League All-Star roster.

Sure, All-Star games themselves are meaningless, but as a friend pointed out to me earlier, appearances matter so much when it comes time to negotiate salaries or possible Hall of Fame inductions (okay, that's a bit of a stretch for Votto) down the road.

Votto also leads the National League in OPS, is second in on-base percentage. Hell, his numbers are pretty damn comparable to the starter Pujols but nobody is really disputing that Votto should have been the starter. Why Adrian Gonzalez and Ryan Howard were seen as better first basemen than Votto is bad enough, but then Manuel added insult to injury by taking Omar Infante.

Luckily, he can still make the roster via a fan vote. He's up against Heath Bell, Carlos Gonzalez, Billy Wagner and Ryan Zimmerman.

So what did Votto do after hearing the news?

Joey Votto was ejected in the first inning today here at Wrigley, for arguing a called third strike.

Votto protested, slammed his helmet to the ground and was ejected by plate umpire Angel Campos. Manager Dusty Baker rushed out of the dugout and said a few words himself, but Baker was not tossed.

[Reds Win 14-3; Votto ejected]

The strike call itself was iffy, definitely low and probably a bit outside as well, although MLB gameday listed it as a strike.

All in all, Votto has seen better days, although Cincy still managed to beat the Cubs 14-3. Hell, maybe he just wanted to take the day off.

Only one Canadian was sent to Disneyland, that being Justin Morneau (duh). Three Jays are on the roster: John Buck, Jose Bautista and Vernon Wells.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Citizen footage of yesterday's Toronto FC/Houston Dynamo "brawl"

Somehow, the football purists would say that this ruins the game more than disastrous officiating at the World Cup, but we're probably good because none of them watch MLS anyway.

The Full 90 has a brief recap of the implications for Toronto's Julian de Guzman, who was in the middle of all the calamity.

That was in the 60th minute, where Nana Attakora and de Guzman got into it with Joseph Ngwenya of Houston, with the latter two getting instant red cards.

More detailed highlights of the "brawl" can be found at's Matchcenter.

At the end of the game, Amadou Sanyang got into it with a couple of Houston players, earning himself his second yellow. Suspensions are sure to come.

By the way, the game ended in a 1-1 draw, with Brian Ching and Dan Gargan exchanging goals off of headers. Gargan's was FC's first at home since Chad Barrett scored against New England on May 22nd.

So, to recap, a couple of fights and Toronto FC's first goal at home in over a month. I thought the Maple Leafs had the summer off.

Great catch, bad math and worse tans highlight Grey Cup rematch

Montreal and Saskatchewan got the CFL season started last night with a ridiculous Grey Cup rematch. After Montreal took a 24-10 halftime lead, the game looked out of reach, and it seemed like a good time to get drunk with buddies and watch fireworks.

But out of nowhere, Saskatchewan came back, thanks to Saskatchewan's passing attack coming alive. Darian Durant finished 30-for-44 with 478 yards passing and the Riders tied the game, eventually winning 54-51 in overtime.

After the team's exchanged touchdowns at the end of the fourth, the CFL's new overtime rules came into play. Apparently all your post-touchdown conversions have to be from scrimmage for two points, which is a good rule, because it pretty well provided us with our highlight of the year.

TSN highlights

(First.... ahaha, this is hilarious. At 2:44 of that clip, the Roughriders get a stop on third down, effectively winning the game. Except they had 13 guys on the field. You'd think after all offseason they'd have learned to count.)

At 3:26, SJ Green makes what ended up being the #1 highlight of the night on ESPN (albeit in a losing cause). Happy Canada Day.

So we started off the year with a wild shootout and everybody wearing green goes home happy for a change, but isn't this 13th man thing a little crazy? The mistake cost the team a championship last year, so naturally you'd figure that they wouldn't do it again?

Prove me wrong, Weston Dressler:

"We laughed, we laughed on the sidelines."

I stand corrected. Andy Fantuz was a little more negative about the thing:

"A one in a thousand chance of that happening two games in a row is crazy. This time I won't dwell on it too much because we got the result. Hopefully we can clean up those logistics and not let it happen again."

It can't really be that hard to count to twelve. Naturally, we'll get a little more reaction out of Saskatchewan on this tomorrow, but, geez. Just because you only have ten fingers (well, the lucky Saskatchawaners anyway) doesn't mean it ain't easy to count to twelve. Use your toes if you have to. Or just take a guy off the field at the start of the game.

-In the other game, Calgary and Toronto combined for six fumbles and two interceptions and wasn't really as well played or entertaining. Jermaine Copeland, now an Argonaut, looked lost without Henry Burris. Cleo Lemon, the newest Argonauts quarterback, looked lost in general.

-Meanwhile, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats become the newest team to arbitrarily 'fine' players for disrespecting locker-room logos. It will cost you 25 push-ups if you walk on the Tiger logo in the middle of the floor. Because that's what's keeping you out of first place.

This has become quite commonplace, with fines in the NHL ranging from $10 to $25. I guess the Ti-Cats recognize no CFL player can afford that kind of money.

But seriously, how many pushups are the Alouettes going to have to do this year, when they inevitably walk all over the Tiger-Cats this season?

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Darryl Sutter goes insane

I didn't want to do this. I didn't want to break down Free Agent signings on Canada Day. I didn't want to laugh at Bryan Murray's inexplicable decision to sign Sergei Gonchar over Anton Volchenkov, or Brian Burke's infatuation with Colby Armstrong's truculence.

But geez, Darryl Sutter, are you serious?

Sometimes an NHL GM might look to bring back veterans who had good young careers with that team. Lou Lamoriello brought back John MacLean to coach and traded for Jason Arnott. That's fine. Ken Holland had a couple of years where he had Chris Osgood starting back with Detroit, and that was fine as well, because Detroit won a Cup with him.

But today's moves by the Calgary Flames border on insane. Do the reminders of the years with Alex Tanguay and Olli Jokinen conjure up positive thoughts in the mind of Sutter? Sutter's a guy who ran his team into the ground against the salary cap last year by signing Jay Bouwmeester. Now he's found two former players who couldn't be more abject failures as Calgary Flames had they come out of the dressing room each game with their skates on the wrong foot.

What am I missing here? Is Roman Turek in as Mikka Kiprusoff's newest backup goalie? Is Al McInnis coming out of retirement? Was it bad enough that they brought Theo Fleury and Craig Conroy for nostalgia? Are the Eagles still touring?

The Tanguay signing is confirmed. Olli Jokinen is just a crazy Internet rumour right now. That guy may go down in history as one of the biggest failures in Calgary. He scored just 19 goals in 75 games with Calgary. They gave up a first round pick for him, and promptly gave up on the guy for Ales Kotalik and Christopher Higgins. Higgins is currently a free agent who scored two goals in 12 games in his brief stint in Cowtown. Kotalik had three goals in 26 games.

Remember when Darryl Sutter stepped down as the Flames coach so he could concentrate on managing? Harley Hotchkiss should have kept him as far away from the phones as possible. This is the guy who has drunk-dialed his way through the last two July 1sts and trade deadlines.

Sutter has always been a bit nuts, and if this Jokinen rumour is true (hell, even if it isn't) it's time for the Flames to take him out behind the barn Old Yeller-style.

Happy Canada Day!

What would a Canadian sports blog be without some dainty hoserism?

Canada Day is great. It's the opening day of NHL Free Agency, which means it's only about a week or so until Ilya Kovalchuk or Dan Hamhuis sign anywhere. It's also the return of football season, and the day for the Toronto Blue Jays to wear silly looking hats.

But it's Canada Day, which allows us to reflect upon how great this country is, particularly since it was on this day a mere 143 years ago that the British gave our elected government permission to ask the British permission to change our constitution! It doesn't get more Canadian than that. Canada Day allows us to celebrate that we don't have a national holiday marking the end of the second World War, or the invention of the nanaimo bar, but we have one celebrating a point in history where we just asked nicely.

So we have to celebrate. Celebrate the non-import rule in the CFL. Celebrate our favourite Canadian Major League Baseball stars (Victoria's Michael Saunders with TWO home runs against the Yankees last night! Take that, Battle of the Thames re-enacters!) Most importantly, celebrate players signing with Toronto who sound like STDs.


Due to the total incompetence and dickheadedness of our Internet overlords at, we have lost our domain name and are back to being hosted by Blogspot.

And Happy Dominion Day. CFL recaps later, including whining about Glen Suitor.