Archive for July, 2011
Saturday, July 30th, 2011
By: David Alter.
For the first time since the end of the 2008 season, the Montreal Alouettes dropped back-to-back games , losing to Saskatchewan on the road, and now following it up over at Ivor Wynne falling to Avon Cobourne and the Hamilton Tiger-Cats 34-26.
Cobourne Against Former Team
His numbers weren’t spectacular but Cobourne did manage 69 offensive yards in the first quarter alone.
“His contribution are more than the 10-yard rushes or the 25-yard passes he gets. It’s the little things. He gets the tough yards and the extra ones we need to extend our time on offense. It’s those little things that are not seen by the untrained eye” says Hamilton Head Coach Marcel Bellefeuille.
Misplays From Montreal
Several fumbles and inconsistentcy plagued the Alouettes, yet they still managed to get in the big plays that would get them right back to within a single score. The big difference came towards the end when Montreal needed a stop, and Ticats QB Kevin Glenn found an all alone Dave Stala who sealed it with a major score. Never in the last couple of years have you seen an opposing receiver left so wide-open against the Montreal defense, as Stala was.
“We discussed something and noticed that when they were adding (to their defensive coverage, they were leaving me open when I was blocking” says Stala. “So we ran a screen play and it worked perfectly.”
Argos Hard Luck Losers
In Edmonton the Argos dropped their fourth-straight game, losing to the Eskimos 26-25. This one hurts after Toronto had a 17-1 lead with about three minutes left to go in the first half. Then with Edmonton on the goal line, The Argos came up with two big stops on former Argos starter Kerry Joseph. When it looked like the half was over, it turned out there was still 1.5 seconds on the clock and Edmonton capitalized.
Dalton Bell was average under centre and didn’t do enough in my mind to warrant the start over Cleo Lemon next week. Grant Shaw was put in a really difficult situation of attempting a 57-yard field goal to try and win the game for Toronto (Prefontaine sat out with tightness in his leg). There was still time on the clock for another play to get closer on 3rd-and-5 and Jim Barker took the blame for it.
The Argos take on what will be a very angry Montreal team on Thursday.
Hamilton jumped out to a tie with Montreal for 2nd in the CFL East, Toronto is dead last at 1-4
Friday, July 29th, 2011
By: David Alter
Milos Raonic continues to recover from a hip injury and while his recovery is still expected to keep him out for quite some time, we could see Raonic come back in doubles action alongside Daniel Nestor when Canada takes on Israel in September for a birth into the World Group in Davis Cup action.
I caught up with Nestor in the west-end of the city yesterday (check out the interview in the ‘hot audio’ section). Nestor let it be known that he fully intends to pair up with Raonic at next year’s Olympics in London. If Nestor and Raonic are going to develop chemstiry one year from now, being entered together in doubles has to start happening. The only tournaments in which they can really work together are the Davis Cup matches due to Nestor not being tied to regular partner Max Mirnyi.
As for Raonic, well, he’s back on the court practicing for about 30 minutes and says his hips feel great. Doubles tennis isn’t so rigorous so an excellent warmup for Raonic would be teaming up with Nestor in Israel to see how he feels.
Wednesday, July 27th, 2011
Dalton Bell will likely be under centre for the Argonauts when they head to Edmonton to take on the undefeated Edmonton Eskimos.
Bell was thrust into duty when Cleo Lemon took a helmet to the face which chipped one of his teeth, causing him severe pain.
Lemon had oral surgery on Monday and is continuing to recover.
“I don’t think he’ll be able to go but he’ll be a backup, he threw the ball but in terms of starting, we’ll start Dalton (Bell).” says Head Coach Jim Barker
Bell is excited to finally be getting his chance and he’ll be better prepared for what to expect. For the first time this season, Bell has taken all first team reps ahead of a game, so there really are no excuses if he can’t follow up with a better effort than he had in relief against Winnipeg.
“I’m excited to play these guys” says Bell. “I know a lot of the coaches on Edmonton’s staff when i was with Saskatchewan. It’s a big opportunity for us. They’re 4-0 and we’re 1-3 so we have everything to gain and they have everything to lose.”
Fines a plenty
Shortly after media availability, the CFL came down hard on three Argos. Ejiro Kuale was fined for his late hit, helmet-to-helmet contact made with Bombers QB Buck Pierce. Ricky Foley was also fined for publicly criticizing officials when it came to that call and the non-call on their own QB. Both fines were undisclosed as per CFL policy.
The surprise to me comes to Head Coach Jim Barker who was fine $1000 for publicly criticizing officials. I’ve reviewed all of my tape from the post-game to practices this week. There is nothing I can find where Barker openly slams the officials. Barker may have made some indirect comparisons in asking for justification for the calls and non-calls that were made last week. But never did he say the calls that were made were wrong. Barker asked for an explanation, and gets rewarded with a $1,000 fine. That, to me, is wrong.
DB Evan McCollough will not play as he continues to recover from injury. Dee Webb will take his spot on the starting lineup. Lin-J Shell will be good to go, while LB Anthony Cannon will also sit out.
Monday, July 25th, 2011
By: David Alter
Two days removed from the Argos home opening loss to the Blue Bombers, there were still some at camp who were still a bit upset over the officiating which led to the ejection of Ejiro Kuale after his late hit on Bombers QB Buck Pierce.
Defensive End Ricky Foley sounded off on his frustration, and stopped short of stating that the officials were playing favourites, but he was clearly not happy.
“My starting QB is as important to me as the Bombers QB, Buck Pierce is to them” says Foley referring to Kuale’s hit that went punished. Winnipeg LB Joe Loebendahn’s hit on Cleo Lemon didn’t even get a flag.
Lemon left the game after taking that hit from Loebendahn. Kuale’s late hit which was helmet-to-helmet saw a 25-yard penalty and a DQ issued to the Argo defensive end.
“I see the hit that gets put on Cleo Lemon and I see how vicious that is and I see nothing” says Foley, “Cleo has to deal with the after effects of that, just call it both ways and that’s it.”
Kuale feels his hit on Pierce was neither late nor helmet-to-helmet.
“I was taught to lean in with my shoulder and that’s what I did” says Kuale after discussing the nature of his hit. “When the ball was being released (by Pierce) I was in my hitting position. Once you are gathered in that position there is no coming out of it.”
Kuale says if he is fined but the league, he will appeal the decision.
Head Coach Jim Barker didn’t want to say much about the hits in question. But he was clearly not happy with the officiating after Saturday’s game.
“I want to see what the league says and what their decision is” says Barker regarding the hits. “It wasn’t just the hit on Cleo that was in question. Hopefully they come out honestly and we’ll see what happens.”
Meanwhile Cleo Lemon missed practice as he was at the dentist getting his tooth repaired. It split open on that hit from Loebendahn, and his status for Friday will depend on how he recovers from it.
The Argos have their fair share of injuries on defence. Starting DB’s Lin-J Shell and Evan McCollough sat out of practice with a quad contusion and hamstring injuries. LB Anthony Cannon sat out with a groin/quad injury. All are day-to-day.
Thursday, July 14th, 2011
By: David Alter
For eight weeks, 800 kids from 33 Toronto Community Housing neighbourhoods will be getting physically active by playing some baseball. The Blue Jays Baseball Academy Rookie League teaches baseball skills, teamwork and participation on and off the field.
Jays starting pitcher Brett Cecil was on hand as part of the Jays Care Foundation, and helped lead the stretching.
More on Jays Care Foundation
More on Toronto Community Housing
Sunday, July 10th, 2011
By: David Alter
This edition had everything you could want in a race from rapid lead changes to Canadian content, as well as absolute chaos. A new rule adopted into the IndyCar series had cars lining up double-file for every single restart. With the narrow turns at 1 and 3, we saw several collisions. In the end, Dario Franchitti kept his nose clean long enough to grab his third victory in Toronto.
The win allowed Franchitti to increase his championship points lead over Will Power, who was eventually eliminated by Alex Tagliani. Prior to the dust-up, Power was taken out of contention by Franchitti himself after they collided.
Rough day for the Canadians involved. James Hinchcliffe was the top Canuck ending up 14th, Paul Tracy 16th, while Alex Tagliani was 23rd. Tense moment when Hinch and Tracy moved up to 5th and 7th respectively before both competitors touched tired going into a turn. The contact put Tracy laps down and way out of contention, while Hinchcliffe was involved in a big collision in the end which voided his chances.
Scott Dixon and Ryan Hunter-Reay rounded out the podium.
All in all, it was a blast being able to work the Honda Indy Toronto for the second year in a row. The event was successful on all accounts, and Raceline Radio’s Erik Tomas was excellent to work with. Until next year.
1. #10 Dario Franchitti 85 laps 01:56:32.1501s
2. #9 Scott Dixon 85 laps + 0.7345s
3. #28 Ryan Hunter-Reay 85 laps + 6.0144s
4. #26 Marco Andretti 85 laps + 7.5671s
5. #14 Vitor Meira 85 laps + 9.0117s
6. #19 Sebastien Bourdais 85 laps + 9.3114s
7. #6 Ryan Briscoe 85 laps + 9.8735s
8. #4 JR Hildebrand 85 laps + 14.1750s
9. #59 EJ Viso 85 laps + 14.7843s
10. #78 Simona de Silvestro 85 laps + 15.7603s
11. #24 Ana Beatriz 85 laps + 16.8992s
12. #2 Oriol Servia 85 laps + 19.8736s
13. #38 Graham Rahal 85 laps + 21.3123s
14. #06 James Hinchcliffe 84 laps + 1 laps
15. #22 Justin Wilson 83 laps + 2 laps
16. #8 Paul Tracy 82 laps + 3 laps
17. #3 Helio Castroneves 81 laps + 4 laps
18. #18 James Jakes 81 laps + 4 laps
19. #7 Danica Patrick 79 laps + 6 laps
20. #5 Takuma Sato 79 laps + 6 laps
21. #83 Charlie Kimball after 77 laps Contact
22. #27 Mike Conway after 76 laps Contact
23. #77 Alex Tagliani after 71 laps Contact
24. #12 Will Power after 66 laps Contact
25. #34 Sebastian Saavedra after 43 laps Contact
26. #82 Tony Kanaan after 2 laps Contact
Wednesday, July 6th, 2011
By: David Alter.
Here is the entire video of Brian Burke’s availability from earlier today….. Here are some point form notes.
- Burke says he feels he’s done when it comes to any more moves (of course small transactions can still happen they still have to address RFA’s like Luke Schenn)
- You won’t see any goalies added to the roster which means James Reimer will be backed up by Jonas Gustavsson. In order to avoid a sophmore letdown, Burke adviced Reimer to google Jim Carey and Steve Penny to learn from their mistakes.
- Says they made an offer to Brad Richard but they didn’t match the money and more important, were not willing to structure long-term deals with a front-loaded salary to circumvent the cap. Despite the fact that it’s allowed in the NHL, Burke has a fundamental problem with it.
- Feels that Matthew Lombardi should be ready for training camp, and hopes the concussion issues are behind him. Says getting Franson was key to the deal and can never have too many defenseman.
Wednesday, July 6th, 2011
By: David Alter
After completing the biggest season of his hockey career, Hart Trophy winner Corey Perry was hanging around The Beach in Toronto for the opening of the ‘Optimism Cafe’
I had a chance to talk one-on-one with the league MVP (which you can check out in the hot audio section) about what really has been an incredible season for the forward. After my conversation I had to bolt for Etibicoke where Maple Leafs President and G.M. Brian Burke held an availability.
After my conversation I did get a chance to ask Perry about the current status of his teammate Teemu Selanne.
“Obviously we’re trying to have him back, we feel he still has a few good years left in him.” says Perry.
It seemed like it would be a virtual lock that if Selanne did return to the NHL for another season, it would be with the Ducks. But now that the Winnipeg Jets are back, you’ve got to wonder if Selanne is thinking about perhaps finishing his career where it started.
Perry didn’t think that would happen.
Talking about his season, Perry maintains that his optimism and positivity helped shape his past season, and now he wants to spread the word around the neighbourhood. .