The Alouettes are back home at Percival Molson Stadium this Thursday after a conquering trip to Toronto and play host to the surprising Edmonton Eskimos, who have undergone a vast house-cleaning and has gone back to the winning ways of their past. Had it not been for the equally shocking Winnipeg Blue Bombers last week, this could have been a match where the Eskimos would have been 6-0 coming into play.
How have the Eskimos found success? With a savvy GM that could make chicken salad out of chicken poop, a head coach that bided his time and sold his players on his philosophy and a quarterback that was left for dead by many fans but has had a resurgence of late. Hmm, sounds familiar doesn’t it? I see a lot of similarities to this Eskimo team to ours.
However, the Eskimos came crashing down to earth thanks to the defensive efforts of the Blue Bombers last Friday. Edmonton’s offensive weapons include Jerome Messam’s punishing running and Fred Stamps’ explosive ability. The Alouettes will get a break from the latter as Stamps was rushed to the hospital for emergency surgery last week. And while our defense has been missing the mark lately, they have been tremendous at stopping the run. If they can keep Messam grounded and force Ricky Ray to overthrow as he is prone to do, the Alouettes will have every opportunity to win a game that 2 weeks ago seemed like an impossible task.
Another interesting wrinkle will be the return of Damon Duval to the place he called home for 6 seasons. He too has had a great season so far and is kicking like he used to. Perhaps being in Montreal for so long without any real competition made him a little complacent, so he’ll have to be charged up to meet his former teammates. His replacement Sean Whyte has come along nicely so this will make for a nice little duel. The Alouettes felt confident enough in Whyte and so far it’s paid off. Duval was a last-minute addition to the Eskimos that’s looked brilliant so far. As usual, the cream will rise to the top.
To help address the injuries & overall need for defensive help, General Manager Jim Popp made what’s become a brilliant move by trading seldom used WR Dallas Baker to the Roughriders for potential starter Luc Mullinder. In addition to adding Ryan Lucas from SSK’s practice roster, we seem to find a lot of potential in the Riders lineup. The reason this latest move looks so savvy is because we traded an import in Baker for a non-import in Mullinder, which rarely happens. From all accounts from Riders faithful, the Alouettes have acquired a real hard-working player that will also help out on special teams, which has been sorely lacking along with the defense for Montreal.
And judging by his Twitter account, Luc is ready to get into it and get winning. You have to love that attitude. He’s watched the Alouettes win 2 straight Grey Cups live in person, now he’s gotta be licking his chops to join that exclusive club. Like the saying goes; if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.
After the game ends on Thursday, the Alouettes enter their bye week. While the players will be recharging their batteries on their 15 day pause between games, I’m planning on a couple of blog posts to expand on some thoughts I’ve had throughout the season. Not to mention a look back on the season thus far and what we can expect as the Alouettes fight towards the Grey Cup. Hard to believe but there’s a good chance that for the first time in a long time, the Eastern Final won’t be played at Olympic Stadium! Just seems so odd.
I’ll be live-tweeting as I always do for the game…looking forward to a great game being played. Hope the Alouettes win for Jack Bedell, making his only trip to Montreal to see his team!
GO ALS GO!!
About the Author
Written by Clifford Pine
Montreal born & bred, lover of sports. Passionate about the Montreal Alouettes. Also a great cook & not too bad a dancer.