Alouettes fans….Are you ready for some football???
Summer is officially underway. Canada prepares to celebrate 2 exciting things this Sunday; 1) Canada’s 145th birthday & 2) The Alouettes’ opening game of the 2012 CFL season.
This Sunday, the Dirty Birds soar on out to Cowtown to take on the Calgary Stampeders. Both teams are similarly built & both are considered to be strong contenders for the 100th Grey Cup. Calgary will look to test Montreal’s new 3-4 defense with their young pivot Drew Tate, whose stepped up to wrest the QB job away from Henry Burris. They also have a tough RB in Jon Cornish and receivers that will torch you if not covered properly.
Anyone who was worried about the Alouettes after their two pre-season losses only needs to look at that first series versus the Argos; The defense came very strong and got into Ricky Ray’s face, making him look rather pedestrian. With Aaron Hunt, Rod Davis & Shea Emry leading the charge, there is a lot to be excited about.
But the most interesting news from this week is the addition of Calgary’s first round draft pick Ameet Pall by the Alouettes. For whatever reason, Pall was cut by the Stamps to be put on the practice roster and Montreal swooped in and signed him. Was this a managerial snafu or did Calgary have buyer’s remorse with this pick and this was an easy way to cut ties? Regardless, if he can overcome his current foot injury and contribute to the Alouettes, it’ll be quite the coup for the team that traded away what turned out to be the 4th overall pick in this year’s.
Sunday’s game has all the elements to be a possible Grey Cup preview and will only whet the appetite for Alouettes fans readying themselves for next Friday’s home opener versus Winnipeg.
I’m looking forward to a lot of things this year as an Alouettes fan; this team has undergone a major overhaul on defense and it’s true impact remains to be seen. A lot of popular players were let go in the process, players that fans loved like Etienne Boulay & Anwar Stewart. I’m the first person to say that the name on the front of the jersey matters more than the name on the back, but when you’ve been following the careers of men like these only to see them jettisoned, you can’t help but feel disheartened.
These are men who dedicated their time and energy not only to the team, but to the community as well. As fans we feel betrayed by the team, as we invest a lot of time, energy and sometimes even money in these players. I mean, it’s not like the team will refund us the cash we spend on the players’ jersey if they release the player. That’s one of the reason I don’t buy specific players’ jerseys. Also, how can I favour one Alouette over another? But I digress….
But on the football side of things, their job is to put forth the best team possible. Even if that means cutting loose a popular player in lieu of someone who’s possibly younger, stronger, not as big a salary cap hit. Sports is a business and while we fans ultimately pay the price, we hold out hope that these moves will result in the wins and the championships we crave.
As disappointed as I am in some of these moves personally, the football side of me maintains hope that these moves will lead our team back on top of the CFL mountain.
On the local front (for me anyways), a lot of people are curious as to my thoughts on the return of Ottawa to the CFL. Now that the legal debacle regarding the renovations to Lansdowne Park is over with and shovels will be in the ground by fall, the projection is to be ready to play by the 2014 CFL season.
It’s my sincere hope that the ownership group led by Ottawa 67′s owner Jeff Hunt will have learned the many, many mistakes of the past and will focus on creating a solid base for football fans. Ottawa does have a rich football history, but it’s going to take time to wash away the stink of names like Horn Chen & Lonie Glieberman from jaded football people.
The league being in a stronger state than it was in years previous will certainly help the cause. I’m looking forward to watching the Alouettes play in yet another (sorta) new stadium, but my allegiance will not switch despite my address. If anything, I’m hoping to return to living in Montreal long before the Ottawa _____s even play their first game.
That’ll do it for now. No matter where you watch Sunday’s game, be ready for a great time! Be sure to follow me on Twitter for live tweets and any last minute news.
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.