Imagine my surprise when I had gotten word that fans were leaving Percival Molson Stadium before the end of last Thursday’s game. Why? Because the Alouettes were down by 12 points in the 4th quarter? Because Kevin Glenn seemingly played the new 3-4 Alouettes defense like Yo-Yo Ma plays the cello? Because the beer was too expensive? (Well, at $10 for what amounts to a bottle of Molson Ex poured into a plastic cup, that’d be a good enough reason to head for ze hills). Who were these so-called fans? Didn’t they know that in the Canadian Football League, you have to play literally all 60 minutes?
The ones that fled the mountain early certainly missed a classic. And certainly missed why you should never, ever doubt Anthony Calvillo’s chances when the chips are down. Or doubt Jerald Brown’s ability to deftly swipe a errant pass from the opposing QB and breathe new life into this enigmatic Montreal team.
By and large, the city of Montreal wants winners. They’ve seen 24 Stanley Cup winning teams, 7 Grey Cup winning teams and even seen the Montreal Impact win their respective league championships a couple of times. Montreal’s residents have little patience for a losing team, especially when the city’s vibrant nightlife is calling. Hundreds of bars, clubs and restaurants downtown ensure that everyone can eat drink and be merry. So if you expect a Montrealer to take 3+ hours out of their night to watch a sporting event, well you better win it and entertain the hell out of the fans too.
So how did Kevin Glenn, subbing for the injured Drew Tate, manage to look so brilliant for the lion’s share of the second half then blow it all in one fell swoop? Likely it was a bad read of his offense; it happens. But at the point of the interception, the Stampeders’ focus should have been on killing the clock and a wide open pass not only doesn’t kill time but is a huge mistake when it’s headed in the sightlines of a veteran like Jerald Brown, whose made a career in the CFL of torching opposing QBs with incredible ball-hawking skills.
No question this is a pass-happy league, where running backs are often under-utilized. After his stellar performance last week, Brandon Whitaker was stymied many times by Calgary’s punishing D. On the flipside, Jon Cornish ran all over and through Montreal’s defense. Why not keep handing him the ball when all you have to do is whittle away time on the clock and the W is yours?
So Montreal made Calgary pay with a heroic strike from Calvillo to the youngster Patrick Lavoie, who’s now got 2 touchdowns in as many games. If this pace keeps up, this rookie will be a force to be reckoned with. His size up front and youth certainly appealed to general manager Jim Popp, who drafted him the moment he became available. And the team started selling Lavoie’s jersey even before he started play. Not sure how many Lavoie jerseys have been sold yet but rest assured when you next see a #81 jersey worn in the stands, it may not necessarily be an older Kerry Watkins jersey.
Now Calgary did still have a chance to win this game, provided they could get within field goal range. And the ensuing kickoff after the touchdown had people wondering why Coach Trestman didn’t go for the onside kick. Really? I mean, really?
Why would you give Calgary even the slightest chance to recover at approximately the mid-field mark then get 1 or 2 first downs, eating up enough clock to kick that game-winning field goal? With Glenn’s offense in clear disarray after the Brown INT, the best move was to kick it deep and make them earn the space they needed. And the Stampeders came close, but once again clock management was not Glenn’s strong suit. Time ran out and the Alouettes went to 2-1 on this young season and as of today, sit alone on top of the CFL’s Eastern division. Just the way it should be for Alouettes Nation.
So the lesson here is a simple one, folks. Your paid ticket to a CFL games grants you the right to stay for all 60 minutes of time on the play-clock. You are well-advised to do just that. And you’ll often be rewarded with a great football game, whether your team wins, loses or draws.
After playing 3 games in 12 days, the Alouettes can finally catch their breath. The next challenge will be a Steeltown matchup this coming Saturday versus the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. And in case this game wasn’t going to be exiciting enough, yours truly will be there live!
I’ve been to Hamilton a few times to see Alouettes games, but this will probably be my last trip to Ivor Wynne Stadium as it stands right now. When the whistle blows on this 2012 season, it will be knocked down and rebuilt to meet the requirements needed to host events for the 2015 Pan Am Games as well as give a tired stadium a brand-new look in time for the 2014 CFL season. There’s still no word on where the Tabbies will play in ’13 other than NOT at McMaster University. If I were a betting man, I’d push all my chips to the square that says “Sharing Rogers Centre with the Argos”.
So this is the ideal year to visit this classic barn one last time, marvel at the history of this building and cheer your team to victory. Other Alouettes fans will be there and the guys from LesGarsQuiVivent.com will bring their
dog and pony show tailgate extravaganza to the Hammer! (I tease, they really are great guys!)
So along with all the black & yellow fanfare, keep an eye open for the small but loud group of Alouettes Nation enjoying the first divisional road game of the 2012 season. If you follow along on Twitter, the final location of this impromptu Alouettes meet-up will be revealed. Stop by for great eats, cold drinks and lots of good times before the game.
Be sure to check back later this week for a more in-depth preview of Saturday night’s match-up. And if you’re on vacation this week in Montreal, why not go watch the Alouettes practice & prepare for this game? Details can be found here.
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.