For me, there are three sure-fire signs that summer has arrived; the smell of meat grilling on the BBQ, the ladies walking about wearing bikini tops with short skirts & best of all, the deafening roar of the crowd as the Montreal Alouettes fly out of the tunnel to start the new CFL football season. For the first time in a long time, the Alouettes kick off the season at home. The B.C. Lions are in town and are looking to make its mark versus the two-time defending Grey Cup champions.
To me, there’s nothing like Opening Day at Molson Stadium. Usually it’s a great evening on the mountain, the fans are ready to see the superstars play….it’s an event like no other. And thanks to last year’s renovations, now more people than ever can enjoy the Alouettes live and in person. I haven’t missed a home opener since 2004 and this year is no exception. And judging by the folks on Twitter, the city of Montreal is going to be rocking tonight!
This year’s team is different from last year’s; it’s the mantra Coach Marc Trestman has repeated ad nauseum. I’m going to focus on 5 players in particular this year:
1. Anthony Calvillo
He’s our quarterback and every year that we still have him is a gift. He’s battled a lot both on & off the field and even his most recent opponent, thyroid cancer, couldn’t stop this grizzled veteran. AC is poised to break some major records this year & he still plays the game with the vigor of players half his age. He’ll be great & we lucky Alouettes fans get to witness it all.
2. Dwight Anderson
If you’re looking for swagger, look no further than this defensive specialist. He ruffled a few feathers by wearing his 2008 Grey Cup ring to the pre-season game in Hamilton (won by beating the Alouettes in Montreal) but for him, it’s all about winning. The coaching staff loves his dedication & he can get into opponents’ heads. I’m looking forward to seeing what he brings to the Alouettes on a full-time basis.
3. Brandon London
Last year, he was a late addition to the practice roster. This year, he’s become the newest target for Calvillo to throw to. He’s got the height & the hands to be a top-flight receiver in the same vein as Jamel Richardson & S.J. Green. All he needs is the reps and with deep threat Kerry Watkins on the disabled list, he’ll get those chances.
4. Etienne Boulay
With the retirement of fellow safety & good buddy Matthieu Proulx, Etienne’s not only the starting safety but also the most popular Quebec-born Alouette. Boulay’s always in tremendous shape and plays far bigger than his 5’9 frame. He caused a fumble & had 4 interceptions last year, so opposing QBs will be watching him carefully. I expect him to leave a lot of bruised bodies in his wake & become even more of a defensive leader.
5. Eric Deslauriers
This year is a make or break year for this wide receiver. With the retirement of Ben Cahoon, the slotback position became open. With S.J. Green is expecting to start that spot, Deslauriers will have to battle not only to get on the field, but to get the ball thrown his direction. He’s always had the talent, but was beset by injuries. Coach Trestman is still very high on Eric & will get his chances. Hopefully he makes the most of them.
As I usually do, I’ll be live-tweeting from the game itself. I won’t do predictions, but with the team fired up from the crowd, it won’t be easy for the Lions. They do have a lot of young talent & are coached by the legendary Wally Buono so this will not be a cakewalk for the Alouettes.
Last year’s Grey Cup win is now a fond memory. The journey to this year’s Grey Cup begins tonight. I’m ready, are you?