They say in everyone’s life, a little rain must fall. This past Sunday saw the heavens open up and rain down on the fans of the Montreal Alouettes. It has been a while since the last time there was rain at a home game. But maybe it served as a cleansing as the Als edged the Hamilton Tiger-Cats 27-25 to secure themselves a home playoff game at the Big O.
That’s a good thing, since the team had already started selling tickets for the game in a move that many considered to be premature or even a little ballsy. Selling tickets to a playoff game that potentially may not have been played?! Perhaps the wrong CFL city is being referred to as Swaggerville.
Surely Hamiltonians must have felt rained upon when the Ti-Cats came oh so close to tying the game on a 2 point convert attempt but was denied by Chip Cox’s speed & well-timed hands. After being down 21-9 to start the fourth quarter, the Ti-Cats came back to score two touchdowns and get within striking distance. Hamilton was playing to keep pace with both Winnipeg & Montreal and a win would have helped their cause big-time.
Once again Avon Cobourne was shut out of the end zone in Montreal. He’s still having a great year but when it comes to facing his old Alouettes friends in the stadium Avon called home for a number of years, he’s not able to put points on the board. Makes me wonder if Hamilton does face Montreal at the Big O with 60,000 screaming Alouettes fans, can Avon end that drought or will he once again be denied?
The Alouettes win now leaves them in sole possession of first place in the Eastern division. This Saturday’s game versus the Blue Bombers will be pivotal; Winnipeg wants to pull even while Montreal will clinch the Eastern division with a win at Canad Inns Stadium.
There was a time when a game at this time of year would be considered a non-factor; My sole trip to Winnipeg to see the Alouettes play there 2 years ago led to one of Montreal’s only 3 losses that season. But by that time, the Eastern division was easily sewn up by the Alouettes’ masterful play. A short two years later, this particular game will essentially be the 2011 season.
A win for the Alouettes will mean they can take the next two games to rest their starters, possibly get some practice roster talent some actual game time and use the bye week to prepare for hopefully a second trip to Vancouver in November. A loss will mean the Calgary & B.C. games become crucial wins to obtain and renew hope for the Winnipeg faithful that they will be hosting a playoff game as well.
The last Als/Bombers game in Winnipeg required all sixty minutes to be played…expect this upcoming match to follow in kind.
After the win Sunday, I was invited by Alouettes WR Brandon London to check out an art show that he was hosting featuring a terrific artist by the name of Alexia Farah. Her paintings were on display and the event was a tremendous success as many friends, fans & even Brandon’s teammates came out for an evening of culture and for Brandon’s official debut to Montreal’s vibrant social scene.
In speaking with Brandon at the event, I came away very impressed with his humble demeanor. One of the few players with both a Super Bowl & Grey Cup ring, his football resume speaks for itself. But to hear him tell it, London hardly considers himself a superstar compared to his fellow receivers Jamel Richardson & S.J. Green. He’s very grateful for the opportunities that this season has given him and he is ready for much more.
No question London has the tools & savvy to crossover and make himself into a star both on and off the football field. And he’s wise enough to take advantage of what a city like Montreal can offer. At the risk of building someone up too much, I think it’s only a matter of time until Brandon London becomes a household name.
I’m glad I got exposed to such a talented young artist as well. To learn more about Alexia Farah and her stunning artwork, check out her web site.
I’ll be back later this week to preview Saturday’s game. With so much on the line this Saturday in Winnipeg, make sure you find yourself a good TV to watch the game on.
I suspect that not many Alouettes fans will be there live to watch the game, but hopefully Montreal will find the resolve to steal another win and lock up yet another Eastern final game at Olympic Stadium.