Tiger-Cats fans are digging to find a subplot in the Arland Bruce trade from Hamilton to Vancouver this week, but there isn’t one.
Yes, Bruce had a penchant for oddball behaviour (the Michael Jackson funeral touchdown tribute comes to mind), but the reality is Bruce is an oft-injured, high-priced pass catcher who hasn’t seen the ball much lately, yet Hamilton (3-2) is still on a roll. With a three-game win streak under their belts, the Tabbies can afford to dump Bruce’s salary for a third-round Canadian draft pick.
To make matters worse, Bruce bitched to the media about not getting his number called enough, making him that much more expendable. On the other hand, winless Wally Buono, Bruce’s new boss in B.C., has to shake up his roster to find a winning formula. For him, Bruce’s salary and occasional forays into weird antics are worth the risk.
The underdog days of summer:
At first glance you might think you’re reading your newspaper upside down, with the first-place Edmonton Eskimos (5-0) hosting the first-place Winnipeg Blue Bombers (4-1) in a Friday night showdown. Who could have imagined two months ago that these two squads would break from the starting blocks so quickly — it should be the game of the year so far.
What’s most interesting is that two teams that missed the playoffs last season would take vastly different routes to recovery in 2011.
The Eskies made massive off-season coaching staff and player-personnel changes, although the offence is still led by Ricky Ray, who many Eskimos fans wanted to see replaced last winter.
The Bombers chose to essentially stand pat with their staff and roster while praying for QB Buck Pierce to stay healthy.
Backed into a cornerstone:
Conventional wisdom prior to this season was that Calgary’s secondary would suffer from the loss of cornerbacks Brandon Browner (NFL) and Dwight Anderson (Montreal). The Stamps are second this season in passing yards allowed, thanks in part to the fine work on the corners by free agent Geoff Tisdale and acquisition Greg Fassitt.
As an added bonus, the Stamps parted ways with two players who took bad penalties while Anderson added to the agony with embarrassing behaviour on the field, a trait he has displayed on a regular basis in Montreal. Last week he was accused of spitting on fans as he left the field in Hamilton.