Ticats release all-star corner Delvin Breaux, who's bound for the NFL, the next chapter in his remarkable comeback storyAndrew Bucholtz at 55 Yard Line 1 day ago
From Louisiana flag football player to CFL all-star, Hamilton Tiger-Cats' cornerback Delvin Breaux has had a remarkable journey, and now it looks like his path will lead him back south of the border. The Ticats announced Saturday that they'd released Breaux, who would have hit free agency Feb. 10. The move is presumably to let Breaux sign with an NFL team early (a smart approach), and he should have no shortage of options there; over 20 teams have brought him in for tryouts, including his hometown New Orleans Saints. That's impressive for someone who didn't even play college football thanks to a devastating injury, and it says a lot about both how well Breaux has performed in Canada and about how CFL players are becoming more attractive to NFL teams. What's most amazing is how a guy who was almost killed in a high school football game is now set to make it to the NFL, though.
Coach of the Year John Hufnagel cites turnover improvement and next-man-up mentality for the Stampeders' success, says farewell coaching season won't be about himAndrew Bucholtz at 55 Yard Line 4 days ago
Calgary Stampeders' head coach and general manager John Hufnagelwon his second Annis Stukus Trophy as the CFL's coach of the year Wednesday following a remarkable season where his team went 15-3 and won the Grey Cup despite incredible turnover of coaches and players, and he did a lot of different things to take his team to the next level this year. If you ask Hufnagel, though, the improvements were only in limited categories. On a media conference call Wednesday afternoon, he said the two differences that helped Calgary dominate this year were increased team health and decreased turnovers.
"Number one, we were more healthy, and number two, we took better care of the football," Hufnagel said. "The games we lost in the playoffs [in the past], the turnover ratio was embarrassing."
"It was frustrating for both Jon and myself," Hufnagel said. "I never expected it to be that long."
"That's an outstanding bunch of coaches."
John Hufnagel wins his second Annis Stukus Trophy as CFL coach of the year, another reflection of the Stampeders' historic seasonAndrew Bucholtz at 55 Yard Line 4 days ago
It's a good thing John Hufnagel didn't leave this year's coach of the year banquet early. Unlike in 2013, the Calgary Stampeders' head coach and general manager stuck around to the end Wednesday, and he was rewarded with the Annis Stukus Trophy as the league's top coach. Hufnagel's an incredibly deserving winner, considering that he put together one of the most dominant seasons in CFL history, and that he did so despite massive injury adversity. This wasn't a sure victory for him, though, as there was also a strong case for Edmonton's Chris Jones and the turnaround he performed (the Eskimos went from a basement-dwelling 4-14 team to 12-6 with a West Final appearance). In the end, however, Hufnagel's work with the Stampeders was tough to top.
International soccer players drop Women's World Cup turf legal action, but their language suggests they'll keep up this fight in the pressAndrew Bucholtz at Eh Game 4 days ago
The American-led group of international soccer players that took FIFA and the Canadian Soccer Association to court last October over alleged gender discrimination in the plans to use artificial turf at the 2015 Women's World Cup announced Wednesday that they've dropped their case. This wasn't an unexpected outcome, especially considering the strong defences made by the CSA and FIFA that high-quality turf is permissible at (and used for) both men's and women's competitions, and considering thata much stronger complaint of gender discrimination (the women's ski jumping lawsuit ahead of the 2010 Olympics) wound up with a court ruling that international sports organizations were beyond the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. This was always going to be a difficult case for the complainants to win in court, and the tight timeframe (the lawsuit was only launched eight months before the first games take place this June) made it even tougher for them. However, comments from the players involved and their lawyer suggest that there will still be plenty of complaints about the turf in the weeks and months ahead. The legal battle over turf is at an end, but the war of words is just beginning. From Reuters' Simon Evans:
Can new Ticats' quarterback Jeff Mathews move ahead of bigger NCAA stars? Will his Cornell connection to Kent Austin help?Andrew Bucholtz at 55 Yard Line 5 days ago
The Hamilton Tiger-Cats' latest quarterback signing may provide another interesting data point in the discussion of where CFL quarterbacks come from. The team signed Jeff Mathews Tuesday, which is a notable move; while the team already has an established starter in Zach Collaros, they have two promising backups (Dan LeFevour and Stephen McGee) who could become free agents in February, and two others (Jeremiah Masoli and Jacory Harris) who are still under contract. Mathews' past performances are impressive; he threw for 11,284 yards and 72 touchdowns at Cornell, the most in Ivy League history, and he had stints with three different NFL teams this year. However, every other quarterback the Ticats currently have played at a higher level in college, and had their own notable accomplishments there.
Andrew Bucholtz at 55 Yard Line 7 days ago
The Seattle Seahawks have long received plenty of support from Canadian fans, but the support they got from Canadian players and former CFL players proved to be even more essential to their 28-22 come-from-behind overtime victory in Sunday's NFC championship game against the Green Bay Packers. Punter Jon Ryan, a Regina native, threw a critical touchdown pass on a fake field goal, while tight end Luke Willson (who hails from Lasalle, Ont.) made a huge catch on a two-point conversion. Even an American who trained in the CFL got in on the action: wide receiver Chris Matthews, who's from Long Beach, California, but spent 2012 and 2013 with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, recovered a vital late onside kick for the Seahawks. Each of these guys played a vital role for Seattle on Sunday, so Seahawks' fans can thank Canada for their victory.
Fred Stamps is off to Montreal: will we see him return to dominance, or is his 2014 more reflective of what he's capable of now?Andrew Bucholtz at 55 Yard Line 9 days ago
It's been quite the week for CFL trades of well-known receivers from Alberta teams, with Calgary sending Maurice Price to Ottawa Thursday and now Edmonton shipping Fred Stamps to Montreal. The latter move went down Friday, with the Eskimos dealing Stamps to the Alouettes in exchange for fellow receiver Kenny Stafford. There are plenty of similarities here to the Price trade, with Edmonton freeing up some space at a crowded position and gaining some cap space as well while bringing in a prospect, and Montreal looking for a more proven option than what they had. However, this deal may be even more interesting considering just how good Stamps has been at times; some of his former teammates have already weighed in on Twitter on just how much they'll miss him. The key question in evaluating this deal may be which Stamps we'll see in Montreal: the guy who posted five straight 1,000-yard plus seasons from 2009-2013, or the guy who only notched 545 receiving yards in 2014.
Larisa Yurkiw, the self-funded Canadian skier, picks up her first World Cup podium finish at race in ItalyAndrew Bucholtz at Eh Game 9 days ago
Canadian skier Larisa Yurkiw has long been an incredible story for what she did just to get to the World Cup slopes, but now she's starting to pick up remarkable results on those slopes too. The 26-year-old Yurkiw, a downhill specialist from Owen Sound, Ontario, made her own way on to Canada's Olympic team last January not long after recovering from a horrific 2009 crash that kept her out of competition for two years. She did so despite Alpine Canada not funding her discipline, and she pulled off an impressive 20th-place finish in the downhill in Sochi despite a badly sprained ankle. Since then, things have only gotten better for Yurkiw. She's still funding her own way, raising an estimated $200,000 to cover her costs this year, but she's finding a lot of success. She picked up a career-best finish and her first World Cup podium spot Friday in the downhill at Cortina D'Ampezzo in Italy, placing second with a time of one minute, 9.68 seconds. Afterwards, Yurkiw posted on Instagram about what the victory meant to her:
Andrew Bucholtz at 55 Yard Line 10 days ago
Former New York Jets and new Buffalo Bills head coach Rex Ryan is usually good for a soundbite (see those condemned-to-hell snacks (language warning)), and his latest one involves the CFL. Ryan was officially introduced as the Bills' new head coach Wednesday, and later that day, he went on Toronto's Sportsnet 590 The Fan's Prime Time Sports with Jeff Blair and Tim Micallef. Ryan, who lived in Toronto with his mother and brothers while growing up, told Blair and Micallef he loves the city, and he'd want to play the Maple Leafs under CFL rules and the Argonauts in hockey. His full comments can be heard here via The Fan here; here's a transcription of the key parts, via Lucas Barrett at the CFL's The Snap site:
Redblacks' trade for Maurice Price gives them an experienced big-play target, but Stamps get some valuable returns in the dealAndrew Bucholtz at 55 Yard Line 10 days ago
CFL trades aren't all that common, but when they do happen, they tend to involve asymmetric positions; one team's need is filled by another team's excess, resulting in a lot of trades that seem like they can work out for both sides. That's the case with Thursday's deal, which saw the Calgary Stampeders send veteran receiver Maurice Price to the Ottawa Redblacks in exchange for linebacker Jasper Simmons and receiver Dan Buckner. All three players are imports, so this won't affect anyone's ratio. Price gives the Redblacks a proven top receiver, something they desperately needed last season. Meanwhile, the Stampeders free up some space in their receiving corps, probably get some space against the cap, and pick up a couple of intriguing pieces as well.