Manziel Heads To Montreal

Manziel Heads To Montreal

The Johnny Manziel Experience is over before it really started. For the first time in his professional career, Quarterback Johnny Manziel is on the move via trade. The Hamilton Tiger-Cats have traded Johnny Manziel to the Montreal Allouettes for DL Jammal Westerman, REC Chris Williams, and two high level draft picks in the next two years. Also going to Montreal is OL Landon Rice and OL Tony Washington.

With this move, Hamilton has officially indicated that they are going to be doing due course with Jeremiah Masoli as their top guy. It is also a major gamble and risk which it could lead to higher reward depending on the turn of the season. The Ticats are currently 2-3 and still in the running for the first place spot in the Eastern Division. With Manziel departed, there’s no concrete alternative option for a strong committed backup quarterback at this point.

It’s also a homecoming for Chris Williams who starred with Hamilton in his two seasons with the team before controversially departed for the NFL in 2013. Only time will tell how the loyal Hamilton fan base welcome the latter with open arms. 
Speaking of controversial, when Johnny Manziel signed with the Tiger-Cats, one was among the few that supported the move, as well exposing the ignorance of several Ticats fans who disregarded Manziel’s newly diagnosed mental state for their one-sided opinions (no knowledge of mental illness). For one, I appreciated Manziel’s professionalism and loyalty during the two month stint with this city, and hope for the best in his career going forward.

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Saskatchewan 31 Hamilton 20

Saskatchewan 31 Hamilton 20

On the night in which one great player was honoured, the players’ latter former team didn’t play honourable football yesterday, as the Ticats were defeated by Saskatchewan 31-20.

If there’s any question as to whether Ticats HC June Jones should insert QB Johnny Manziel as their starter next game, yesterday’s performance from the incumbent starter has increased its difficulty towards maintaining status quo and go with the alternate. QB Jeremiah Masoli (186 yards passing) wasn’t at its best last night. Especially in the second half in which he failed to generate sustainable drives and capitalize to keep the game within striking distance. 

As for the Defence, they were not strong in the second half either, despite the strong first half. Give Saskatchewan a lot of credit adjusting and played a quality sounded second half performance. A tip of the cap goes to the ever-loyal Rider Nation fan base for their presence in supporting this team.

Before concluding this post, I would like to congratulate the great former Ticats Reciever Andy Fantuz on his retirement, and wish him the best of luck in his future. He was the consistent force on the field, and a classy man off the field.

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats dropped to 2-3, while Saskatchewan improves to 3-2. The Tabbies host the Ottawa Redblacks next Saturday.

Hamilton 13 Saskatchewan 18

Hamilton 13 Saskatchewan 18

In a game in which the Hamilton Tiger-Cats should have dominated, untimely decision  making and penalties costed the visitors a victory tonight at Regina

In order to be an elite quarterback in a pro football league such as, in this case, the CFL, a player in question should close the game out in a consistent basis. For the case of Tiger-Cats QB Jeremiah Masoli, despite the record share of 300+ passing yards established tonight, he didn’t get the job done, and shouldn’t be established as an elite quarterback…yet. 

His decision making in the first two series of the game proved to be a deterrent regarding the outcome of the game. It wasn’t all of his fault or wrongdoing, though. The running game, in which played an integral part of their two game winning streak, was shutdown by the stalwart defensive unit of Saskatchewan, despite a promising start. Furthermore, the offensive line and the special teams were mostly felt overwhelmed, leading to Masoli being diressed and bad field position all game. 

In the game that had a bunch of negatives, the most consistent positive critique would ultimately be the Hamilton D. Much like their opposing counterparts, the Defense played well, and give the secondary considerable credit for challenging the Roughriders receiving corps into situational catching for most of the game. Despite the positives, they ultimately became stressed out as their team offensive unit couldn’t capitalize with consistent long drives to close the game. 

With the defeat, the Ticats drop to 2-2. Hamilton (along with Saskatchewan) have a bye next week. These two clubs will be playing against each other in two weeks in Hamilton. 

Winnipeg 17 – Hamilton 31

Winnipeg 17 – Hamilton 31

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats defeated the Winnipeg Blue Bombers 31-17 in front of capacity crowd in Tim Hortons Field for the home opener of 2018.

Despite the early struggles in the opening half, the home team took a commendable approach in the latter half, with the Hamilton defence minimizing Winnipeg QB Chris Streveler and the often-threatening offensive attack to just seven points. Hamilton QB Jeremiah Masoli put another strong performance with 369 yards passing and a passing touchdown. Running Backs Sean Thomas-Ellington and Mercer Timmis combined for over 100 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns (both scores by Timmis). Wide Reciever Terrance Toliver caught his first receiving touchdown since 2016, as well as it was in a critical stretch in the early stage of the third quarter that increased the Hamilton lead. 

With the victory, Hamilton is officially in first place in the Eastern Division with a 2-1 record through three weeks. The Tiger-Cats head next week to Regina for a good matchup against the fledging Saskatchewan Roughriders squad.

Hamilton 38 – Edmonton 21

Hamilton 38 – Edmonton 21

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats defeated the Edmonton Eskimos 38-21.
With the victory, Hamilton is now at even 1-1 for the first time in several years.

If there’s any doubt regarding Hamilton QB Jeremiah Masoli (332 YDS, 3 TD/1 INT) being the number one guy in Hamilton, last night has certainly shut the doubt out of the revolving door with his critically solid performance. Although it’s only two weeks into the season, but he is playing like a top three quarterback in the cfl right now. As for Running Back Mercer Timmis (117 yards rushing, 2 TD), if he keeps playing the way he did last night, he’s the feature back going forward. 

Aside from the praise of the two mentioned, the receiving core led by Luke Tasker (5 REC 103 YDS 2 TD) and Brandon Banks (6 REC 117 YDS) contributed to the onslaught of the Eskimos D.

Last night also marked the returns of Receiver Terrance Toliver (4 REC 76 YDS) and Defensive Back Delvin Breaux to Hamilton in which they greatly needed producing from their perspective positions.

Both the Offensive Line and the Defense played very good football last night, with the former containing the Defense of Edmonton and allowed Masoli and Timmis to properly execute their game plan. Regarding the Defense, they alleviated the damage from early on caused by the Edmonton O, and contained Eskimos QB Mike Reilly and the Edmonton offence to seven points in the second half.

Hamilton returns home to face the surging Winnipeg Blue Bombers squad next Friday
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Hamilton Bulldogs 2017-2018 Season Review

Hamilton Bulldogs 2017-2018 Season Review

The Hamilton Bulldogs concluded their illustrious and unforgettable 2017-2018 season with a Memorial Cup semifinal loss to the Regina Pats. Despite the gut wrenching defeat, this squad should reflect this season with a great deal of satisfaction and accomplishment.

Heading into the season, there were considerable thoughts into what the forthcoming campaign would unfold. The biggest question mark headed to the year was the year-long play of starting Goaltender Kaden Fultcher. How would he handle the everyday grind and also the gruelling postseason where anything could’ve happen? Well, not only the Brighton, Ontario native stepped up in big games, he was clearly the difference maker in the OHL championship run.

Furthermore, the defence and the great depth scoring prowess (led by Matthew Strome, Will Bitten and rookie sensation Arthur Kaliyev) alleviated the tension from early season struggles. Brandon “The Office Man” Saigeon and Isaac Nurse stepped up with a strong season.

Aside from the above, the hockey administrative management of the Bulldogs led by President and General Manager Steve Staios delivered a boatload of talent as the season progressed. The acquisitions of Landry, Mattinen, Cammano, Moore, Thomas and Stillman were a major gamble, but at the end, a greater reward as the hockey club proceeded into the postseason as the #1 seed at the Eastern Conference. At the playoffs, they went through Ottawa, Niagara, Kingston, and the number one team in the country Sault Ste Marie Greyhounds to win the OHL championship and a berth at the centennial Memorial Cup.

Give the Head Coach of the Bulldogs John Gruden and his staff a great amount of credit due to the great product they assembled every night and gettisoned these talented core through late-season leadership changes and delivered on the former’s mandate to earn the right to compete for the Memorial Cup the hard way.

Now, knowing the Bulldogs will undergo considerable overhaul for the next couple of years, it is worth knowing that patience will be acquired from this fanbase. As  supporter of this team since its inception, one give critical and commendable praise to the team operations from both hockey and business standpoints on their effort. I’ll look forward to see the Bulldogs in the coming season ahead!

2018 Hamilton Bulldogs Playoff Preview

2018 Hamilton Bulldogs Playoff Preview

The Hamilton Bulldogs head to the postseason with great confidence and a plenty of playoff experience. 

With the likes of Thomas, Cammano, Moore, Strome, Bitten and Saigeon leading the charge, the Bulldogs are poised to make a long, deep run into the postseason and ultimately compete for the Memorial Cup. They are ranked first overall in the Eastern Conference going into the playoffs, and have the all important home ice advantage. However, the Bulldogs will face stern competition in the talent loaded upper portion of the conference in event Hamilton advances (see my prediction below).

Here are my three keys to success in the postseason…

  1. Kaden Fultcher. The Hamilton incumbent netminder will head to this postseason with limited experience. In game four of last year’s playoff series with Kingston, Fultcher relieved Dawson Carty for one period, and did admirably in relief. But when the current campaign commenced in September, it was widely expected that Fultcher was their number one guy, and had to prove that he’s a reliable commodity at a big game setting. With the playoffs in the horizon, and given the loaded talent the Bulldogs assemble, it is critical that Kaden Fultcher steps up and maintain a strong stable presence in net.
  2. Don’t get overconfident. Given the success of this team this year, it is normal to say that Hamilton can run the table with force in the conference rounds. In one’s opinion, don’t expect that. Regardless of pro, or in this case Major Junior hockey, the playoffs matter by how you deliver in the big games, and not solely on the regular season success. For the Bulldogs, take your opponents seriously and don’t overlook to the next round opponent, or otherwise they will be ousted in the first round like they did last season. In other words, never underestimate your opponent in this magnitude of the league season.
  3. Special Teams. Hamilton comes in to the playoffs with a great power play and an inconsistent penalty kill. The PP unit, led by Brandon Saigeon (16 goals with the man advantage), will need to answer the tasks of getting the big goal when needed. Regarding the PK, however, the Bulldogs need to step up and frustrate the opposition with the big bodies around the net and close the passing lanes in more efficient speed.

The Bulldogs faceoff against the Ottawa 67’s in the opening round of the 2017-2018 Ontario Hockey League Eastern Conference playoffs. In the regular season, Hamilton convincingly swept their opposition in all five meetings.  

Here are my “fearless and passionate” predictions (in honour of Victor Newman parody from the Raw Mike Richards show) for the postseason of the Bulldogs in the Eastern Conference…

  • OHL Eastern Conference Round 1 — Hamilton wins series over Ottawa 4-1 (HAM has too much talent to not get dethroned by the still young Ottawa squad)
  • OHL Eastern Conference Round 2 – Hamilton wins series over Mississauga 4-1 (Steelheads pull upset over Barrie, but gets overwhelmed with the offensive weaponry and frustrates MISS defence a ton)
  • OHL Eastern Conference Round 3 – Hamilton wins series over Kingston 4-3 (Hamilton gets its sweet revenge against Kingston from last year. No better setting to do it than this round with OHL Championship appearance at stake. Hamilton outwits Kingston.)

Hamilton will then face the Sarnia Sting in the OHL Championship. If Hamilton remains healthy by this point, and Fultcher is as better than advertised, Hamilton could pull this one out and go on to the Memorial Cup. But I’ll get my official prediction for the OHL Championship series when the path is crossed.

In closing, it should be an exciting and memorable run for the team that should get its rightful due as one of the league’s best.