Settling scores

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:45 AM ET

There will be some major grudge matches settled on the road this season for the Edmonton Eskimos.

The 2007 CFL schedule calls for the Green and Gold to play four consecutive back-to-back series in the second half of the season - with the final game in three of those sets coming on the road.

HOME AND HOME AND ...

After playing the Calgary Stampeders in the traditional Labour Day series, the Esks will play a home-and-away set with Montreal, Toronto and B.C.

But Eskimos head coach Danny Maciocia doesn't seem too concerned.

"You got a team you play four times (in your division), two of the teams you play three times and the Eastern teams, you play them home and away," said Maciocia of the challenge facing a scheduler maker.

"To me - just line up and play."

Coincidentally, no other team faces more than two back-to-back sets in the second half of the season.

But Maciocia is happy he only faces one quick turnaround during the year, the usual three-day gap in the middle of the Labour Day series.

"I am extremely comfortable with the number of days between games," he said.

The Esks will have to face another long break - this time 15 days - before the Labour Day classic because of a bye week in late August but Maciocia is pleased Calgary is coming off the same rest.

Last year the Eskimos had a 16-day break before the Monday clash and were blasted by a Stampeder team that played the week before.

"That is the reason why we did what we did as far as the bye is concerned," said Maciocia, referring to all West teams taking their only bye during Week 9 (Aug. 20-26).

A FAVOUR

The executives at the CFL head office also did Edmonton a favour by scheduling a home game during the first week of the regular season.

Forced out of Commonwealth Stadium for a soccer tournament in July, the Esks avoided playing three straight weeks on the road by opening the season against Winnipeg on June 28.

It marks the first time Winnipeg and Edmonton have lifted the lid on the schedule since 1983.

From a marketing standpoint, the Green and Gold are very happy.

"We love the idea that we have two games against Calgary and two games against Saskatchewan (at home)," said marketing director Dave Jamieson. "They are historically strong gates for us."

The club also received a large dose of Friday and Saturday home dates with early starts, making the games family friendly. There's not a single 8 p.m. start after three last year.

SHORT HITS: Although the Riders come calling on July 20, the Eskimos will be battling for customers with the Grand Prix of Edmonton (July 20-22) and Capital Ex, which opens the same weekend ... Standings aside, Aug. 11 will be full of storylines with the return of Jason Maas to Commonwealth Stadium and Jason Goss facing his old Hamilton teammates ... The Eskimos are scheduled to open training camp June 2 with player medicals before taking the field the following day at Clarke Stadium, nearly two weeks later than last year... The broadcast portion of the schedule is expected in the near future.

LATE HIT: The Eskimo Igloo Family Zone will replace the Knothole Gang section this season, with the Green and Gold using a public appearance by Ricky Ray to help kickstart sales on Monday (10 a.m.-3 p.m.) at the ticket office.


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