Unlike a year ago, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats have taken all the fun out of the CFL trade deadline.
By signing running back Corey Holmes to a three-year contract extension, the Ticats have taken the best available player off the market for today's dealings.
It would seem now that nothing will happen of the magnitude of 2005 when the Tiger-Cats sent running back Troy Davis and guard Dan Comiskey to the Edmonton Eskimos.
There still might be a deal before the 10 p.m. deadline because Winnipeg is looking for help at receiver and offensive line, Edmonton on defence and Saskatchewan at punter. Holmes, the runner-up for most outstanding player last season with Saskatchewan, was having an awful season but could be a force when he's fully healthy.
"Corey is one of the most exciting players in the CFL and a true leader in the locker-room in addition to being a tremendous person," Ticats GM Marcel Desjardins said in a statement.
OPENING DRIVE: Yo, we might have to start calling the Saskatchewan club the Green Renegades. Saskatchewan general manager Eric Tillman signed one of his favourites yesterday in free-agent receiver Yo Murphy. The 35-year-old was sitting at home in Tampa but insists he wasn't ready to retire. He joins a huge contingent of Ottawa refugees with Tillman, QB Kerry Joseph, WR Jason Armstead and FB Cory Hathaway ... Montreal's five-game losing streak is eerily similar to the 2001 season, when the Alouettes jumped out to a 9-2 mark only to lose their last seven and finish at .500. "This is no way close to resembling the second half of that year," offensive lineman Scott Flory told a Montreal newspaper. "The guys we have here ... there's belief, hope and the guys are working hard. There's no dissension or the pointing of fingers that tears a team down." Good thing they aren't pointing fingers because the Als offensive line went from first to fourth in sacks allowed after giving up an even dozen to the Lions Saturday. Head coach Don Matthews then piled the pressure on QB Anthony Calvillo by defending his hoggies. "Our offensive line has the most difficult job in the league because A.C. doesn't have mobility," Matthews said. It looks like it could get worse in Montreal before it gets better.
ENDZONE TOSS: The Blue Bombers finally got on the scoreboard in the third quarter against Calgary with a measly punt single, ending the Stamps' bid for its first shutout since 1990. After the single, the Stamps didn't worry too much about allowing a Charles Roberts touchdown in the 43-9 pounding ... Eskimos K Sean Fleming just needs one field goal to pass Roughriders legend Dave Ridgway for fifth in CFL scoring history, which should happen Friday at Commonwealth Stadium ... Just who the heck is DeVon Fowlkes anyway? The little returner from Appalachian State broke out for his first CFL touchdown by taking a punt to the house Saturday against the Eskimos, the first major for the Ticats in two months at home. Hamilton may end up with one of the league's best return games when Corey Holmes gets healthy and Jesse Lumsden makes his season debut ... Maybe Nik Lewis is right when saying Eskimos LB A.J. Gass is one of dirtiest players in the league. Seeing him kick former teammate Brock Ralph Saturday was downright ugly.
EXTRA POINTS: As impressive as Calgary RB Joffrey Reynolds' season has been, he would still need 162 yards per game over the last five to break Willie Burden's franchise record for rushing yards in a season. Amazingly, Reynolds sits second in the league in combined yards although he doesn't touch the ball on returns ... The three West Division teams in playoff positions are beating up on the East, while the Eskimos are still winless in four tries. B.C., Calgary and Saskatchewan have a combined record of 12-3 against the East, which could make for a lopsided Grey Cup ... The Eskimos have the worst road record at 0-6 and that means they might be toast come playoff time if they manage to get back in the race.
The number of sacks the B.C. Lions registered in a win Saturday over the Alouettes, one short of the record held by Edmonton.
"It's mind-boggling. It seems like our confidence is very fragile. As soon as things don't go our way, it's almost like the end of the world."
-- Eskimos head coach Danny Maciocia after his team lost to the woeful Hamilton Tiger-Cats Saturday night.