HAMILTON -- Positives out of a playoff loss?
Not a chance for Hamilton Tiger-Cats head coach Marcel Bellefeuille.
"What I will take out of it is I'm happy for our fan base and our city to have something to get excited about this week," Bellefeuille said.
"You could feel it in the city, people were excited about this team. But individually, I don't take anything happy out of it."
With B.C. Lions owner David Braley -- the man who could be the owner of the Toronto Argonauts in a few weeks -- watching from his field-level seat at the 55-yard line, the Ticats lost in overtime in the East Division semi final to the Lions.
The Ticats' final game of 2009 will hurt for a while, but the fact is the club has turned the corner to restoring a winning tradition. Many pieces are in place for the Tabbies, who should get to watch next season as the Argos and Winnipeg Blue Bombers try to re-build.
KEEP THE TANK FULL
One part of the learning process for the Ticats: Don't let games get away earlier in the season. Only because they won on the final weekend of the regular season in Winnipeg did the Tiger-Cats earn the right to play host to a playoff game.
"What (the past few weeks) should teach you is that if you want to make sure the tank is full at the end of the year, you can't leave it until the last few weeks," Bellefeuille said. "Those are the little lessons.
"We made some major strides this year, but there are a lot of things that have to be better."
Receiver Arland Bruce is one of many players who made the Ticats an improved club, but he didn't want to look too far ahead.
"Right now I'm just thinking about this loss," Bruce said. "It was a thriller. We played our hearts out and came up short. It has been a fantastic year. It's not how we wanted to end the season, but it has been great."