Import rule ups the pain for Ticats

IAN BUSBY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 1:06 PM ET

For an American plying his trade in the CFL, it can come as a shock sometimes when a quirk in the Canadian version of football keeps you off the roster.

Just ask Marko Cavka. The Hamilton Tiger-Cats import offensive lineman was starting at left guard for three weeks until Jesse Lumsden got hurt.

How does one affect the other, you may ask?

Because Lumsden is a Canadian and a starter, the Ticats needed to start a different non-import somewhere else when Lumsden came out of the lineup for a knee injury.

So Cavka was replaced by Canadian Peter Dyakowski as import running back Tre Smith took over for Lumsden.

For several years, the argument against starting a Canadian player at a skill position was this exact scenario.

But it just so happens Lumsden is one of the best running backs in the CFL and deserves to play. The Ticats would be better off treating Lumsden as an import instead of a Canadian, that way they wouldn't be doing as much roster juggling for an injury.

"For Jesse, we would do it 100 times out of a 100," said Taaffe, who had to explain the ratio to a bit puzzled Cavka.

Every coach needs to manage the ratio each week, and it can often surprise newcomers.

Montreal Alouettes head coach Marc Trestman is making the adjustment after spending 26 years in American football. He is in his first year with the Als.

"Getting the roster together every week is time consuming," Trestman said. "I've never had that any other place because of the ratio issues. If a guy goes down on defence, you need to take a guy out on offence who is a good player. That's surprised me how long it takes. It never stops."

OPENING DRIVE

Life in Roughriderland is even better in 2008 than it was during last year's Grey Cup-winning season. The Riders announced yesterday they have their 11th straight sellout of Mosaic Stadium this Sunday when they host the Argonauts and former QB Kerry Joseph.

The team is 4-0 for the first time since 1970. The last time the formerly sad-sack Riders went 5-0 was 1934, when they started out with six straight wins. Now they seemingly have two capable quarterbacks in Darian Durant and veteran Marcus Crandell, who is still iffy to return from a hamstring injury. You have to love Durant, who took theNo. 4 from Joseph when he was traded to Toronto,and showing no apprehension wearing the same digit at last year's Most Outstanding Player.

And what a nice moment he delivered when he handed the game ballSaturday to his mom after beating the Alouettes.

ENDZONE TOSS

Not a good week for the Calgary Stampeders ownership, past and present. Former defensive co-ordinator Denny Creehan -- now with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats -- ripped 'upper-management' for interfering on personnel decisions last season when Creehan was fired mid-season. Those comments prompted new Stamps coach John Hufnagel to read a statement denouncing Creehan.

Then on Friday night, former Stamps GM/head coach Wally Buono praised B.C. Lions ownership and management during the Bobby Ackles tribute by saying he came from an organization where ownership meddled too much and it was nice Ackles and owner David Braley didn't do that ... The Tiger-Cats have added former Stamps LB Cornelius Anthony, another one of Creehan's guys to go along with DB Sean Manning and DL Terrence Patrick. Creehan also worked out Canadian LB Scott Coe last week and he could join them soon ... Stamps QB Henry Burris had so much confidence in RB Joffrey Reynolds from the one-yard line against the Ticats he handed off the ball and headed to the bench without watching. "I pretty much saw that hole and knew Joffrey would make the guy miss," Burris said. "No need to look."

EXTRA POINTS

What a terrible week for injuries. The league lost Eskimos DL Fred Perry (dislocated ankle), Blue Bombers LB Barrin Simpson (pectoral muscle) and LionsWR Cory Rodgers (Achilles) for the season. ArgosLB Kevin Eiben appears to be out at least a couple of weeks with a knee injury, while the Riders have lost DE John Chick (knee) for up to six weeks and the Stamps will be without RB Demetris Summers (ankle) for a couple of games ... The Alouettes cut returner Jason Armstead after two miscues that led to Montreal losing in Regina. Armstead took a knee after he seemingly expected the Riders to do an onside kick and had to run back and retreive the ball. Then Armstead fumbled another kickoff that gave the Riders an insurance field goal. The Als have picked up former Argos DB Khalil Carter as well ... Argos QB Kerry Joseph returned to his scrambling self and became the first Toronto pivot to throw for 300 yards and rush for 100 since Doug Flutie did it back in 1997 ... The CFL announced the formation of the Canadian Football Research Society and is looking for volunteers. Anyone interested is urged to call 416-585-9373 or e-mail lkotylo@aol.com.

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QUOTABLE

What did you say?

"I wasn't singing Kumbaya to them. It wasn't very fun out there."

Ticats head coach Charlie Taaffe

GO FIGURE

Playin' the numbers game

109

Yards gained on the winning drive put together by Argos quarterback Kerry Joseph to beat the Eskimos.

THREE STARS

Week's top performers

1. Argos QB Kerry Joseph -- Rushed for 118 yards and winning TD, plus threw for 343.

2. Lions DB Korey Banks -- Two sacks and two picks, one that went for a touchdown against Blue Bombers.

3. Alouettes LB Reggie Hunt -- Two interceptions, a sack and eight tackles against his former team.

CRYSTAL BALL

Our predictions for the week ahead

Calgary at Winnipeg --Woes continue in Winnipeg. Stamps by 7.

Edmonton at Hamilton -- If Jesse Lumsden plays, Hamilton wins. Ticats by 1.

Montreal at B.C. -- Decided coaching edge. Lions by 14.

Toronto at Saskatchewan -- Time to say champs are for real. Riders by 10.

Record (last week; overall): 2-2; 5-11.


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