Friday, August 27, 2010

Montreal Alouettes face first test with injury to Anthony Calvillo...

This article was first published in the August 27th edition of Main Street Week and is reprinted here with permission from the editors. Drop by Main Street Week News to have a look at a great community newspaper or sign up and have Main Street Week delivered right to your inbox every Friday.

There were a few anxious moments for fans of the Montreal Alouettes last Thursday evening in the team’s 39-17 victory over the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. In a hard-hitting sport like football, sometimes it is not the impact of a hit that leads to an injury, it is how you fall. That was the case for Montreal QB and CFL all-star Anthony Calvillo; sacked by the Bombers defence, he fell awkwardly and was unable to continue in the game.

After lying on the field for several minutes after the hit, Calvillo attempted to walk to the sidelines under his own power. Unable to make it off the field without assistance, he was taken to hospital and diagnosed with a bruised sternum. The Alouettes do not play again until September 3rd and will not update his status until today (Friday), so until they make an announcement, it is unknown if he will miss any action. While the injury is serious, luckily, it was not a dislocated shoulder, broken bone, or a concussion, so it is quite possible that the defending CFL Most Outstanding Player will be on the field next week when the struggling BC Lions arrive in Montreal.

While it is never a good thing to see a player of Calvillo’s calibre out of the lineup for any amount of time, the injury could be a blessing in disguise for the Alouettes. Like it or not, someday the team (and its fans) will have to prepare for life without the 38-year-old quarterback; any game time for the backup QB’s will be beneficial for the overall health of the franchise in the future. During his time with the Alouettes, Calvillo has missed only a handful of games, which is one of the many reasons why he is considered the heart and soul of the team, but this has left current backup quarterbacks, Adrian McPherson and Chris Leak, with only a handful of appearances on the field.

In his third season with Montreal, McPherson has completed 50 of his 75 pass attempts for 507 yards in his CFL career and hit the end zone for seven touchdowns. As for Chris Leak, after a shaky start as Calvillo’s replacement, he settled in to stabilize the offence and secure the victory over Winnipeg. Leak is playing his second season with Montreal, but as McPherson’s backup, his CFL experience is very limited. In his career, he has completed 19 of 28 passes for 149 yards and one touchdown.

The Alouettes are heavily favoured to win the East Division and the Grey Cup, but with the resurgence of the Toronto Argonauts and Hamilton Tiger-Cats this season, the crystal ball gets a little hazy if Calvillo misses any significant time due to his injury. However, if the past is any indication, Calvillo will do all that he can to be in the game on September 3rd.

To wrap up this week's Main Street column, there is some good news from the world of baseball: Congratulations to former Montreal Expos outfielder and New Brunswick native Matt Stairs. At 42-years-young, Stairs set a record last weekend with his 21st career pinch-hit home run. He made his debut with the Expos in 1992 and is currently a member of the San Diego Padres. While he is no longer an “every day” player, his experience and abilities at the plate are tremendous assets for any manager. The Padres are the 12th team Stairs has played for during his career (another MLB record), and if the Padres remain in first place in the West Division, Stairs will be off to the post-season again, hoping to add another World series ring to his 2008 Championship with the Philadelphia Phillies. His prowess as a pinch-hitter led to a popular t-shirt during his time in Philadelphia, which stated, “In Case of Emergency, Use the Stairs.”

Have a great sports day everyone.