Saturday, November 17, 2012

The Divisional Finals: Toronto at Montreal (November 18)

They are ancient rivals in hockey, once upon a time rivals in baseball and familiar foes when it comes to Canadian football and Sunday at the Big O, the Argos and Alouettes will once again play out their rivalry on a football field, the winner heading off to the 100th Grey Cup.

For Toronto the stakes are perhaps a little higher, the Argos,  host to the 100th celebration would like nothing more than gain some resonance in their own hometown, a Grey Cup berth the final part of the rebuilding job that 2012 has been.

Ricky Ray, the key part of that rebuild finally it seems has hit his stride, last weeks semi final smackdown of the Edmonton Eskimos was his most complete game in Double Blue. Every play offered up just why the Argos were so determined to bring him across the country, his leadership, ability to read the play and determination to deliver were all intangibles that the Argos finally can call their own.

No further evidence need be provided as to Rays importance to the Argos than to look at what his departure seems to have done to Edmonton, a team that is once again adrift seeking its own rebuilding plans.

The Argos struggled at times in 2012, though victory over Montreal is not an uncommon thing, a three point victory on July 27th in Montreal a notice that the Argos were for real in 2012, a September 23rd loss a reminder that there was still work to be done, as was a loss on October 14th.

By that time, the Als were clearing their way to claiming the top spot in the East, the Argos mired in a spiral that nearly cost them a playoff spot and the chance to be a part of their own party.

As the season came towards its end the Argos benefitted by the self destruction of the Tiger Cats and Bombers, securing second place just before season's end, focusing on their next opponent of concern the Eskimos.

The quick work they made of Edmonton is just the kind of momentum builder a team needs, they'll take that to Montreal for Sunday, aware of course that the Als come by their top spot honestly, through hard work, good coaching and a remarkable never say die QB named Calvillo.

It's a showcase of two of the league's top pivots, both it seems in good health, ready to add yet another chapter to some CFL lore.

Game Time 1 PM ET, 10 AM Olympic Stadium TSN

Pre Game Game Preview Video Preview

National Post-- Argonauts hope to silence thundersticks in Montreal's Olympic Stadium
Toronto Star-- Friendly rivals Scott Milanovich and Marc Trestman save bluster for big game
Toronto Sun-- Argos hope to make amends for 2010 defeat
Montreal Gazette-- Als know they must stop Owens Alouettes defence looking to quiet doubters against Argos...

Team Backgrounders

Toronto Argonauts
Montreal Alouettes

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