The Three Amigos of Anthony Calvillo, Ben Cahoon, and Damon Duval that have led the Montréal Alouettes to Grey Cup wins in 2009 and 2010 and a Grey Cup loss in 2008 will not be together as the CFL season gets underway.
Oh, Calvillo is still the Alouettes QB, though Calvillo spent the off-season recovering from thyroidectomy surgery to remove a cancerous lesion. Cahoon retired from the CFL, and Duval signed a free agent contract with the Edmonton Eskimos.
(The video is a highlight from Cahoon's career that doesn't involve a catch. In 2007, Duval got kicked out of a game against Toronto for fighting. So Cahoon had to kick a FG in OT to win the game for the Alouettes. Thanks, Ben, for a great career.)
Still, the CFL is chasing Montréal, well, certainly the East is looking up to the Alouettes. The last non-Alouettes East representative in the Grey Cup was Winnipeg in 2007.
Calvillo has an outside shot at breaking the all-time yards mark for quarterbacks; he goes into the season with 68,161 career passing yards. Calvillo trails Damon Allen (72,381) by 4,221 yards. Assuming Calvillo stays healthy and productive, he should pass by Brett Favre (71,838) and Warren Moon (70,553).
For those new to the sport, the Eastern teams are Toronto (Argonauts) and Hamilton (Tiger-Cats) and the aforementioned Winnipeg (Blue Bombers) and Montréal (Alouettes). The West has two-time division champ Saskatchewan (Roughriders), Calgary (Stampeders), Edmonton (Eskimos), and BC (Lions-Vancouver).
The league will return to Moncton, New Brunswick for a regular season game, September 25 as Hamilton will take on Calgary. While the population of Canada is tilted eastward, the success of the CFL lies in the west. Ottawa is supposed to come back to the CFL in 2013. Quebec City and Halifax have been considered, but still aren't ready. Winnipeg has been in the West in the past, but has no choice but to be in the East these days.
And there is the crossover rule, where teams of one division can qualify in the playoffs of the other division.
You might recognize McMahon Stadium in Calgary from the Heritage Classic between Les Habs and the Calgary Flames in February. Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton hosted the original NHL Heritage Classic. And Rogers Centre in Toronto is also the home of the MLB Toronto Blue Jays and for one regular season NFL game for the Buffalo Bills.
TSN will carry every single game in Canada. We have mentioned the NFL Network's coverage, and we should know more depending on what happens with a potential NFL strike. If the NFL Network isn't carrying a game you want, you can catch the action on ESPN3.com (depending on your Internet service provider) and highlights from CFL.ca/video/index.
Playoffs start November 13. The 99th Grey Cup will be on November 27 from the newly refurbished BC Place in Vancouver