Chad Owens loves playing the Montreal Alouettes.
At home, on the road, no matter. The Flyin' Hawaiian jet sets against his former team on a fairly regular basis.
Since being acquired by the Argonauts from the Als just prior to the 2010 season, Owens has been racking up yards at the expense of CFL teams without prejudice. However, it seems he saves just a tad more for his former team and the track at Percival Molson Stadium in Montreal has been almost as gracious to him as the friendly confines of home field at the Rogers Centre.
As Owens and the Argos prepare for what you would safely understate as a fairly sizeable game on the campus of McGill this Sunday, the third year slotback/returner only knows he likes playing in Montreal. Can't tell you exactly why he performs well there, though. And I pushed him. Question after question about the city, the stadium, the restaurants, the train trip....
Finally, in a lighthearted way, he invoked closure on the whole exercise by blurting out:
"I can't stand here and tell you 'this is why I go there and play well.' I don't eat poutine, so I can't say that I love going there for the poutine," he said with a laugh.
|Owens' career vs. Montreal|
Seems like a waste to go to Montreal and not partake in the poutine, but that's another matter. Owens' denial that french fries covered in gravy and cheese curds are what powers him past defenders is a setback to those of us who want to believe in the magic energy of the delicacy.
In compiling the hints in his other answers, however, you can begin to paint a bit of a picture as to why Owens gets a little more jazzed to play the Als, even if he doesn't sense it, or admit to sensing it. It has to do with the opponent, it has to do with the emotions involved and it has to do with the vibe in the stands.
In 7 career regular season games against the Alouettes, Owens has compiled 1,534 combined yards and totalled 6 touchdowns. That's an average of nearly 220 yards per game. He's saved his best performances, cumulatively, for Argo audiences, with 782 of those yards and 3 of those touchdowns coming in 3 games at home.
"You get to go against Anthony Calvillo," Owens said, of a motivating force. "He's the greatest, right? You get to go against guys who understand what it takes to win championships. It's a great test. You know you've got to bring your best. It may sound odd, because you've got to bring your best every week. Just because it's Montreal, its a chance for you to go out and prove your worth and prove what you can do against a top team in the league."
Owens has played in 4 regular season games in Montreal since being acquired by the Argos in a trade that sent a 2011 4th round draft pick back to the Als. (Montreal used that pick to select defensive lineman Renaldo Sagesse, out of Michigan. Sagesse was released by Montreal during training camp in 2011)
In those 4 games, Owens has racked up 752 all-purpose yards, including a punt return touchdown in a game last October. Earlier this season, he added two receiving touchdowns and 277 combined yards in a 23 - 20 win.
"I don't know if there's anything special," said Owens, of playing well in Montreal. "Other than I played there with some of those guys. It's just a great venue. A great atmosphere to play in. I think it's just coincidence that I have decent games against them. I approach every game the same."
Every CFL stadium and every group of CFL fans are different in some ways, so Owens doesn't think direct comparisons are in order. But he knows Alouette fans and the configuration of Percival Molson stadium make for a pretty raucous and uncommon experience. The energy gets him jazzed. Anyone who's stood on the sidelines near the North stands knows that the sound from the crowd there seems to rain down from directly above you. Owens has noticed.
Don is a very familiar voice to Toronto radio listeners. His razor-sharp wit, easy on-air manner and superb interview skills made him a morning radio staple for more than 10 years, at the helm of the FAN 590′s breakfast show. Follow Don on Twitter @ArgosLandry
|2||Blue Bombers||DE||Mulumba, Andy|
|3||Alouettes via EDM||LB||Edem, Mike|