Must-win game for Blue

JIM BENDER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:03 AM ET

Gee, maybe we should call it a 'gotta-win' game because 'must-win' just seems to have too many negative undertones for them.

Think about it. Sure, it's early in the 2009 CFL campaign but the Blue Bombers have stumbled to a 1-2 start under a new regime and their offence has not exactly been brilliant under the guidelines of the new 'genius' guiding both the new quarterback and the attack.

Sure, it's a long season but the Bombers could make one giant leap for local fan-kind if they could win the first of a back-to-back series when they host the 1-2 Toronto Argonauts at Canad Inns Stadium tonight -- not to mention themselves.

Lose to the struggling Argos at home, the Bombers will fall to 1-3 and have to beat Toronto in a dome that has become 'Argo-Doom' for the Big Blue. After that, they play the reigning Grey Cup champion Stampeders in Calgary, then return home to play the mighty Montreal Alouettes. Then, it's off to B.C. to play the Lions. How does 1-7 sound?

Win tonight and the Bombers are 2-2 and within shouting distance of first place in the East, no matter what the outcome between Montreal and Hamilton was last night.

Whatever you do, don't call it a 'must-win.'

"No, no, no. Not even close to a must-win," Bomber centre Obby Khan objected almost violently. "By that logic, every game is a must-win. Whomever says this game is a must-win, I don't know what I want to say to them. What I want to say, I can't say in the paper. It's definitely not a must-win but we have to approach every game like it's very important that we have to win."

So make it a 'gotta-win' match then.

"I don't want to say this game is any more important than any other game this year," Khan said. "Being that it is back-to-back games against Toronto, back-to-back games are huge. If we can come out with a couple of wins, we'd be 3-2 instead of being ... worse off than that. It is important but every game is important. In an 18-game season, you can't take any games for granted. So, it's important to get back into the win column, for sure. It would be important to rebound off a loss."

That loss, need we remind you, was to the once-sorry Tiger-Cats who, right now, are a better team than the Bombers. And yes, you can cringe now.

The Bombers know that even an ever-so-slighly better offensive output would have ended in a more desirable result in Hamilton last week.

"From whatever adversity we have, we have to rebound from and we had a lot of adversity last week in our offence and every facet of it," Khan said. "So, we've got to get back to our basics like we did against Calgary. We've got to do it again this week and continue to build on that.

"It's still early in the season so, we can't hit panic buttons, don't say they're must-wins and there's no need to jump off a bridge just yet. Stay calm, stay focused and we'll handle our business on Friday."

The business had better include a gotta-win attitude or this season could soon get ugly before the revamped squad gets a chance to prove itself.

"For my own sleep pattern (getting better) would be great," said head coach Mike Kelly, the 'genius' behind the offence. "Last week, we didn't get better. This week, we've got to show some improvement. That's important to us."

Actually, they have to do more than that.

"There's somewhat of a statement we want to make still," Khan said. "We haven't made the statement we wanted to make this year. There's been glimpses of it but I think it's time we put our foot down and make a statement."

They've gotta win to do it.


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