Bottled up frustration

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:24 AM ET

Random thoughts and observations as the Edmonton Eskimos get set to battle the Hamilton Tiger-Cats tomorrow at Commonwealth Stadium ...

- Starting Edmonton middle linebacker Agustin Barrenechea teed-off on the water bottles during practice this week.

It was a rare sign of frustration at Eskimos practice, as he snapped during an individual one-on-one tackling drill on Wednesday.

But that split-second moment of Barrenechea kicking the water bottles on the field proved the leader of this defence is ready for tomorrow's game. (5 p.m., CHED, TSN)

In fact, Barrenechea is calling this game a must-win, even though Edmonton is 6-4 in the West Division.

"This is a huge game for us. This is a must-win for us," said Barrenechea.

"We are taking Hamilton very seriously.

"Record aside, they are a very good football club."

At 2-8 in the East Division, the Ticats might be the worst team in the league.

But after losing to Calgary last week, the Esks seem to have bought into what head coach Danny Maciocia is selling - which is this is an important game.

"You are never going to take anybody lightly in this league. We have been the bottom feeders the last couple of years. So, we have just got be prepared," said quarterback Ricky Ray.

The Esks enter this weekend's action tied for second place in the West Division, four points out of first.

- Jesse Lumsden will play tomorrow, according to Hamilton reports.

And news came out this week that Lumsden will not sign a contract extension with the Tabbies during this season.

That just opens up the door for more speculation on where Lumsden might play next year.

Eligible for free agency this coming winter, Lumsden's name has been tied to speculation of coming to Edmonton next year.

But here is the rub for every team in the league: can Lumsden stay healthy for an entire year?

He spent eight weeks on the injured list last year and has been battling an ankle injury this month.

One CFL source believes it could take $150,000 a year for Lumsden to stay in Hamilton next season.

- Besides a head-coaching change in Hamilton this week, there are several roster moves coming for tomorrow's game.

The Tabbies will have Charles Thomas back at left tackle, Cornelius Anthony at middle linebacker (replacing Zeke Moreno) and Rontarius Robinson starting his first game of the year at safety. Ryan Glasper can't play at safety because of a shoulder injury.

- How fitting is it that Marcel Bellefeuille's first game as head coach in the CFL comes in Edmonton tomorrow, where he was in the running for a coaching job a few years ago.

Where would Bellefeuille's career be now if he had been hired by the Esks instead of bouncing around the East Division for two years and now leading Hamilton?

- The online auction for the eight green Eskimo helmets brought in an estimated $10,000 this week. Club management will release an official figure today. The auction even brought two bids from Europe.


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