Fights fuel victories

IAN BUSBY -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 12:10 PM ET

Football players often talk about going to war with their teammates but CFL teams have gone overboard this season.

Four different teams have had high-profile skirmishes this season -- with themselves.

The latest dustup occured when Saskatchewan's centre Jeremy O'Day and nose tackle Scott Schultz in practice. The two have lined up on opposite sides of the line for the past five years and get under each other's skin occasionally. Frustrations erupted with some pushing and shoving.

During a game last week, Winnipeg linebackers Ryland Wickman and Lamar McGriggs were seen screaming at each other on the sidelines. The two managed to patch things up and shut down Kerry Joseph and the Renegades in a victory.

Of course, everyone remembers Argos receiver Robert (Haymaker) Baker knocking kicker Noel Prefontaine's hat flying on the Canada Day opener in Calgary. Going back to training camp, a long feud between Edmonton receiver Ed Hervey and defensive back Davis Sanchez escalated into a huge scrap. The two had a much-publicized helmet swinging incident in the 2003 Labour Day game in Calgary.

One constant about all the dustups is everyone talks about family afterwards and that fights happen in families, which is exactly the way McGriggs put it.

"This is my brother, man," McGriggs told a Winnipeg newspaper about Wickman. "We always have one (argument) a year. I don't know when it's going to come but we always have one of those. Once we get it out of our system, we're like brothers, man."

And each of these incidents has spurred the team on to victories -- Toronto beat Calgary, Winnipeg beat Ottawa and Edmonton started 2-0. The Roughriders were on a bye so we'll see if the trend continues this week when Saskatchewan hosts the undefeated B.C. Lions.

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OPENING DRIVE: Thumbs are way down to CBC's Silent Bowl between the Argonauts and the Eskimos. The network's lockout is getting poor reviews across the country and not just for the lack of announcers during the game. The sound from ground level, which was supposed to be heightened from game action, mostly picked up foul language, while replays were terrible ... Just when things started to turn around for the Blue Bombers, defensive co-ordinator Rod Rust was forced to leave the team due to personal reasons. Rust has been credited with much of the positive news out of Winnipeg before the offence started turning it around. Head coach Jim Daley and his defensive assistants -- John Kropke, Dave Easley and Urban Bowman, who came out of retirement to help -- will assume Rust's duties but the Bombers won't be able to replace his leadership, according to DL Tom Canada. "He'll make you smile and he'll make you play," Canada told the Winnipeg Sun. "He's the type of coach you want to play hard for. It's going to be tough to see him go" ... Stamps LB Marc Mitchell was excited to go home to Queen's University this weekend, mostly because of the welcome he was getting from his former coaches. It just happened to be Mitchell's 24th birthday when the team arrived from Montreal, so the sophomore received the traditional goal-post taping from his teammates ... It took a while to finally analyse it but Lions SB Jason Clermont sure put a teeth-rattling hit on Stamps DB Jermaine Chatman a week ago. Chatman had to get his jaw wired up after Clermont knocked an interception loose. Then the dentist had to go in and give the first-year DB two root canals.

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ENDZONE TOSS: Argos LB Kevin Eiben has his sights set on the CFL defensive tackles in a season record and he just might have a chance. The Canadian has 56 in eight games for an average of seven. The record, held by former Toronto LB Calvin Tiggle, is only 130 and Eiben is on pace for 126 with 10 games left ... Good news in 'Rider Nation: Saskatchewan didn't lose this weekend. Actually, strike up a victory in Regina. City council extended the lease on Taylor Field until 2010, which is probably when fans believe this losing streak will end ... Even after scoring 40 against Montreal, Calgary only has 71 points in three games with East Division teams this season. The Stamps still haven't won back-to-back games since July 11, 2003, so odds are against them this week in Toronto ... It's tradition for running backs to take out the offensive lineman for supper after a big game but CFL salaries are a bit restricting. Montreal's Robert Edwards took his hogs to the trough and bill came back at $400. That made Winnipeg's Charles Robert shudder. "I've taken them out for dinner before and they were ordering big meals and then getting stuff to go," Roberts said.

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EXTRA POINTS: Edmonton QB Ricky Ray lost to the Toronto Argonauts for the first time in his career this weekend ... One could call Winnipeg SB Milt Stegall the best receiver ever because he passed Allen Pitts for all-time TD receptions last week. Stegall would still call himself second. "I saw Allen Pitts play for a long time and some of the things he did were with three or four guys on him ... He's the greatest," Stegall said. "I'm gonna say I'm second. I'm better than Darren Flutie. Forget him." Take that, Andre Rison ... The Eskimos had former NFL great Randall Cunningham on the sidelines Saturday against Toronto. The team could have used Cunningham's running ability, or the notion to run the ball. Starting tailback Elvis Joseph has only 10 carries for 22 yards along the ground the past two games ... Chris Brazzell finally showed the stuff that made him a high-priority free agent for Hamilton, although he did it with Winnipeg. The recently traded Brazzell caught four passes for 135 yards and two touchdowns in a win over Ottawa ... The Renegades always save their best for last. The team has outscored opponents 82-48 in fourth quarters this season, despite being outscored 18-7 by Winnipeg last week.

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NUMBER 3

The amount of interceptions the B.C. Lions have thrown as a team after eight games. Dave Dickenson has tossed up all those picks but still has the lowest percentage of passes intercepted at 1.7%.

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ON THE FIELD

WEEK 10 (BYE: OTTAWA)

TOMORROW

Calgary at Toronto, 5:30 p.m. (TSN)

FRIDAY

Winnipeg at Hamilton, 5 p.m. (TSN)

Montreal at Edmonton, 8 p.m. (TSN)

SATURDAY

B.C. at Saskatchewan, 5 p.m. (CBC)

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WHAT DID YOU SAY?

"We all saw what Latrell Sprewell did. It's hard not to Latrell Sprewell somebody ... I feel like choking somebody right now and I'm not even mad. You have to develop a thick skin, because there is no respect when it comes to the game of football.

-- Argos RB John Avery about people who taunt him.


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