Stamps needed adversity

Calgary Stampeders' Nik Lewis tries to get away from Saskatchewan Roughriders' Sean Lucas. ...

Calgary Stampeders' Nik Lewis tries to get away from Saskatchewan Roughriders' Sean Lucas. (REUTERS/David Stobbe)

IAN BUSBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 6:21 PM ET

On one play, the Calgary Stampeders lost an overtime thriller and possibly a starting receiver at the same time.

However, thatís not necessarily a bad thing in the bigger picture.

Of course, now that it was revealed Nik Lewisí knee injury isnít going to end his season, the fact the Stamps have finally hit some adversity should help this team down the road.

Had the Stamps went into Regina, whipped the Saskatchewan Roughriders and essentially ended all contest for first place in the West Division, there would seven more weeks of West final preparation.

Thatís too long, and cruising to first place burned the Stamps back when they were the class of the CFL in the early 1990s.

In 1993, Wally Buono led the Stamps to a 14-1 mark into late October and there was no way to keep pushing the team. They beat the B.C. Lions in the first round of the playoffs, but lost the West final to the Edmonton Eskimos at home.

The same thing happened again in 1994, with the Lions beating them in the West final.

The following season, the Stamps hit the 15-3 mark for the third straight year and were defeated handily in the Grey Cup by the Baltimore Stallions (remember when the CFL had a U.S. division).

As it stands, there is much more intrigue awaiting the Stamps the rest of the season.

There is a question as to how long Lewis will be out, and just who will take his spot in the starting lineup.

As long as this doesnít start a rash of injuries, the Stamps can use this as a learning experience.

They will make more news Tuesday when free-agent running back Jesse Lumsden officially joins the practice roster.

Although a win over the B.C. Lions Saturday at McMahon Stadium would clinch a home playoff date (losses by Winnipeg and Edmonton this weekend clinched a playoff berth for Calgary), the Stamps have some things to prove over the next month.

There is a home-and-home with the Montreal Alouettes after they play the Lions, and it sets up as another possible Grey Cup preview.

In 2008, the Stamps built confidence midway through the season by beating the Alouettes at home in Week 12.

But last season, the Als did a number on the Stamps during their Thanksgiving meeting at Molson Stadium.

The two outings against the East Division leaders lead right into another showdown in Regina Oct. 17 ó one so highly anticipated that it officially sold out Monday.

The winner of that game will hold the season series tiebreaker and if the Riders are indeed buoyed by Fridayís win over the Stamps, it could be crucial at the end.

With one of the B.C. Lions, Winnipeg Blue Bombers or Edmonton Eskimos as the West semifinal opponent, itís hard not to imagine a West final battle between Saskatchewan and Calgary.

Consider this: Over the past four seasons, the Stamps have lost three times to the Riders in the playoffs.

The only time they didnít face them was in 2008, and they won the Grey Cup that year.

Gang Green poses a hurdle for the Stamps, one that will be interesting to see them overcome.

ian.busby@sunmedia.ca


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