July 11, 2012
Stampeders get serious in Just for Laughs city
By WES GILBERTSON, QMI Agency
MONTREAL - Eight nights.
And ... one win? That's the plan.
“The last thing we want to do is go home with two losses. If we could go 1-1, that'd be good,” said Calgary Stampeders offensive tackle Na'Shan Goddard. “Any time you play on the road, it's tough, not to mention we're driving all around. If we could go back home with a win, that's good for our morale.”
Win, lose or tie, the Stamps' marathon roadie will end with Thursday's matchup against the Montreal Alouettes.
By the time the whistle signals the opening kickoff at Percival Molson Stadium (5:30 p.m., TSN, QR77), they will have been away from home for a full week.
The trip started in Toronto, site of Saturday's heartbreaking 39-36 loss to the Argonauts, and also included a three-day in-between stint in Kingston, Ont.
Montreal is in the midst of the world-famous Just For Laughs comedy festival, but it was a serious group of Stamps that stepped off the bus Wednesday in La Belle Province and will try to take a 2-1 regular-season record back to Cowtown on Friday's early flight.
“It's important, but it's not more important than any other game,” said Stamps return ace Larry Taylor, the CFL's reigning special teams player of the week. “But being on the road on a long trip and coming off a tough loss, you want to get that win. You want to get back in the win column, win a ball game, get that winning feeling back to get the bitter taste out of your mouth.”
The Stamps arrived in Montreal without starting quarterback Drew Tate and hard-hitting coverage linebacker Demetrice Morley, who both returned to Calgary with shoulder injuries.
Kevin Glenn is now the go-to guy behind a new starting centre in Jon Gott, while rookie Chris Randle will man Morley's usual spot. Montreal-raised slotback Jabari Arthur and import defensive back Jamar Wall will see their first action of the season in Thursday's tilt, while Goddard and import defensive end Kenny Pettway will return to the lineup after being scratched in Toronto.
That's a lot of changes in a short week, but fifth-year defensive back Keon Raymond has a hunch his teammates will respond the right way.
“This trip can be distracting just because we've been so long on this road, and I think it was a wakeup call last week after the game,” Raymond said. “I think guys are refocused and they want to get back to what we were doing and focus in on let's make the good out of what we can. Let's go home with a winning record.
“Hopefully, we can go finish up well and go back to Calgary at the end of Stampede happy.”
On Twitter: @SUNGilbertson