Scouting report

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:24 AM ET

WINNIPEG -- Jim Popp is giving the Edmonton Eskimos full credit for advancing to the East Division final.

The Montreal Alouettes general manager studied his upcoming opponent yesterday and delivered his review to Sun Media.

"Any time a team can go on the road (and win), you got to give them credit," said Popp last night in a telephone interview.

"Edmonton did a good job."

The Eskimos 29-21 victory against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers yesterday in the East Division semifinal playoff game in the Manitoba capital sets up a battle between two classic rivals.

The Green and Gold and the Alouettes meet in the East Final at Montreal's Olympic Stadium on Saturday (11 a.m. MT, TSN, CHED). It will mark the fourth playoff battle between the two clubs in the last seven years. Edmonton has won the last two - the 2005 and 2003 Grey Cup.

"They're a good football team," said Popp on the current Eskimos.

"Any team can beat each other (in the CFL this year)."

This next week will be full of stories from each city featuring team officials spinning which side holds certain advantages.

Popp believes Montreal holds an edge in having this past week off instead of having to play a playoff road game like the Eskimos.

"You always want to have a week off," said Popp.

"One thing we know (is) we've had a few weeks without being beat up."

Popp was referring to some key players - like quarterback Anthony Calvillo, linebacker Reggie Hunt and running back Avon Cobourne - resting for at least the last two weeks.

But Montreal lost its final two regular-season games.

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NOTABLES

Winnipeg offensive tackle Alexandre Gauthier had to play yesterday's game with his last name spelled wrong on his jersey. Somehow the name Guathier was put on his back ... Mother Nature produced a 30 km/h wind and a minus-six temperature at kickoff, leaving the announced attendance at 27,493 - 2,040 short of capacity at Winnipeg's Canad Inns Stadium.

BIG HURT

Mathieu Bertrand, EDM

Suffering an undisclosed leg injury in the middle of the third quarter, Bertrand didn't return to the game yesterday. "I couldn't run on it," said Bertrand, who believes he has a chance to play in the East final. "It is Montreal. I never want to miss that."


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