Having a (snow)ball

Mike Maurer throws a snowball after Eskimo practice on Tuesday. (Sun Media/Perry Mah)

Mike Maurer throws a snowball after Eskimo practice on Tuesday. (Sun Media/Perry Mah)

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:59 AM ET

Bradley Robinson is proof the Edmonton Eskimos are a loose bunch heading into the East Division final.

With the playoff tilt fast approaching on Saturday in Montreal, the Green and Gold are at their most relaxed state of the post-season after yesterday's antics at practice.

A blanket of snow early yesterday morning was pushed to the side of the field at Clarke Stadium, but left players with plenty of ammunition for jokes and pranks during two hours of drills.

There were snowballs being hurled, Taylor Inglis had to dig snow out of his helmet and somebody's sweatshirt on the sidelines was filled with snow.

But the best moments came at the end of practice.

Robinson - a rookie - pelted veteran receiver Andrew Nowacki with a snowball in the back of the neck.

That brought retaliation from several members of the receiving group.

"They got me good," said Robinson, a defensive back from South Carolina.

"They slammed me in the snow and started putting snow in my pants.

"It was Andrew Nowacki, Greg Prator, Mo (Maurice) Mann and Fred Stamps (who were the culprits)."

In a four-against-one snow fight, Robinson didn't stand a chance.

"They just started kicking it in my face. I lost track (of how much snow was coming)," continued Robinson.

"I was turning everywhere."

Defensive end Montez Murphy also nailed offensive lineman Aaron Fiacconi with a massive block of snow down the back and neck.

But veteran receiver Kamau Peterson believes the team is still putting in the time to be ready for a stiff test against the favoured Montreal Alouettes this weekend, with the winner of the East final going to the Grey Cup on Nov. 23.

"When it has been time to work we have worked," said Peterson.

"It is not like we are fooling around the whole time.

"Guys are hungry and want to play, but at the same time we are loose and understand it is still a game.

"You don't want there to be too much pressure buildup.

"These are obviously big games, but you don't want guys too tight that they can't function."

Quick hit ...

On a more serious tone, Edmonton head coach Danny Maciocia believes Stamps could be the X-factor in Saturday's contest.

"If there is an X-factor going into this game - people know what Kelly Campbell can do, what Mo (Maurice) Mann, KP (Kamau Peterson) and Andrew Nowacki (can do) - but I think Fred Stamps is as close as possible to 100% right now," said Maciocia on his entire receiving group.

"And there is a sense of excitement of having him on this football team, knowing what he can do on a fast track."

Stamps played his first game in a month last weekend in Winnipeg, catching one pass for 20 yards after missing four games with a leg injury.

On pace for almost 1,000-yards in the regular-season before being injured, Stamps finished with 751 yards in 14 games.

The more interesting stat is that the second-year receiver had six receiving touchdowns this year, second-highest on the club.

Finish lines ...

For the first time ever, the Eskimos will have premium ticket pricing for some games at Commonwealth Stadium next year.

The club will charge more for walk-up tickets for any regular-season game involving Saskatchewan and for the Labour Day rematch against Calgary.

Saskatchewan and Calgary are the most popular visiting teams in this market.

"The benefit for the season-seat holder is one price for every game," said Eskimos marketing director Dave Jamieson, making it clear this increase doesn't impact season-ticket subscribers.

The Calgary Stampeders have already introduced premium ticket pricing.

"This is not unique in sports," continued Jamieson. "There is solid rationale - there are increased costs."

Not surprisingly, fans are already unhappy with the increase, though the club didn't release the percentage hike in ticket costs yesterday.


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