Ticats loose ahead of East final

Hamilton Tiger-Cats quarterback Kevin Glenn throws during the first half of their game against...

Hamilton Tiger-Cats quarterback Kevin Glenn throws during the first half of their game against Montreal Alouettes in Montreal on November 13, 2011. (REUTERS/Christinne Muschi)

FRANK ZICARELLI, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:41 PM ET

WINNIPEG - Whatever happens on the field Sunday afternoon, it can’t possibly match the entertainment value created by the Ticats on the eve of kickoff.

Avon Cobourne, who often turns to social media to provide fodder, set off a chain of events that was both amusing and amateurish, certainly not the backdrop anyone would associate with an East final and a place in the Grey Cup at stake.

What it did, though, was provide a glimpse into how carefree and relaxed these Ticats are heading into such a big game.

If they can transfer Saturday’s attitude into Sunday, another upset is possible, another barrier cleared when not many were giving Hamilton any chance.

Football wise, Sunday’s meeting against the Blue Bombers is as close as it can get, two teams with their shortcomings, two teams that will have to protect the football and establish a run game.

But for a few hours Saturday, football took a back seat when the whole Terence-Jeffers Harris issue was once again raised by the media, which seems to run with anything to stir a pot.

Timing being everything, it is strange that the Blue Bombers would release a receiver, while explosive, who carries baggage two days before such a huge game.

The Ticats insist the move to sign Harris was in the interest of a club-mandated mantra known as a best-business practice.

It’s their business, of course, to follow whatever policy they want, even though there are those in the CFL who believe Harris will pursue the NFL this coming off-season.

“There’s always noise this time of the year,’’ head coach Marcel Bellefeuille said.

When asked point blank if the ex-Bomber had provided any information to Hamilton, Bellefeuille didn’t hesitate.

“He didn’t provide us with anything.”

Then the fun, in a perverted way, began.

A reporter got wind of a Cobourne tweet that stated Harris had provided the Ticats with Winnipeg’s playbook.

And back and forth would begin a completely nonsensical exchange based on tweets made by Cobourne.

“There’s he said and she said and then there’s tweet said and tweet said,” said Bellefeuille.

When it was his turn to take to the podium, Cobourne was first asked to describe the meaning of his hash tag, “slapdickery.”

“I invented the word and I’m in the process of getting it in the dictionary,’’ he said. “It’s an adjective. It describes many people I don’t agree with.”

Adding to the surreal nature of the day came Stevie Baggs’ explanation on why he was juggling two golf balls.

“Concentration,’’ began the defensive end who will play on Sunday after being a scratch for last week’s semifinal win in Montreal. “By going back and forth with the balls it works the opposite side of the brain.”

If anyone can figure that out then perhaps they might know what will happen on Sunday, a day that promises to be as unpredictable as the wind.

There’s experience and momentum on Hamilton’s side, rest and home field on the side of the Blue Bombers.

Games of this magnitude when no team has a definitive advantage often come down to turnovers, an area Winnipeg dominated in sweeping its three-game season series against Hamilton.

Earlier in the week, someone placed a note under Bellefeuille’s office door quoting Henry Kissinger, words that would hit home.

“With every success brings upon new challenges and issues,’’ Bellefeuille said. “One week we’re playing indoors with a new challenge.

“(Sunday) is a different type of game.”

Thankfully there is a game to be played.

For the past two days, it’s been a game of alleged espionage and gamesmanship.

Some went completely overboard in trying to read too much into it, while others refused to put it to bed.

At the end of his team’s meeting on Saturday, Bombers head coach Paul LaPolice told his players to relax and embrace the moment on game day.

“Trust each other, trust your coaches and trust your athletic ability,’’ he said. “There’s a reason why you’re here. Relax and half fun.”

The Ticats are certainly relaxed.

They had some fun on Saturday, but now the serious business begins.

It can’t arrive soon enough.


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