Blow the whistle already!

DEREK VAN DIEST -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 9:41 AM ET

VANCOUVER -- The Montreal Alouettes just want to go out and play.

After five days of hype, practices, team meetings and media scrums, the Alouettes are anxious to get on the field and take on the Edmonton Eskimos in today's Grey Cup game.

There is only so much preparing that can be done.

"No question, it's been a long week," said Alouettes receiver Ben Cahoon. "At this point in the season, practices are kind of overrated. We've been practising for 22 weeks and we're not learning a lot of new tricks out here."

ALL BUSINESS

It's been all business for the Alouettes this week.

While Eskimos head coach Danny Maciocia has allowed his players to take in the sights and sounds of Grey Cup weekend, Alouettes head coach Don Matthews has kept a tighter reign on his team. The Alouettes' goal is to keep their focus strictly on the task at hand.

"Personally for myself, I haven't taken in much sightseeing," said Alouettes quarterback Anthony Calvillo. "Our schedule this week has been pretty tight. I've been falling asleep around 9 p.m., just because of the time difference and so forth. I've learned in my years of being here that I try to keep all my focus on the football game. I go out to dinner with my family here and there, but they know I'm here to win a championship.

"They are going out and enjoying all the festivities, and I'm here to try and win a football game."

The same can be said for the rest of the Alouettes.

The Grey Cup may be the biggest party of year for CFL fans. But it's the biggest party the Alouettes have never seen.

"It's been all business with me," said Ezra Landry. "I do have some family that have come up for the game, but the times I'm not at meetings and busy with the team, I've been off my feet."

Matthews has been to a few of these games in the past. With five Grey Cup rings as a head coach and five others as an assistant, the Alouettes boss knows how to keep his team focused. He does not worry about all the distractions surrounding the game and he makes sure his team doesn't worry about it.

"This game takes care of itself," said Matthews. "When you get to this point, the players want to succeed, they want to be successful. I found that teams that get to the Grey Cup, there really isn't any problems in that area - and it's the same for both teams - they want to succeed."

Having reached the Grey Cup, both teams have already achieved a measure of success.

HARD PART IS OVER

According to Matthews, the hard part is over. He believes there is more pressure getting to the Grey Cup than playing in it.

"When you've arrived at the championship game, both teams will do everything in their power - there's nothing that they won't do on either side of the ball - to try and win the football game," he said. "Probably the most pressure game, in my opinion, is the game getting to the Grey Cup. There is nothing, in my mind, that rivals losing a final.

"When you haven't achieved your goal to getting to the Grey Cup and you have been eliminated early, regardless of the situation, that's a very, very tough kick in the gut for me. Getting to the Grey Cup, now we'll just let it happen."


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