Deja Blue

DAN TOTH -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 8:36 AM ET

WINNIPEG -- The Blue and Gold locker-room features more than just a splash of red this season.

Ten former Stampeders refugees have migrated east to Winnipeg in recent years, including five starters from last season's 4-14 Calgary club.

Now the 0-2 Bombers, led by one-time Calgary coach Jim Daley and replete with its legion of 'Cowtown Castaways,' (as some Winnipeg fans see them), are looking for silver linings on a dark and foreboding horizon.

Fullback Scott Regimbald, part of last autumn's trade that also sent defensive tackle Joe Fleming and safety Wes Lysack to Winnipeg, sees plenty of optimism in Bomberville despite the slow start.

"It's not hard to stay positive," Regimbald said.

"I've played on a lot of football teams. A lot of bad football teams and a lot of good football teams and when you have an 18-game schedule, you can't fold the tent after two games, especially when you look at the players we have. You look at our backfield, our receivers, our quarterbacks, we have reason for optimism."

All three former Stamps will start tonight along with defensive backs William Fields, released by the Stamps, and Omar Evans, traded in the off-season.

Former Stamps receivers Kamau Peterson and Wane McGarity hope to make some plays along with defensive tackles Antwone Young and Jon Oosterhuis. Linebacker Willie Fells is on the practice roster while all are now collecting their mail in the 'Peg and looking to develop some chemistry this season.

"It's an issue on every team," Regimbald explained. "You've got to find the combination of guys who are comfortable with each other and feed off each other and are successful and have the fire and passion to win football games.

"This many guys from one team instead of from different teams makes it easier to gel because there's a bond between the guys who are here from Calgary. Because Joe and I played with the rest of those new guys last year in Calgary, they're immediately accepted into the locker-room because of the connection they have with us."

Fleming is coming off two superb seasons in Calgary, where he also earned CFL outstanding defensive lineman honours in 2003. He claims everyone in the Bombers lineup believes the team will succeed despite the winless start and multiple lineup changes this week.

"You do your job and trust the people in charge are doing theirs, and they are," Fleming said.

"We just need to execute better. Changes or no changes, we need to execute plays the way they're drawn up. It's just two games into the year, not Week 15. We knew there'd be some rocky roads with this team and a little bit of turbulence but that's part of playing the game, you have to adjust and I think we're doing that. We're going to get better, we just need wins as we're doing it.

"If you ask someone why a team is losing and they can't point it out, ask why they're winning and they'll spew a bunch of cliches abut the best group of guys they've ever played with and how they love each other and this and that. The bottom line is it's one-on-one battles, execution and who wants to win more. It always has been about that."

Fields, who served up a little playful trash-talking in the locker-room yesterday, said it's especially important for one-time Stamps to forget about the past and concentrate on tonight's two points.

"I like to joke around about it but there's nothing extra special about this one except it's the next game," Fields said. "It's a huge game for us and we need a win right now. You can't get too far in the hole because it starts lingering around after a while. It's only been two games so I don't see that as a reason for anyone to hang their heads and not be positive."

Daley, who spent four seasons in Calgary, expects plenty from his revamped lineup each week but knows only continuity will turn his team into a consistent winner.

"We would like our players to force us to play this roster the rest of the season," Daley said of tonight's lineup. "That would be the ideal situation, to force you to play them by playing really well.

"I would love to come to work and say 'No changes' and focus on preparing for the opponent as opposed to teaching the game."


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