Stamps just what Blue need

Winnipeg Blue Bombers head coach Jim Daley takes a break from the action Wednesday morning at the...

Winnipeg Blue Bombers head coach Jim Daley takes a break from the action Wednesday morning at the Stadium. (Winnipeg Sun/C. Procaylo)

JIM BENDER -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 8:48 AM ET

Two rebuilding clubs clash in a CFL West contest tonight.

And both sides will be seeking a glimmer of hope in their quest to arise from the ashes of yesteryear when Winnipeg plays host to the Calgary Stampeders at Canad Inns Stadium (7:30 p.m.).

The Blue Bombers finished fourth in the West and out of even a cross-over playoff with a 7-11 record last season while Calgary was dead last at 4-14. Both squads have since revamped their rosters and know improvements will be slow in coming.

Winnipeg has stumbled to an 0-2 start while the Stamps are 0-1. The Bombers made five changes to tonight's lineup while Calgary made four.

"It's a perfect situation for us," Bomber guard Mike Abou-Mechrek said yesterday. "Taking nothing away from Calgary -- they're a great team -- but they're the type of team we need to come in and do what we can against them.

"We're 0-2 and we need a win. And, by hook or by crook, we're going to get it. Calgary's as good as anyone to beat on so, I fully expect it to be a lot more aggressive game than I've seen in the past. I'm starting to take this personally. I can't score points but I can lay a beating on someone. So, I'm going to do the best I can to do that and if all five of us (offensive linemen) do that, we'll win."

Both sides should be desperate for victory.

"They need to win this game because they could start out 0-2, just like we started out 0-2," said Winnipeg tailback Charles Roberts. "They'd better come to play because we're coming to play."

That should be good to hear for Bomber fans as the Calgary Sun has suggested that both tonight's match versus Winnipeg and next week's game against Ottawa "should be gimmes" for the Stamps.

"The media can kiss my ass -- no offence," responded Abou-Mechrek. "If the games were played in the papers, we'd be 2-0 instead of 0-2."

In fact, the Calgary Sun suggested that losing to a team that is starting inexperienced quarterback Tee Martin would be akin to three-putting a four-footer.

"I hope their demeanour is reflective of their coverage coming in here," said Bomber defensive lineman Doug Brown. "Granted, we obviously put ourselves in a tough spot with what transpired against Edmonton (27-8 loss). But, save for a couple busts on defence, it was a pretty competitive match throughout. I don't think there's any gimmes in your schedule."

Even some Stamps agree.

"It's not a gimme, man," objected Calgary defensive end Demetrius Maxie. "Winnipeg's a good team but, they've just got a lot of things they gotta fix. They're just like us."

And neither team wants to keep losing and fall further behind in the standings.

"No team's ever as good or ever as bad as it's perceived to be," said new Calgary head coach Tom Higgins. "We can't take anybody for granted. We haven't beaten anybody yet."

Nor have the Bombers, and a victory would add a new bounce to their rebuilding blocks.

"Our business depends on having success on the field so, it's very important," said Winnipeg head coach Jim Daley. "But we have to focus on our performance as a team. We cannot allow fan and media perceptions, observations and comments to affect our performance."


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