MONTREAL -- If Dave Mudge is bitter about his trade to the Montreal Alouettes, he's doing a fine job of hiding it.
The affable offensive lineman, whom the Winnipeg Blue Bombers shipped east for Aaron Fiacconi in July, will make his second start for the Als today against his former team.
"I'm having a good time here," Mudge said yesterday under a beautiful, blue sky. "The guys are a great bunch of guys."
The Bombers felt Mudge, the CFL's top O-lineman in 2001, was struggling before they dealt him, but the 6-foot-7, 305-pound right tackle doesn't see it that way.
"Early in the year we were playing some of the best defensive ends, and you're not going to play perfectly against them," Mudge said. "They made their decision.
"From what you hear, it's more of a decision that they wanted Matt (Sheridan) to play guard and that they needed a centre.
"I liked Winnipeg. I liked playing there. So it was difficult."
Mudge was planning to have dinner last night with some of his former teammates. He was asked if he was going to point out the city's hot spots to them.
"Trust me, they already know that," he said with a laugh.
AUDITION TIME: Bombers LB Ron Ockimey isn't just replacing Lamar McGriggs (ankle) today.
He figures he's also trying out for the 2006 edition of the Bombers.
"I gotta finish strong," Ockimey said.
"I've definitely been thinking about that.
"This is my opportunity ... to have a little momentum rolling into next year."
Ockimey will be plenty busy today. Not only is he starting at outside linebacker, but he will also be on every special team.
DIAMOND IN THE ROUGH: Bombers RB Charles Roberts is the only tailback who has rushed for more than 100 yards against the Alouettes this season.
In fact, his 195 yards in Winnipeg's 51-46 win on July 22 were a career high.
Montreal's victimized middle linebacker that night, Kevin Johnson, draws back in the lineup today for Jeremiah Garrison (quadriceps).
In addition, DB Darrel Crutchfield is in for DB James Whitley (thumb), OL Paul Archer replaces OL Luke Fritz (hamstring), and DE Felipe Claybrooks takes over for Mawuko Tugbenyoh (wrist).
Winnipeg's three changes are DT Doug Brown for LB Scott Mennie, SB Darnell McDonald for McGriggs (ankle) and DB Boyd Barrett for Gilles Colon (quadriceps).
LATE HITS: Bombers QB Kevin Glenn said his team needs to "come out fast" today, which is something it doesn't do very often. Winnipeg has been outscored 117-47 in the first quarter this season ... The media presence around the Als and Bombers was relatively small yesterday. That's what happens when the Canadiens battle the Maple Leafs in NHL exhibition action, which was the case last night at the Bell Centre.