Controversy trumps history

JIM BENDER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:09 AM ET

Gee, we are only two games into the 2007 CFL season and already, we have encountered a kicking controversy right here in River City.

Actually, it started going into training camp when Winnipeg head coach Doug Berry decided that he no longer wanted Troy Westwood to handle both the punting and placekicking duties. But both Chris Beckman, an import, and Pat Fleming, a Canadian, were found wanting and sent packing.

But the latest punter, Rob Pikula, may also unseat Westwood as the team's placekicker -- permanently. After one poor performance in the season opener that may or may not have cost the club the game a victory in a 39-39 tie with Edmonton, Westwood's future is in doubt. Westwood was only 1-for-4 against the Eskimos, although the last miss would have been called back due to a holding penalty.

Should Pikula perform up to expectations when the Blue Bombers face the Montreal Alouettes at Canad Inns Stadium tonight, it will likely spell the climax to the club's all-time leading scorer. If so, what a sad and classless way to end an illustrious career.

Westwood holds more club records than any other Bomber in history and is fourth on the CFL's all-time scoring list. And the native Manitoban has been synonymous with the Bombers since the 1990s.

What makes this even sadder is that the whole controversy has overshadowed what could become a celebration of arguably the most significant record to be set in CFL history. Veteran Bomber slotback Milt Stegall is on the verge of becoming the CFL's all-time leading touchdown maker. He needs just one more major to turn the trick and record No. 138 -- and counting -- on his resume.

But the bottom line is that Westwood is 40 and the Bombers need a kicker of the future.

They also need wins, starting tonight. And if the defence does not improve dramatically, you can expect even more changes.


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