Bitter memories

JIM BENDER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:42 AM ET

TORONTO -- This is the town where this team dashed Winnipeg's hopes to play in its own Grey Cup so abruptly last year.

The Argos defeated Winnipeg 31-27 in the CFL East semifinal at the Rogers Centre and forgive at least some of those Blue Bombers if bitter memories come back to haunt them when they return to the scene of the crime to take on the Argos here this afternoon.

"Oh, you don't have to remind me," Bomber linebacker Ike Charlton said yesterday. "I'm looking forward to this game. They bombed us out of here the last time we were here and I was pretty upset because I felt like we had that game won."

The Argos erased a 10-point deficit and scored the winning points after Michael Bishop replaced veteran Damon Allen at quarterback late in that match.

THE SKY'S THE LIMIT

"We got a two-point win (15-13 over the Argos) the first time we played them (in Winnipeg), so they need a W to keep the standings right," Charlton said. "It's an important game for them, it's an important game for us.

"We've got to win on the road. When you can win on the road, that's big. When you can win at home and on the road, the sky's the limit."

Winnipeg comes into the contest alone in top spot in the East with a 7-3-1 record while the Argos have struggled to a 4-7 mark. Although they are in third, the Edmonton Eskimos are ahead of them for a playoff spot via the crossover.

"It was a bitter taste of losing (the semifinal)," admitted Bomber defensive back Kelly Malveaux. "Now, we're here for the 2007 season and I'm very optimistic.

"They didn't have all their horses going the last time we played them. I'm sure their offence wasn't clicking as smoothly as they wanted it to.

"Nevertheless, they put up a great fight and we snuck one out. This week, with a guy like Bishop in there commanding their offence, they have a very explosive offence."

While the Bombers are determined to go two steps further this season, the Argos want to go one more after losing the East final to Montreal.

"Maybe they will be looking for payback but it is what it is," said Toronto linebacker Michael Fletcher. "If they want to talk about last year, well, only one team was happy and it was none of us. So it's a new year. I appreciate they've got new goals. The big thing is, they want to be playing in our stadium at the end of the year on the 25th of November (Grey Cup) and that's our plan, too. Our plan hasn't changed, despite our record right now."

A Winnipeg win this afternoon would give the Bombers the season series over the Argos. But the Bombers will likely have to do it without veteran slotback Milt Stegall (shoulder) and cornerback Juran Bolden (personal). Stegall's status will be a game-time decision.

"We've got issues, too, and we haven't locked up anything," said Bomber tailback Charles Roberts. "Toronto's a good team and (head coach Doug) Berry was telling us they've lost three games by a total of six points, so they could easily be in the position that we're in right now ...We are in first place right now and if we keep winning, we will continue to be in first place.

"We need to continue to win games to ensure that we are a playoff-bound team, to ensure that we can get a first-round bye. That's a lot easier road to the Grey Cup. That's our main focus, to win whether it's Toronto or anybody else."


Videos

Photos