Everybody ready?

PAUL FRIESEN -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:29 AM ET

It's easily the most important game of the season, one from which the Winnipeg Blue Bombers' playoff hopes hang by a thread.

The kind of game where total focus is necessary, distractions must be kept to a minimum and every player must be as well-prepared as he's been this year.

At least, that's how it should be.

The reality is the Bombers go into tomorrow night's game in Toronto about as far from that as they could get.

A typical, structured week? Only in their dreams.

For starters, they've had to peel themselves off the mat after their most devastating loss of the season.

Players admitted as much after blowing a 17-point, fourth-quarter lead to Saskatchewan last Sunday: getting over this one, mentally, was going to be tough.

Not only did the Bombers let two critical points slip from their grasp, they lost two starters on their defence -- inspirational, first-year linebacker Joe Lobendahn and respected veteran Ike Charlton, both gone at least a month with injuries.

Talk about absorbing a combination of blows.

That made Monday a much-needed day off. A day to get it all out of their systems, heal the bumps and bruises and forget about football, completely.

Just one problem: that's the day they heard Tom Canada was getting traded. Another week, another popular veteran out the door.

If their heads weren't spinning already, they sure were now: Who's next? Me? My best buddy? My position coach? The head coach?

Then came Tuesday, and it was back to work.

Little did they know they were suddenly working for the circus.

In one ring, Canada, who was still in town, the trade apparently called off because he was too ill. An enlarged spleen? Can't you die from that?

In another ring, newly-acquired linebacker Zeke Moreno, already assigned Canada's old locker, even though he spent part of the day holed up in a hotel room with a Winnipeg defensive play book while somebody decided whether he stayed or went back to Hamilton.

To complete the dog-and-pony show, word was GM Brendan Taman and Ticats counterpart Bob O'Billovich were trying to work out new terms for the deal.

Gulp. Anybody want to go to Hamilton?

Hey, guys, let's try to focus! Remember, Toronto quarterback Kerry Joseph likes to run the quarterback draw...

Things changed so quickly Tuesday, players in morning interviews were asked to react to Canada leaving, only to be asked about him coming back in the afternoon.

Don't forget we'll have to pick up the Argos' zone blitz!

Oh, and who the hell's the new guy playing in Canada's spot?

Kai who? When did we get him?

In all, there are five changes being made to the Bomber defence this week.

Focus! We can't let Joseph beat us deep the way Bishop did on Sunday!

Topping it all off, yesterday was the team's last day of practice before players packed their bags for a flight to Toronto this morning.

Remember, we have to contain Joseph! And don't forget your toothbrush!

So, to recap: the heartbreaking loss, the trade, the rumours, the cancelled trade, more rumours, the revamped trade, the personnel changes and two wild and crazy days of practice.

Everybody ready for the biggest game of the year?

Of course you are.


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