'Snow way of telling who's got East semi edge

TERRY JONES

, Last Updated: 8:55 AM ET

WINNIPEG -- Joe Smith was out on the field making a snow angel here yesterday.

While the Winnipeg Blue Bombers running back was playing in the Merry Christmas conditions, his team-mates were having snowball fights in their dressing room during media interview sessions.

When the Edmonton Eskimos arrived, it was the same scene except involving more players who had never seen snow before.

"They're behaving like children in our locker room," reported head coach Danny Maciocia.

"The ones who haven't seen snow before are all e-mailing and texting people," he said of players taking pictures of the blanket of white over the field where today they'll play the Eastern semi-final.

Defensive back Lenny Williams decided to run around in the snow with his shirt off.

"They seem to be pretty loose," said Maciocia.

"At the airport, I was throwing snowballs at the guys who had never seen snow before," said receiver Kamau Peterson. "I was pretty accurate. Only missed one throw.

"They were like 'What is that stuff?' It was fun watching them."

The scene with both teams made it virtually impossible to proceed with the task I'd assigned myself yesterday, which was to try find out which edition of each team was most likely to show up for this game.

What we're dealing with here are two clubs who ended up in this game because they were both very, very bad in addition to being very, very good during the course of the regular season.

For the Bombers, coach Doug Berry made something which came closer to a real guarantee than Milt Stegall's sad marketing ploy to guarantee victory only if Winnipeg fans filled the stadium, an event which isn't too likely.

"The Winnipeg Blue Bombers will show up, and I think it will be the team which played the last eight weeks of the season," said Berry of the bunch which went 6-2 after the Labour Day run following a 2-8 start.

Bombers defensive lineman Doug Brown talked about this game being the "defining moment" of the season for his team.

"Are we the team that we were when we were 2-8 and should have just written off the season? Or are we going to try and make something out of our resurgence in the second half of the season?" said Brown.

"That's what (today) is all about for us. If we lose, then we just regress to the team that everybody kinda thought we were for the most part of the season.

"But if we win, it shows that we weren't just a flash in the pan, we just didn't care more than anyone else in the second half of the season."

While the bad Bombers and good Bombers seemed to separate from each other at the halfway mark of the season for the most-part, the bad Eskimos and good Eskimos kept swapping game-to-game all year, with terrific games in Calgary and B.C. and spectacularly awful accountings of themselves in Montreal and Saskatchewan.

"We've pretty well prepared the same way every single week," said Maciocia.

"This week isn't like all the other weeks. You can't go back and fix it and come back with another opportunity to get it right.

"The next opportunity, if you are fortunate, won't be until next year."

Quarterback Ricky Ray says nobody really knows until they play the game.

"If we play our game, we're as good as anyone in the league. But you never know."

If both the good Eskimos and the good Blue Bombers both show up today, this could be a great East Division playoff game.

As a rule, they usually can't compare to the West classics.


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