Bombers start making mark

KIRK PENTON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 11:40 AM ET

HAMILTON -- The Hamilton Tiger-Cats are hoping to go retro tonight.

You know, like back in the old days when they used to win more than one game in a row.

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers, meanwhile, will shoot for their first-two-game winning streak in the Mike Kelly era when the CFL's Retro Week, honouring teams from the 1960s, comes to a close with the East Division clash at Ivor Wynne Stadium (5 p.m., TSN).

It's been nearly three years since the toothless Tabbies won two games in a row; they swept a home-and-home series with the Edmonton Eskimos on Sept. 22, 2006.

The Ticats (1-1) waltzed into B.C. Place last week and upset the Lions 31-28. Now they have a chance to get that elusive two-game winning streak tonight against the Bombers (1-1), who are coming off a 42-30 thumping of the defending Grey Cup champion Calgary Stampeders.

"That stat means nothing to us," Bomber centre Obby Khan said yesterday after his team's walkthrough at Ivor Wynne. "I couldn't care less if they hadn't won a game in two years or if they had won 20 in a row.

"They are much better and improved than the last couple of years. Any time you go into B.C. Place and win, you are a good football team. Hands down."

Therefore, according to Khan, the Bombers must go out this evening and prove to not only the Tiger-Cats, but to the entire league, that they are no slouches themselves.

"This game is huge," he said, "because our biggest thing all year is that people aren't giving us any credit -- and rightfully so, because we haven't really done anything as of yet -- but we gotta start making the mark in the East Division and the CFL that we ain't no joke."

The Bombers will also be looking tonight to turn the page on the spy story that has dominated the headlines this week. Part-time Bomber scout Ron Trentini was ejected from Ticats practice on Tuesday after he was caught charting plays.

Under direct orders from Bombers president and CEO Lyle Bauer, director of football operations Ross Hodgkinson told the media prior to Kelly's press conference yesterday to not ask any questions about Tuesday's incident.

"If that does happen to occur," Hodgkinson said, "that will end this interview immediately."

A Hamilton reporter waited until the non-Spygate questions had finished before asking Kelly if Tuesday's incident would add a little spice to tonight's tilt.

"It's a non-issue," the coach said, repeating the infamous line from his clash with the Winnipeg media on Wednesday. He then added with a smile, "We're getting T-shirts made up with that on it."

While the Bombers are doing everything in their power to put the incident to bed, the Ticats say they've moved on.

"We've talked to the players, and we're focused on getting better every day," Hamilton head coach Marcel Bellefeuille said. "For us to give it any other thought would just distract us from what we're trying to do."

The Bombers will get a boost tonight from the return of Canadian defensive tackle Doug Brown, the team's most outstanding player in 2008 who has recovered from a bout with viral meningitis that caused him to miss the first two games.

"He's the best defensive lineman in the league," Kelly said.

"He certainly gives us a presence in there. Doug takes it up a notch. He's a special football player."

The Blue and Gold also left veteran defensive tackle Tyrone Williams at home in favour of rookie Dorian Smith.

"We anticipate Hamilton to throw the football," Kelly said, "and Dorian gives us a better opportunity right now to put pressure on the passer."

kirk.penton@sunmedia.ca


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