MONTREAL -- Big Doug Brown stepped off the team bus, made the short jaunt through the rain to the lobby of the team hotel and got up on his soap box.
Turns out Big Bird was none too pleased about comments made by former Bomber and current Montreal Alouettes cornerback Stanford Samuels, who told The Gazette the other day that the Winnipeg players were cocky and arrogant during their 41-24 win over the Als last Saturday.
"Last week, they took us to the woodshed," said Samuels, who didn't play in Winnipeg. "You saw their arrogance and cockiness ... their lack of respect."
Brown was dumbfounded by those comments and wanted examples of the Blue and Gold's arrogance and cockiness.
"I don't know what you can take from television," Brown said. "Guys are happy when they win and celebrate, but I didn't know we gave them the crotch shot or anything like that.
"I didn't know we did anything along those lines that would set the delicate sensibilities of Stanford Samuels off."
Brown suggested Samuels is simply trying to get himself excited to play his former team. Then it was thrown out to Brown that his displeasure with Samuels is his way of getting fired up for today's rematch with the Als at Percival Molson Stadium (noon, TSN), which has some importance -- but not as much as next week's finale against Hamilton that will determine second place in the East Division.
"It's very meaningful because no one has won in Montreal," Brown said. "That all by itself gives the game meaning, when you aspire to do something that no one else has accomplished."
The Bombers (7-9) can benefit big time from a victory today and perhaps even all but clinch a playoff spot. Since Edmonton improved to 8-9 on Friday, Winnipeg needs to keep pace in an effort to prevent the crossover from taking place.
If the B.C. Lions lost to Calgary last night and the Bombers win today, Winnipeg would secure a playoff spot - as long as Edmonton and B.C. don't tie next week.
Hamilton's win over Saskatchewan yesterday, which improved its record to 8-9, doesn't change the fact that the winner of next Sunday's clash at Canad Inns Stadium will finish second.
And that means the Bombers have had to face plenty of questions about the Ticats lately. Not only that, but a huge sign promoting next week's showdown with the Tabbies was placed in front of the Bombers office last week, meaning the players saw it each day they reported for work.
"We haven't looked over one team this year. A lot of fans are," linebacker Siddeeq Shabazz said. "I've gotten some messages on Facebook talking about Hamilton. I'm quick to remind them we got Montreal, which could end up being a bigger game than a lot of people think."
The road to the Grey Cup goes through Montreal, where the Alouettes (13-3) clinched first place in the East Division several weeks ago.
Quarterback Anthony Calvillo and three defensive starters missed last week's game due to injury, but they all return today. A Winnipeg win would therefore carry much more weight than it did eight days ago.
"That's why this is a huge game," Shabazz said. "Whoever ends up being the team in the East is going to have to deal with Montreal again. It'll be great for us to be able to go out there with all their guns and get that victory."
Calvillo shot down the notion that today's game doesn't have much meaning for the home side.
"Both teams are fighting for something," he said. "They're playing for a playoff spot. We're fighting to make sure that they understand that it's going to be a tough job to come in here and beat us."