Critical season finale

PAUL FRIESEN, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:59 AM ET

The stark realization that Sunday's season finale against Hamilton could be their last game hit the Winnipeg Blue Bombers like a stiff north breeze as they returned to practice yesterday.

Win, and the 7-10 Bombers finish second and host the East semifinal a week later.

Lose, and they miss the post-season for the first time in four years.

"It's definitely scary," cornerback and kick return specialist Jovon Johnson said. "It's like playing Russian Roulette. But, hey, what better opportunity than to go into a game like this."

Several of his teammates agreed.

"This is what we live for," centre Obby Khan said. "This is what we played the last 17 games for. This is what we lifted all off-season for. This is what I made my comeback for. The thrill of, 'win or die,' basically."

Khan missed the better part of the last two seasons battling injuries and colitis.

HEATING UP: Yesterday's ticket count suggests interest is growing, as the Bombers reached 24,107 by late afternoon. A crowd approaching 28,000 is now anticipated.

Environment Canada was calling for sunshine and a balmy high of 9C.

The heat, though, is squarely on the home team, as Hamilton can only miss the playoffs if Edmonton and B.C. play to a tie, tomorrow night.

"In some ways it's better off to be the underdog and to have that pressure on you," safety Ian Logan said. "I love it. That's when I play my best, when it's all on the line. I can't wait."

Gambling web sites actually have the Bombers anywhere from 1.5 to 2-point favourites.

GUNNING FOR GLENN: So, how do you throw Hamilton quarterback Kevin Glenn off his game?

"I don't think it's a secret -- he doesn't like to get hit," D-lineman Doug Brown said. "He's a finesse guy, as 99% of quarterbacks are. They're not all Brett Favre. You hit them and they don't jump up in your face and say, 'Is that all you've got?' "

On the flip side, Brown says if Glenn gets time, he's deadly.

"Not only do we have to stop the run.... we've got to get after him. Because if he's got time back there, it's 2007 all over again."

Glenn was the East nominee for the CFL's top player in '07, when he led the Bombers to a Grey Cup appearance but missed the big game with a broken arm.

"If the defence gets at him," Khan said. "Kev's been known to be a little bit of a fragile guy."

ICE PACKS AND TAPE: Jovon Johnson sat out yesterday's workout with a tender ankle, but called it precautionary, saying the injury won't keep him out.

Receiver Adarius Bowman, who missed the last game with a bum knee, practised with a brace and says he'll be good to go.

Defensive back Jonathan Hefney (ankle) watched practice, but head coach Mike Kelly said he'll be ready, too, along with special teamer Shawn Gallant (knee).

Guard Ryan Donnelly (knee) took turns on the O-line with Luke Fritz.

paul.friesen@sunmedia.ca


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