The Winnipeg Blue Bombers organization is putting in a much improved-performance on the streets outside Investors Group Field Thursday night.
The question now is whether the football team playing inside the stadium tonight will also improve off a woeful pre-season performance.
The Bombers play the Montreal Alouettes in the first ever regular season game at Investors Group Field tonight. Kickoff is scheduled for 8 p.m. and a capacity crowd of 33,500 spectators is expected.
That will be a much bigger crowd than the one that tied south Winnipeg traffic up in knots when the Bombers played the Toronto Argonauts in a pre-season game on June 12, but early indications are traffic is moving much more smoothly tonight.
A drive at 6 p.m. from TSN Radio studios on Pembina Highway and Clarence Avenue to the VIP parking lot on the stadium footprint took just 13 minutes to complete as a hugely expanded police presence kept traffic moving quickly and efficiently.
The Bombers can only hope their offence operates nearly as efficiently tonight. Winnipeg comes into tonight’s regular season opener having lost both their pre-season games by a combined score of 76-6 and the club is still looking for its first touchdown of 2013.
The Bombers are looking for a much quicker start to their 2013 season than they got last year, when the team stumbled out to an 0-4 record to start the year and never did recover.
The Bombers got a big break in that regard late Thursday afternoon with the announcement that wide receiver Chris Matthews — the 2012 CFL rookie of the year who missed practice this week with a sore ankle — will play against Montreal.
The Bombers scratches tonight are offensive linemen Chris Kowalczuk and Andre Douglas, receiver Isaac Anderson and linebacker Jeremy McGee.