Blue Bomber Report Record: 3–15–0

Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

5 story lines

  • Print

Eastern final eve! Gather 'round, kids, and ponder the five storylines surrounding the matchup between Winnipeg and Hamilton Sunday:

 

Bomber Dustin Doe (34) peers out at the falling snow Friday at Canad Inns Stadium as the Blue prep for what could be a cold, white East Final.

Enlarge Image

Bomber Dustin Doe (34) peers out at the falling snow Friday at Canad Inns Stadium as the Blue prep for what could be a cold, white East Final. (PHOTOS BY PHIL HOSSACK / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS) Photo Store

1. Buck Pierce

This is how it shakes down for No. 4: Win this game, take the Bombers to the Grey Cup, and Pierce will all but cement himself as a cherished member of the Big Blue Bomber family. A victory and there might be a contract for him to sign after the game. Heck, there could be one waiting in his locker right now, under his bottle of aftershave.

Lose this one, though, and the doubts creep in (again). How did he move around with the knee injury? Did he take care of the ball? Was he able to move the anemic Winnipeg offence in the first three quarters?

Bomber fans feel this team is ready to contend -- this month and moving forward -- so this is an important moment for Pierce. People looked past his numbers because he won games and managed to stay upright in the process. Should he not be able to raise his game up and lead Winnipeg to Vancouver, and should he not be a key player in that process, there could be another quarterback debate this winter.

 

2. Rising to the occasion

Outside a couple of efforts against Montreal, this hasn't been Winnipeg's strongest play in the last two months. One has to wonder how they'll respond to the post-season stage, knowing the high stakes and the absence of a safety net (B.C. won't be there to help with destiny issues).

Then there's the issue of cold weather, slow starts and shaking off any rust that may have accumulated over the bye week. All serve as potential hurdles for this young team holding little playoff experience. Are the Bombers going to be ready? That's been the question over the last 10 games.

History won't matter if the club can rise -- not shrink -- to the occasion.

 

3. Frozen ground game

Hamilton will run the ball early and often. Failing that, they'll try to run the ball. If nothing materializes on the ground against the Bombers defence, then they'll probably try to run the ball.

See where is this headed? Avon Cobourne and Marcus Thigpen will have every opportunity to make headlines in this game; Winnipeg will need to monitor this closely. Play action and field position could be Kevin Glenn's best friend Sunday.

Meanwhile, Winnipeg's Chris Garrett looks to build on his last outing against the Ticats, an 18-carry, 131-yard effort that announced his (second) arrival to the Bombers. Film is out on Garrett, though, so no surprises this time.

 

4. Warm goodbye

One thing is certain: Sunday is Doug Brown's last game at Canad Inns Stadium. We'll leave it to the Blue historians to figure out where the popular defensive lineman's legacy should be laid to rest, but no doubt there will be a nice send-off from the fans -- win or lose -- as the final seconds tick down into the late afternoon.

 

5. Five and out

Can the Tiger-Cats adjust to the temperatures? Is all the pressure on the favoured Bombers? What did everyone learn from Jeffers-Harris-gate? What do you mean these flights to Vancouver are non-refundable? How much hot chocolate is 'too much' hot chocolate?

adam.wazny@freepress.mb.ca Twitter: @wazoowazny

 

QB Buck Pierce works through an offensive play Friday morning at the team's workout.

Enlarge Image

QB Buck Pierce works through an offensive play Friday morning at the team's workout.

Key Matchup

The kickers vs. The cold

Winnipeg's Justin Palardy and Hamilton's Justin Medlock will be counted on to play big roles in what's expected to be a tight, low-scoring contest. It's playoff football: Field goals are a valuable currency.

How do the wintery conditions affect their positions? "The key is just making solid contact," Palardy said after practice Friday. "You have to make sure you hit every kick (hard). The ground is frozen so it's harder to plant your foot. Loosening up the turf with your cleat before the kick seems to work, though."

Palardy doesn't have much experience kicking in weather like this (he went to Saint Mary's), but he's becoming a quick study. The conditions this week have helped him get ready -- an advantage over the strong leg of Medlock.

Because the frosty air hardens the ball, Palardy says kicking the pigskin higher off his foot is imperative. He figures the cold will take "about five yards" off the kicks, but says he won't know that for sure until he gets out there for warmup.

What is the outer limit for field goals? Depending on the wind, anything over 40-yards should be given a second thought.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 19, 2011 C3

History

Updated on Saturday, November 19, 2011 at 12:03 PM CST: adds photos, formats text, adds links

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Blake Wheeler talks about past season

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • MIKE.DEAL@FREEPRESS.MB.CA 100615 - Tuesday, June 15th, 2010 The Mane Attraction - Lions are back at the Assiniboine Park Zoo. Xerxes a 3-year-old male African Lion rests in the shade of a tree in his new enclosure at the old Giant Panda building.  MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS
  • JJOE.BRYKSA@FREEPRESS.MB.CA Local-Postcard  Day-Horror frost and fog created a most beautiful setting at Assiniboine Park Thursday morning in WInnipeg- Enviroent Canada says the fog will lifet this morning and will see a high of -7C-  JOE BRYKSA/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS- Feb 18, 2010

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

What Western Conference teams will emerge from the first round of the NHL playoffs?

View Results

Ads by Google