After starting with three contestants, the great Winnipeg Blue Bombers Kicking Derby appears to be down to two players. Ryan Elaschuk did not participate in the practice this morning, leaving Warren Kean and Justin Palardy to duke it out in gusts that caused more than a few onlookers to quickly react to their hat spinning up into the great wide open.
Yeah, it was windy out there. Environment Canada had the gusts at 50 km/h but in the wind tunnel known as Canad Inns Stadium, the breeze was a lot stronger than that. The goal posts were dancing. The flags were stretched to their fabric limits. No truth to the rumour that the club wanted to hold this kicking derby at Portage and Main, though. That suggestion circulated around the stadium Monday – as did the peanut shells, discarded 50/50 tickets, and anything else that wasn’t bolted down.
According to the team, a decision on which leg will replace Louie Sakoda for Thursday’s game in Montreal will either be made later today or Tuesday. Sakoda, as you recall, is on the shelf with a calf injury.
If first impressions mean anything (I wasn’t at practice Sunday), I’d say Kean has the upper hand (or foot). His leg is a little stronger. Put it this way: Both guys missed from 47-yards out (with the wind) at the end of practice, but Kean’s boot was far deeper into the end zone than Palardy’s was.
Other news of the day:
• LB Joe Lobendahn did not practice today. Head coach Paul LaPolice said the starting middle linebacker has a bad shoulder, but should be ready for Montreal. LB Pierre-Luc Labbe filled in for him. Also not on the field: QB Buck Pierce, OL Brendon LaBatte, S Ian Logan, WR Terence Jeffers-Harris, and OL Andre Douglas. LaBatte is still on course to play; the others probably won’t be ready.
• LaPolice had a rare blow-up during an offensive drill, yelling at his players something about the Bombers 2-5 record and the lack of urgency the team was showing at practice. Some out there might say the team needs to demonstrate more urgency during games, but that’s a discussion for another time.