The question caught the head coach off guard.
"Is anything less than playoffs a failure?"
Paul LaPolice, speaking to reporters in his first pre-game press conference as a head coach, was careful with his words in response to that query, stating that the goal was to be in the playoffs at the end of the year. As the coach expanded on his thought, he shared this with the room.
"Here’s what I told our players this morning: We don’t want to hear the word ‘Grey Cup.’ They’re not allowed to say the (words) ‘Grey Cup’ or any of those terms. We’ve heard other teams talking about it. We’re worried about getting two points tomorrow. We’ll talk to you about the playoffs when they come."
The joke is on LaPolice. No one in Winnipeg has said Grey Cup in 19 years.
The coach added players are subject to a $5 fine if he hears them use the phrase ‘Grey Cup’ anywhere – at the stadium, in the locker room, in the dance club. Once can assume describing a light-black coloured glass on the table as a ‘grey cup’ is also subject to monetary penalty, though LaPolice didn’t go that far in his outline of the new club rule.
When it was pointed out to him that he was breaking his own edict, LaPolice backtracked.
"I guess I can’t (say it) after this press conference," he smirked.
Thanks to a light rain, the Bombers held their walk through under the west side stands at Canad Inns Stadium this morning (see the photo aboev). It was a rather odd sight, watching the players crammed into the area by the concession stand work on routes as fans and media stood off to the side. So much for football being an all-weather sport. Sign of the times, I guess. When I was a boy, we used to (insert tedious task done under incredible hardship here).
Above you'll see an extremely high quality BlackBerry picture of some of the players watching the walk-through. The Pepsi machine has been taken off the practice roster and is designated as an import, in case you’re wondering.