December 10, 2013 Sections
Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
THE Winnipeg Blue Bombers offices were quiet on Sunday, one day after the club lost its sixth game in a row, 37-14 to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats at Guelph's Alumni Stadium.
Bombers head coach Tim Burke said following the loss the club will this week bring in at least four new players, but a club spokesman said Sunday that details on the new players will not be formally released until Tuesday.
The identity of one of the four new players -- former Ticats third-string QB Jason Boltus -- leaked out late Saturday. Boltus played in 2011 for the Ticats but saw very limited action. His lifetime CFL numbers are five of 15 for 48 yards. He's been in the Arena League since 2011.
It wasn't immediately clear this weekend what the Bombers plans for Boltus are -- and it's possible they're not entirely sure themselves. Max Hall, who started Saturday's game for Winnipeg, and Buck Pierce, who appeared in relief, were both injured and did not finish against the Ticats.
Hall has a hand injury -- sustained on the second play of the game -- and Pierce's injury is more vague. Burke said Saturday it wasn't clear how serious either was hurt.
"Max has a hand injury. He'll have to have tests on it to see if it has any breaks or tendon tears or whatever," said Burke. "And Buck has some kind of upper-body injury, neck or shoulder or something like that."
Burke hedged when asked who will be his starter Sunday in Regina if Pierce, Hall and third-stringer Justin Goltz are all healthy.
"I don't know, let's take a look at the film and see."
WITH a 1-7 record, the Bombers will head into Regina for Labour Day Weekend four points behind third-place Montreal (3-5) and six points behind second-place Hamilton (4-4) in the East Division. Hamilton has won the season series with Winnipeg and is the hottest team in the CFL, having won three in a row after home-and-home victories over Winnipeg and a road win in Edmonton.
Toronto continues to lead the East at 5-3.
WHILE the 7-1 Saskatchewan Roughriders pose a formidable challenge for the Bombers the next two weeks -- this Sunday in Regina and the following Sunday in Winnipeg in the Banjo Bowl -- the Riders have shown themselves to be at least vulnerable the past few weeks.
After losing their first game of the season three weeks ago in Calgary against a very good Stampeders team, the Riders needed late heroics against lesser teams in each of their last two games -- a 24-21 home win over Montreal and a 30-27 win in Edmonton on Saturday over the Eskimos -- to keep that first loss from turning into a skid.
That's the good news. The bad news is Regina has been very unkind to the Bombers. Winnipeg has lost the last eight Labour Day Weekend Classics, a drought that goes back to 2004.
HERE'S a little more from Bombers running back Chad Simpson, who made it clear in the locker-room in Guelph following Saturday's loss he felt the solution to his team's woes rests inside each player.
"You've got to want it. I don't know if it's a deal of loving the game a little bit more or appreciating the game a little bit more or just man-on-man, beating the man across from you. You've got to pick up in the heart and I don't know how you train for that -- it comes from your mom and your dad, how you've been raised."
-- Paul Wiecek
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 26, 2013 C3