The Ticats are looking to make the Price very, very wrong.
Redblacks receiver Maurice Price has guaranteed a win in Sunday’s East Final against Hamilton, telling an Ottawa reporter that the team was brimming with confidence after a strong regular season and a win over the defending champion Calgary Stampeders earlier this season.
“Yeah, we’re going to win Sunday,” said Price. “We’ve come too far, we’re too good.”
Hamilton linebacker Simoni Lawrence laughed when told of Price’s comments and declined to reciprocate with a guarantee of his own.
“Football is a team game and you don’t want to go out there and say anything about how you feel as individual,” Lawrence said. “Mo Price feels a certain way, that’s fine… yeah, it’s Mo Price.”
Price wasn’t the only Redblacks player with something to say. Former Ticats wide receiver Chris Williams, who left the club in 2013 after a contract dispute, is looking forward to playing his old club with a Grey Cup berth on the line.
“It’s the East Final so it’s special, all on its own,” Williams said. “But the fact that it’s Hamilton is definitely a nice little boost.”
This is the second straight season an opposing player has promised a victory before facing the Ticats with a Grey Cup berth on the line. Montreal receiver Duron Carter did the same thing before the 2014 East Final before falling to the Ticats 44-24.
Boundary halfback Brandon Stewart said it’s difficult for one player to dominate a game, which makes individual guarantees difficult to fulfill.
“I don’t care what [Price] has to say. Unless he plans on catching every single pass… He’s plays the receiver furthest from the ball so I don’t expect to see him too much,” Stewart said. “He can talk, he’s confident in his team. They got a bye week, they’re feeling good. Still have to play the game. We can talk after.
“It’s not about me, it’s about we.”
Arnaud Gascon-Nadon has been a significant, if unheralded, contributor in his three seasons with the Ticats. A second round pick in 2012, the 27-year-old has played in 39 games, mostly as a stalwart special teams player, but has yet to start a game on defence.
That’s likely to change on Sunday.
The Montreal native practiced with the first team defence on Thursday and is the odds-on favourite to replace American Eric Norwood, who suffered a suspected ACL tear in his knee in the East Semi-Final win over Toronto last Sunday.
“This is what I’ve been working for the last three years. My job is to contribute every week and this week my job is to step in,” Arnaud-Gascon said.
The addition of Gascon-Nadon to the starting line up will give the Ticats the option to use another American elsewhere if they choose. Look for defensive end Troy Smith, who was signed to the practice roster in September and had yet to play in a CFL game, to be added to the roster in a reserve and special teams role.
In other injury news, receiver Luke Tasker sat out Thursday – head coach Kent Austin said he expects him to play Sunday – while linebacker Simoni Lawrence and receiver Terrell Sinkfield were back in action after missing Wednesday’s session.
“I’m banged up, yeah, but when I’m on the field, I’ll make myself 100 per cent,” Lawrence said.
Pete Dyakowski knows his history and that’s just one of the reasons why his nomination for the Jake Gaudaur Veteran’s award means so much.
The honour is given annually to the CFL player who best demonstrates the qualities exhibited by the country’s veterans in times of war, peace and military conflict. Gaudaur was not only a distinguished veteran of the Second World War but was also the CFL’s longest-standing commissioner.
“It recognizes an idea. It’s very difficult to compare what our veterans did for our country and what our active service members continue to do – especially those that have given the ultimate sacrifice,” Dyakowski said. “But I think we often look at competitive sports as a shadow, a very pale shadow, of those qualities.”
Now in his eighth CFL season – he’s the longest-serving Ticat – Dyakowski endured almost 12 months of rehabilitation after tearing his patella in the 2013 Grey Cup game. A blood clot in his leg and a pulmonary embolism in his lung during his recovery were nearly fatal.
Dyakowski returned late last season and has played in every game this season, impressing coaches and teammates with his work ethic and continued enthusiasm.
“He’s a great teammate, he’s great for our organization, he’s highly committed,” Austin said. “He’s been a long-standing player and a good player for all the right reasons and I’m glad he’s with us.”
Born in Orillia, Gaudaur had a 45-year career in Canadian football, much of it with Ticats, He lived in Burlington from 1950 until his death in 2007, and operated Gaudaur Motors on Brant Street for decades.
Gaudaur played for Hamilton from 1948 to 1953 then joined the front office the following year. Her served as president and general manager of the Tiger-Cats until 1967 with the team winning five Grey Cups during his tenure.
The other nominees for the award include defensive lineman Jamaal Westerman (Winnipeg) offensive linemen Tyler Holmes (Toronto) and Jeff Perrett (Montreal), fullbacks Rob Cote (Calgary Stampeders), Jordan Veredone (Ottawa) and Rolly Lumbala (B.C.), receiver Rob Bagg (Saskatchewan) and long-snapper Ryan King (Edmonton).
– with files from CP