Pressure mounts for Redblacks, Ticats

OTTAWA — Despite their agonizing first third of the 2017 season, the Ottawa Redblacks can put themselves in playoff contention in the CFL East with a win at winless Hamilton on Friday.

But with a desperate 0-7 Tiger-Cats team providing the opposition, and given their troubling tendency to come up short in winnable games, the Redblacks know they will be under pressure to pick up a second victory in a season filled with near-misses.

The Redblacks (1-6-1) strongly believe they are much better team than their record considering they’ve lost six games by a total of 20 points, but in the end that means little in the standings.

“I think there’s pressure on both sides,” said Ottawa fullback Patrick Lavoie. “I can’t speak for them, but I think we’re starting to feel it. We can say we’ve lost close games, but that doesn’t mean much. We need to start winning games, so yeah I think we’re starting to feel pressure and that might not be a bad thing.”

The Redblacks know this is a big week, and head coach Rick Campbell has tried to keep things in perspective by keeping things simple.

“I’ve said I don’t want to make this thing too complicated,” said Campbell. “It’s about lining up, playing good football and playing hard.”

The Redblakcs have consistently spoiled solid efforts with one or two costly plays this season, but the Tiger-Cats won’t wait for them to implode. Hamilton head coach Kent Austin told the team’s website he believes the Redblacks could just as easily have six wins if they could find a little luck.

“Their record is not indicative of the quality of the team that they are,” said Austin. “They’re kind of like us. They need some breaks to go their way and they need to win the plays, those six or seven plays, they need to win the majority of those at the most opportune times of the football game.”

The Redblacks know they are in no position to take Hamilton lightly. Other than a 60-1 thumping at the hands of Calgary, Hamilton has played stretches of good football this season. Like Ottawa, the Ticats just haven’t found a way to steal a win.

Both teams still have a chance to make the playoffs if they can turn things around quickly. The division remains wide open as Ottawa trails the first place Montreal Alouettes and second-place Toronto Argonauts by just three points. The road would be harder for Hamilton, but the playoffs aren’t completely out of reach.

The Redblacks are hopeful a few fresh bodies might provide a spark for a team that’s searching for any advantage possible.

Receiver Kenny Shaw appears ready to return to the lineup after missing a month with a leg injury and could be a significant addition to the receiving corps.

“You bring in a guy like that for a reason and we haven’t had him this year, even in training camp,” said quarterback Trevor Harris. “He’s a special talent so we’re excited to have him.”

Defensive back and linebacker Nick Taylor returns after missing a month and is also looking to make an immediate impact.

“Sitting down you have a different perspective watching things,” said Taylor. “I just want to make sure I communicate well and bring some more energy and do whatever I can to help. The only thing we’re all thinking about is winning and we’ll do whatever it takes.”

Notes: Ottawa will be without returner/receiver Quincy McDuffie, while RB William Powell will be back in the lineup. Hamilton will be without OL Xavier Fulton and Braden Schram.

Just Posted

Sylvan Lakers vote on Winter Village planters

Sylvan Lakers came out to visit the Winter Village this evening to… Continue reading

Vancouver concert promoter bans Nazi symbols at shows

A man was witnessed making a Nazi salute during a heavy metal show at Pub 340

WATCH: A Russian new year party in Red Deer

Hundreds fill the G.H. Dawe Community Centre for the 10th Russian Children’s New Year Party

Car hits moose north of Red Deer, driver in hospital with life threatening injuries

One person was airlifted to hospital, and another taken by ambulance after… Continue reading

Red Deer’s Ten Thousand Villages to close in 2018

This will be the last Christmas for Red Deer’s Ten Thousand Villages.… Continue reading

Watch: Man plays flaming bagpipes while riding a unicycle in a ‘Star Wars’ costume

The sight of Darth Vader, riding a unicycle and playing flaming bagpipes,… Continue reading

Owl found dead after eating rat poison leaves B.C. woman concerned

After finding the owl on her Surrey property, Christine Trozzo says the poison is a concern for kids

Dying man’s wish to see new ‘Star Wars’ movie coming true

A dying man’s wish to see the new “Star Wars” movie is… Continue reading

Bountiful polygamist believed he couldn’t be prosecuted: lawyer

Winston Blackmore’s lawyer says Blackmore did not believe he could be prosecuted

Trudeaus, Mulroneys, Erdem? Canadians who could snag a royal wedding invite

Save the date. Kensington Palace announced Friday that Prince Harry and Meghan… Continue reading

More to be done to ensure timely justice, retiring Beverley McLachlin says

Canada’s retiring top judge says more must be done to ensure the… Continue reading

Labrador mayor who was shot in face in hunting accident has died

John Hickey accidently shot himself while checking rabbit snares

Shelter dogs could go vegan in Los Angeles

Los Angeles may soon be home to a lot more vegan dogs.… Continue reading

The coolest way to serve coffee at dinner’s end

I can put together a decent dinner party. But when it comes… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month