CFL

Bruce, Stala mum on TD celebrations in store for Argos

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The Canadian Press
9/6/2010 11:55:23 AM
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HAMILTON, Ont. -- There's something about Ivor Wynne Stadium that seems to bring out the artistic side of Arland Bruce III.

The all-star slotback has celebrated scoring touchdowns there by donning a Spiderman mask he had tucked in his pants, and last year shed his helmet, shoulder pads and uniform before lying down in the end zone in a mock tribute to the late Michael Jackson. He was fined by the CFL in both instances but adding insult to injury for Hamilton Tiger-Cats fans was the celebrations came with Bruce as a member of the hated Toronto Argonauts.

But an Ivor Wynne Stadium sellout will be on its feet celebrating with Bruce if he should find the end zone when the Ticats host their arch rivals Monday (TSN, 2:30 p.m.).

"Yeah, put the six points up on the board," Bruce said when asked if he had a special touchdown celebration in mind. "I'm going to continue doing what I'm doing, be myself and help this team win."

Bruce has been on his best behaviour since joining the Ticats early last season. His most consistent TD celebration has been standing on one leg and spreading his arms wide.

There was no Labour Day TD celebration last year for Bruce but he certainly did his part in Hamilton's 34-15 victory. Bruce, who was dealt to the Ticats from Toronto after getting into a spat with then coach Bart Andrus, had six catches for 115 yards - including grabs for 44 and 43 yards that set up TDs.

However, Bruce isn't the only Ticats' receiver given to conjure up imaginative touchdown celebrations.

Slotback Dave Stala performed a unique hacky sack dance after scoring a touchdown in a game last month versus Saskatchewan. Then later in another contest in Steeltown, Stala found the end zone again and with fans waiting to see what he'd do next, the veteran receiver admitted he had nothing planned and simply booted the ball out of the back of the stadium.

The prevailing talk is Stala has an encore presentation of his hacky sack dance. So will Stala unveil it against Toronto should he score?

"You'll have to wait and see," he said with a smile. "If I get into the end zone it will be pretty exciting.

"It's going to be an important game for us and I don't want to take a stupid penalty. But if I get in there I might have something."

Members of Hamilton's defence got into the act last season in Winnipeg, twice piling into a boat located just past the end zone after returning two interceptions for touchdowns. The TDs sealed a 39-17 victory that clinched the Ticats a home playoff game and eliminated the Bombers from post-season contention.

Ticats head coach Marcel Bellefeuille says he's all for players having fun but not at the expense of the opposition.

"I believe players should celebrate and have fun, it's part of the game," he said. "It's hard to get into the end zone but I always draw the line to where the flag comes out.

"In Dave's case in Regina, it was away from the opponent and I think that's important . . . and the second thing was we don't use props so Dave just had a celebration with the ball."

Interestingly enough, though, there will be a hot tub located near one of the end zones at Ivor Wynne Stadium.

"I didn't know," Bellefeuille said with a chuckle. "That gives me something else to sweat about (Monday).

"I have enough things to worry about."

Especially considering the game is an important one for both teams.

With a win Toronto (5-3) could move into a first-place tie with Montreal atop the East Division standings. But Hamilton (4-4) could also create a tie for second in the conference with a victory.

And a win would also give Hamilton the season series with Toronto after a 16-12 road win at Rogers Centre on Aug. 20. The Ticats are also chasing their fourth straight win and the nod if the two teams ended the year tied. The Ticats already hold that edge over fourth-place Winnipeg (2-6).

The significance of the contest will only add to what will be a fever pitch at Ivor Wynne, which in turn only serve to fuel the on-field intensity. And with the stands being so close to the visitors' bench, Argos fullback Bryan Crawford -- a Hamilton native -- says the players can't help but hear the verbal outburst from Ticats fans.

"I sometimes take a bit more of it being a Hamiltonian playing for the Argos and am called a traitor and that kind of stuff," he said. "Sometimes you catch some funny things out of the corner of your ear and kind of chuckle to yourself.

"You're focussed on the game but obviously it makes the atmosphere that much better when the crowd is really into it and trying to break your concentration."

Labour Day in the CFL signifies the start of the second half of the season, a time when Argos head coach Jim Barker says games take on significantly more meaning.

"Labour Day is a special day in Canada for football," he said. "You know what to expect from your team, players have established themselves in what they're going to be so this is the fun time, it's the run now for the playoffs.

"We're not going to surprise anybody anymore. We're a team that has won five games, people aren't going to take us lightly and we understand that. We're going to go out and go toe-to-toe and see where we're at."

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