Bombers Acquire K Pikula from Lions

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers, who had concerns about their overall kicking game, have acquired Rob Pikula from the B.C. Lions, a move that has led to the release of punter Pat Fleming and has major ramifactions on the future of veteran Troy Westwood.

Pikula, a 25-year-old Brantford native who starred with the University of Western Ontario, is a punter/place kicker who converted six of seven field-goal attempts for the Lions last year in his rookie season and punted for a 48.2 average on six kicks. He was a backup to Paul McCallum.

The Lions were actively shopping Pikula, seeking a first-round selection, which was considered steep. has learned the Bombers surrendered a third-round selection in next year's draft.

The Bombers clearly had concerns about their kicking game following a 39-39 tie in their season opener game against Edmonton on Thursday. Westwood made only one of four field-goal attempts, including missing a 42-yarder in the second series in overtime.

Edmonton's Sean Fleming missed a 47-yard attempt on the final play of the game to salvage the tie for Winnipeg. Sean Fleming converted only one of three attemps.

Westwood, 40, is in his 17th Canadian Football League season, all with the Bombers.

Pat Fleming joined the Bombers as a free-agent signing in training camp. He played in Hamilton last year.

Bombers general manager Brendan Taman told the team originally tried to trade for Pikula on the CFL draft day in April. When the Bombers acquired Fleming earlier this month to do its punting, it figured it had its overall kicking game in place. But the game against Edmonton caused the organization to re-evaluate that situation and make the trade for Pikula.

"The more we thought about it, the more we had to make a change," Taman said. "He's the next guy up."

Taman preferred not to speculate on the future of Westwood. He said it be determined based on how well Pikula does in practice. He is slated to join the Bombers on Sunday.

"Obviously (Westwood's) performance didn't go over well with our people, and Troy know he didn't play well," Taman said. "It's a performance-driven business. I don't foresee us cutting Troy. Troy will still be on our team this week. We know (Pikula) can punt. We don't know how good of a place-kicker he is."

Lions general manger/head coach Wally Buono said in a media release. Pikula gave the team depth, but with Paul McCallum's experience and consistency the team felt it could strengthen itself making the trade.

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Bad move for the Lions considering Macallums age. I think they should have gone with Pikula this year if it came down to who to let go. What's Macallum got left ? Maybe another year or so. Pikula seemed to be almost as good as Paul last season already . Congratulations Bombers you did well on this one. Oh well , Wally usually comes out on top of most dealing.

Wow. Didn't take the Bombers long to fix that problem. I guess Westwood will be getting the axe soon.

One positive for BC fans that I can see in this ( and all other CFL fans for sure) .If Westwood is gone from the Bombers because of this we won't have to look at that ponytail anymore.

amen to that :lol:

Too bad for Pat Fleming, in a way, Westwood cost him his job. If Pikula can do both p/k and punting, Troy is gone, which will free up a roster spot for the Bombers. I like this move, shows the Bombers are serious about making some noise this year.

Darn you Bombers! I think you got a good one!

I wish we could have hid him for a year or two. PennW is correct McCallum is getting long in the tooth. Pikula was the future.

Maybe Troy can get a job playing Banjo in a Regina Night Club? :wink: :wink:

bombers fleece the lions, who will regret this move in a year or 2....mccallum cant play forever.

Fleece the Lions??? There was nothing to fleece DG. Pikula was available to go any where. BC just was too full on the practice roster to carry him, and with the Salary Cap, an (Upper Body Injury?????) couldn't be used to put him on the IR list.

ive noticed the allround kicking game in the CFL has been really weak so far. it's going to be a sad day when westwood is gone, hes been with the bombers for so long.. but hes much passed it.

i think the CFL doesnt draft kickers very well. every year i see these kickers from the western conference and the OUA who go 12/14 in a season (which sounds really good) but they have a long of like 31.. theres guys here in the AUS that i've trained with who struggle to find a starting position, and look a hell of a lot better than guys like congi, and some of these older guys who still manage to kick it around here for years overdue.

When i was training with StFX this springtime, a kicker who tranfered from SMU (went to school with his brother) was telling me pointers on my placekicking, and the guy isnt very big at all.. maybe 5'7" 160lbs, all i could do was laugh at him. surely enough when he was warming up he kicked 15 straight 55 yard field goals from both hashes and up the middle, it was crazy, and during the skirmishes he was hitting 4-5 fg's from beyond the 50 yard line, it makes me wonder how they draft kickers into the CFL.. purely by stats, or do they accually go and SCOUT for them?

I think it all comes down to pressure Nova Scotian. I see some young kids kick 45 yard field goals even in Junior, yet they don't make it to the pro's. A coach told me, its easy to kick a field goal in front of 900 fans, its another to kick one in front of 25,000 fans with the game on the line.