CALGARY -- If you had a notion that Saturday's game between the Calgary Stampeders and visiting B.C. Lions was meaningless, give your head a shake.
Oh, sure, the end result won't alter the fact that the Stampeders will finish first in the Canadian Football League's West Division and have a week off while they wait for a playoff opponent.
But if you thought it'd be a nice opportunity to rest some of the front-line players, forget it.
"I think it's very important that we go out there with all of our guns," said Calgary head coach and general manager John Hufnagel during a brief scrum with the media Monday afternoon at McMahon Stadium.
"Certainly if the game goes well and we have the opportunity (to rest some players), we'll definitely take the opportunity but, again, this team has played hard each and every game, get themselves ready to play and I don't want to see our team not fully prepared to win the football game."
In other words, the Stamps aren't thinking of breaking out any laid-back routines. The team is upbeat and riding some nice momentum as they look to add to their 12-5 record. They defeated the Lions in two previous jousts this season and a loss could give the Lions' pysche a boost.
Hufnagel would just as soon keep that door closed.
"We definitely don't want to give them any added confidence," he said. "If they happen to earn the right to play us in the Western final, hopefully they'll be coming in knowing the Stampeders have beaten them three times."
There's a 50-50 chance the Stamps could play host to the Lions in the West final as the B.C. squad will duke it out with Saskatchewan for that privilege. The Lions are tied with the Roughriders for second place at 11-6 and will know by game time Saturday if a victory will give them the opportunity to stage the West semifinal.
That's just a couple of the sidebars to the matchup between the two hottest clubs in the league, who are both 7-1 in their last eight games.
Ken-Yon Rambo, who is just three catches shy of 100 on the season, leads B.C.'s Geroy Simon by just one yard for bragging rights as the CFL's top receiver, while Calgary running back Joffrey Reynolds looks to lock up his first rushing title as he rolls in with a 95-yard cushion over Saskatchewan's Wes Cates.
In Hufnagel's mind, it's victory first and individual laurels second.
"We want them to win, we'd like to see them get those accomplishments," he conceded. "If you've worked hard all year long, you're at the top of the statistics and if you have the opportunity, ‘Hey, let's go for it.'
"But I'm sure the B.C. staff is thinking the same thing."