Paul Wiecek

  • Gut-check time for Bombers

    VANCOUVER -- His team had just lost their third straight, fifth in their last six and, oh yeah, their starting quarterback. And so there was no point, really, in beating around the bush with the head coach of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers late Saturday night. Because amid all the chaff of a once promising season now gone horribly wrong, the only question for the leader of this engimatic Winnipeg Blue Bombers team following a 26-9 loss to the B.C. Lions that still mattered was this:
  • Whipping exposes abundant flaws

    The cliché -- and we peddle that commodity shamelessly in these parts -- is winning fixes everything. But in the case of these suddenly enigmatic Winnipeg Blue Bombers, you could also argue -- judging by all the evidence from Thursday's 26-3 shellacking at the hands of the Edmonton Eskimos -- all the early winning this Bombers team did this season also papered over some glaring flaws.
  • Willy puts stamp on Blue

    MONTREAL -- It was loud, crazy loud. And so was Drew Willy. "He was just screaming super hard," Julian Feoli-Gudino recalls, "because the fans were making lots of noise.
  • Drew Willy keeps his head amid the frenzy

    MONTREAL—It was loud, crazy loud. And so was Drew Willy. “He was just screaming super hard,” Julian Feoli-Gudino recalls, “because the fans were making lots of noise.
  • Won hard and put away wet

    You know how whenever it seems too good to be true, that's because it usually is? That 45-21 win by the Winnipeg Blue Bombers over the Toronto Argonauts on opening night of the 2014 CFL regular season last week seemed a bit like that, didn't it?
  • New-look Blue thrill fans

    The empty seats -- and there were a record number of them at Investors Group Field Thursday night -- screamed of a Winnipeg Blue Bombers fan base that has adopted a "wait and see" attitude to this 2014 CFL season. After just one spectacular regular-season game, it's hard to imagine what more Bombers fans could be waiting for. Or what else this new-look Bombers team could show them.
  • 2014 Bombers bring work ethic last year's lazy-but-arrogant squad couldn't match

    CALGARY -- Just like that, a pre-season that had barely begun for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers is already over. Sort of. Thanks to a quirky pre-season schedule that saw the Bombers play both their pre-season games in the span of five days last week, Saturday's 23-20 loss to the Calgary Stampeders at McMahon Stadium means the Bombers are done, even as the other eight teams in the league play over the course of the next week.
  • CFLPA has tough road to negotiate

    It is the stark reality of the society in which we live that a man's worth in the workplace is judged by the laws of supply and demand. There are not many people who can perform heart surgery -- and we really, really need those few who can -- so we pay heart surgeons big bucks. Conversely, anyone in possession of a computer and a TV can be a sports writer -- to marginal social benefit -- so we pay those people accordingly.
  • 'Trying' times ahead for Bombers

    Fans of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers were made just one promise by the club's new brain trust at Monday night's annual Fan Forum at Investors Group Field -- and it wasn't more wins this coming season. Instead, the 200 or so fans who turned up were told again and again that whatever the final scores up on the board in 2014, they will be impressed by the effort their team will show in the upcoming CFL season.
  • California Chrome a paper tiger, bet farm on Dance With Fate

    On paper, California Chrome looks to be the easy winner of today's 140th running of the Kentucky Derby. But they run the race on the sandy loam of Churchill Downs, not on paper, and it says here a bet on the heavy favourite today is a sucker bet.
  • Winning wager

    For an industry that's always been about the gambling, this wager was the longest shot of all -- the tiny non-profit Manitoba Jockey Club going up against the full weight of the entire provincial government. And yet when the race hit the finish line this week with the announcement of a new 12-year VLT deal for Assiniboia Downs, it was the MJC that was home and clear and the provincial government that lay broken down somewhere up the track.
  • Daft drafts plague Blue

    The game they play is football, but the Winnipeg Blue Bombers desperately need to hit a home run at next month's CFL Draft. And they know it. "What we absolutely need with our second overall pick is a Canadian who can start immediately," Bombers head coach Mike O'Shea said in an interview on Tuesday.
  • Remade Bombers looking like pros

    BRADENTON, Fla. -- Maybe, just maybe, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers found the next Chris Matthews down here this week. Maybe it was Willie Haulstead, a 6-2, 227-pounder out of Florida State who was fleet and fast and caught everything thrown to him during the Bombers three-day mini-camp at IMG Academy.
  • Upheaval sure to change face of curling in '14

    KAMLOOPS, B.C. — If Canadian curling had a trading deadline -- and they should, given all the mileage the NHL gets out of its own -- it would be coming up very soon. And man, would it ever be a doozy. Because with another Olympic quadrennial coming to a close in Sochi last month, there are only three teams in Canada whose lineups are set in stone: The Olympic gold medal-winning rinks skipped by Jennifer Jones and Brad Jacobs, who are both about to turn gold into cold hard cash; and the two-time reigning Canadian champions skipped by Ottawa's Rachel Homan, who are going to dominate the Canadian women's game for a long time to come.
  • Blue caught flat-footed

    Winnipeg Blue Bombers GM Kyle Walters made clear at the end of a disastrous 2013 season his top priorities this off-season were to sign a veteran QB to be the team's starter in 2014 and to re-sign Henoc Muamba, the team's most outstanding player and the top Canadian in the CFL's East Division last year. Well, a week into February, the Bombers have now struck out twice in their quest for a viable starting quarterback -- and are now arguably further than they've ever been from completing that task. And, as of Wednesday, Muamba has been released to pursue NFL opportunities.
  • Man from Charleswood a pretty safe bet today

    Want to make the world's safest bet on Super Bowl Sunday? Then ignore the big game in New York this afternoon and instead lay all your money on this afternoon's Manitoba men's curling championship final at the MTS Iceplex.
  • Championship back in the big city

    Winnipeg has long been home to the best men's curlers in Manitoba -- and many of the best in the world. Yet it has been 19 years since a Manitoba men's curling champion was actually crowned in Winnipeg. Kerry Burntyk won the 1995 championship at Winnipeg Arena, the last time the event was held inside city limits. Since then, this iconic Manitoba winter tradition has shuffled its way across rural Manitoba -- from Brandon to Beausejour, Neepawa to Thompson, Portage la Prairie to Steinbach and beyond.
  • Big crowd, big upsets, big day

    The crowds were big. The Hollywood celebrity in the house, Will Ferrell's "Ron Burgundy" was generous with his time, funny and showed surprisingly good draw weight in sticking the 12-foot with a practice rock.
  • He's gonna go down grinnin'

    If he wasn't laughing, he'd have probably been crying. So hats off to embattled Winnipeg Blue Bombers head coach Tim Burke, who still had his sense of humour on Sunday as his 3-15 team unceremoniously packed the contents of their lockers into garbage bags and left Investors Group Field, many of them for the last time.
  • Burke's days numbered

    He couldn't make them win. Probably no one could have done that. But he made them care. And while that almost certainly won't be enough to save his job at season's end -- in a business that's all about winning, Tim Burke's Winnipeg Blue Bombers have just three of them in 17 games in 2013 -- the Bombers head coach can savour the fact his players never quit on him as the biggest victory of all in his one-plus seasons as field boss.
  • Blue pit of despair not bottomless

    Yes, they lost. Again. And yes, Saturday's 26-20 loss to the Toronto Argonauts at Investors Group Field dropped the Winnipeg Blue Bombers to a miserable 3-13 and officially eliminated them from playoff contention for the fourth time in five seasons.
  • Can Burke make it work?

    For a couple of weeks now, Winnipeg Blue Bombers head coach Tim Burke has been making the case that maybe, just maybe, he deserves another chance to lead the Bombers in 2014. While Burke marshalls a couple of different arguments he believes work in his favour -- "So, you think you could have done better with this team of sad-sacks?" is the most compelling one, I think -- the one he has used most commonly goes like this:
  • Donate the body to science

    One of the luxuries of being the fan of a CFL team is no matter how bad your team plays, your club usually still has post-season hopes late into the season in a league where six of the eight teams make the playoffs. But there are limits, even in the CFL. And that limit will in all likelihood soon be reached for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, who with one more loss would fall to 2-13 and be officially eliminated from playoff contention. They play the Alouettes in Montreal Monday and then have three games remaining.
  • Hall trade a smart start

    Yeah, so now what? With a 38-11 loss to the Calgary Stampeders at McMahon Stadium Saturday night and the trade of CFL sack leader Alex Hall to the Saskatchewan Roughriders on Sunday, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers have accepted that whatever illusions they might have had of going on some kind of miracle playoff run have now been all but snuffed.
  • Equipment boss hired, Cup drought starts... Coincidence?

    Go ahead, blame it all on Brad Fotty -- you wouldn't be the first one. "Everyone likes to bug me that I must be the curse because the team hasn't won since I started here," Fotty laughed at Investors Group Field Tuesday.

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