Gary Lawless

  • Jets still gaining altitude

    They have not wilted. No fade and no quit. And if they can manage to get into the post-season, the Winnipeg Jets just might prove to be a tough out. With each passing day, the Jets appear to be getting stronger. They’ve won six of seven, they’re getting brilliant goaltending and, little by little, they’re getting healthy.
  • Price has it right

    All is fair in love and war and international hockey. Even ratting out your NHL teammates. Montreal Canadiens' 35-goal man Max Pacioretty tells a funny story about playing for Team USA at the Sochi Olympics last winter and having his coaches and teammates turn to him for advice on beating goalie Carey Price.
  • Vigneault deserving of Jack Adams Award

    Mike Babcock, generally considered to be the best coach in hockey today, has never won the Jack Adams Award because it’s unfortunately morphed into a makeover contest. They should change the name to the Bounce-back Award or Exceeding Expectations Trophy. The choice has become more about overachieving and less about being awarded to the coach “adjudged to have contributed the most to his team’s success,” as the official criteria stipulates.
  • Cream of the crop

    Mark Scheifele's ascent hasn't been as rapid as the others, but the closer he gets to the finished product the more evident it becomes he's going to be the best centreman of his class. Scheifele was selected seventh overall in the 2011 NHL Draft, when a number of other big-name centres were taken. While some have produced more offence and others are more established as defensive centres, Scheifele is becoming the most useful two-way player of the group.
  • Wheels forces less, wins more

    Blake Wheeler could be a point-a-game player. But then the Winnipeg Jets likely wouldn't be a playoff team. The 28-year-old Wheeler best represents the Jets and their transformation from a group of individuals into a team. From an easy-to-play-against opponent into a difficult bunch to beat.
  • Wheels forces less, wins more

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  • San Jose jumping the shark

    Spend five minutes in the San Jose Sharks dressing room and it's perfectly clear Joe Thornton is still the alpha male among his teammates, which makes the fuss over his leadership both laughable and lamentable. This is Thornton's team despite any talk to the contrary. Calling him out in public and sparking a feud with weeks left in the season and with a playoff berth in the offing is ill-timed and foolish.
  • San Jose jumping the shark

    Spend five minutes in the San Jose Sharks dressing room and it’s perfectly clear Joe Thornton is still the alpha male among his teammates, which makes the fuss over his leadership both laughable and lamentable. This is Thornton’s team despite any talk to the contrary. Calling him out in public and sparking a feud with weeks left in the season and with a playoff berth in the offing is ill-timed and foolish.
  • Duct tape Jets' secret weapon

    Throw out the Corsi, save percentage and nifty saucer passes. Get out the duct tape and rubber bands and hope like hell it will all hold together. This isn't going to be art. More like mud wrestling. Were the Winnipeg Jets a race horse, the vet may have offered ownership the kindness of a humane ending. But with pulling up lame and leaving the race not an option, we're going to witness a team robbed of depth and strength trying to get across the finish line.
  • Sending out an S.O.S.

    TAMPA -- It would be inaccurate to say the pressure is getting to Paul Maurice. It's more like he's allowing it to colour and flavour his message in hopes he can show his team now is the time for urgency. The Jets haven't had much oomph in their game of late, having dropped three of the last four and falling out of a wild-card playoff berth in the Western Conference.
  • Rattled Jets need to stick with Hutch

    PLANTATION, Fla. -- This isn't the moment for Jets management to get nervous. Panic is the enemy. This is a moment for faith in what has been built. For trust and for strength. A moment of distrust right now would prematurely send the Jets reeling.
  • Hitch won't singe the Blues... much

    ST. LOUIS -- Along the way to winning 698 NHL games, Ken Hitchcock discovered sitting in a parked car every once in a while could help keep him employed. Coaches have to hold their players accountable but there's a fine line between getting the group to listen and having them turn off. Once the button goes to mute, the coach is never long for his current office. Hitchcock has come to understand he can't constantly run his players at the red line.
  • When a D becomes an A+

    ST. LOUIS -- Sometimes it's easy to forget Jacob Trouba is so young and then he says something like, "I grew almost a half an inch last year and I think I'm growing some more this year." Give the kid a glass of milk and then ask him to carry your team into the playoffs.
  • Maurice talks players, playoffs and life in the 'Peg

    ST. LOUIS — Paul Maurice has been head coach of the Winnipeg Jets for a little more than a year now, and his role has gone from “we’ll see how it goes,” to being a vocal member of the "I Love Winnipeg" club. Maurice has purchased a home in Winnipeg and moved his family here. And he’s transformed the hockey team from one of the easiest to play in the NHL into a far more difficult challenge for the oppostion.
  • Hutchinson clearly Jets' No. 1 goalie

    ST. LOUIS -- Admit it. In that moment in Saturday's game in Nashville when Michael Hutchinson was rolling on the ice in pain, you were scared. You should have been. No Hutch, no playoffs. The rookie goaltender has become the story of the season. The Winnipeg Jets remain in contention for a playoff spot due to many reasons, but chief among them is the play of Hutchinson.
  • Women's game has even more room to grow

    My sister had figure skates and there was no discussion about her playing hockey. It just wasn't done back then. When the time came for my daughter to learn, the debate was just as one-sided. Except we went straight for the hockey equipment. Black hockey skates, a helmet and elbow pads. The older girls she'd spent time with over the summer at the lake played hockey. My little girl didn't even mention skating. She simply said, "I want to play hockey."
  • Maligned Chevy has been right all along

    Oh, it's been easy to take pokes at Kevin Cheveldayoff. The pokes have been short-sighted, cheap and wrong, but easy nonetheless, as smug so often is. The Winnipeg Jets' GM isn't perfect. His plan isn't without its flaws. But as of late Monday night his team sat fifth in the Western Conference and his pool of prospects is considered among the very best in the NHL.
  • Captain is leading by darn fine example

    The pressure isn't getting to the Winnipeg Jets. That's likely because Andrew Ladd is so clearly thriving under it. The captain can smell the playoffs. He knows the satisfaction of playing hockey at the most important time of the year and he's a man with little interest in being denied.
  • Youth lifting Jets to new heights

    Yeah, the price of tickets will go up if there are playoff games here, but if there is more to come of what we saw last night, it will be worth it. The Jets fell 2-1 in the shootout to the visiting St. Louis Blues and while the home side picked up a critical point in their pursuit of a post-season berth the fans got all they had come for but a win.
  • CTE testing will eventually force sports fans to make a decision on what they're willing to watch

    Pro sports isn't closing its doors because of a growing number of dead athletes with damaged brains. But someday we'll be able to measure the effect of a punch to the head or a helmet-to-helmet collision in real time and then we'll have to ask ourselves -- are we OK with watching the already punch drunk become even drunker?
  • Unwise trade would be un-Chevy

    Be true to yourself, Chevy. Don't fall prey to trade deadline madness.  
  • Unwise trade would be un-Chevy

    Be true to yourself, Chevy. Don’t fall prey to trade deadline madness. The reported trade request that would see the Winnipeg Jets send 23-year-old centre Alex Burmistrov and a second- or third-round pick for pending unrestricted free agent Toronto winger Daniel Winnik is crazy talk.
  • Jets can't win from the sin bin

    It has gone beyond surreal. Beyond ridiculous. Beyond stupid. And way beyond troubling. Another loss for the Winnipeg Jets where lack of discipline was the key factor. The visiting Jets fell 5-1 to the Washington Capitals on Thursday with the winners going three-for-six on the power play.
  • Jets can't win from the sin bin

    It has gone beyond surreal. Beyond ridiculous. Beyond stupid. And way beyond troubling. Another loss for the Winnipeg Jets where lack of discipline was the key factor. The visiting Jets fell 5-1 to the Washington Capitals on Thursday with the winners going three-for-six on the power play.
  • Myers making major impact

    Three games into his time with the Winnipeg Jets and it's becoming clear Tyler Myers is the key piece to last week's trade where his new team is concerned. Myers scored his first goal with the Jets in Monday's 5-4 shootout win against the Edmonton Oilers and has been pivotal in Winnipeg's last two wins.

About Gary Lawless

Gary Lawless is the Free Press sports columnist and co-host of the Hustler and Lawless show on TSN 1290 Winnipeg and www.winnipegfreepress.com
Lawless began covering sports as a rookie reporter at The Chronicle-Journal in Thunder Bay after graduating from journalism school at Durham College in Ontario.
After a Grey Cup winning stint with the Toronto Argonauts in the communications department, Lawless returned to Thunder Bay as sports editor.
In 1999 he joined the Free Press and after working on the night sports desk moved back into the field where he covered pro hockey, baseball and football beats prior to being named columnist.

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