Gary Lawless

  • O'Shea the right man

    Mike O'Shea is different than most of us in that he's spent most of his adult years getting paid to either play or coach a game. He's not different in that his hair grows and he needs to get it cut. Which led to the beginning of his Winnipeg experience on Friday. The rookie head coach of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers wrapped up his day winning a football game as his team pushed to a respectable and contending 6-3 mark at the midway point of the CFL regular season.
  • Bombers lacking basics of football

    Surely it was fun watching the Winnipeg Blue Bombers win games with Drew Willy flinging the ball again and again. It was never sustainable, though, and if his team can't find a way to win with fundamentals, the early heat of July wins won't be able to keep fans warm when autumn arrives.
  • Blue can't seem to stop run, can't seem to get run going

    TORONTO -- The Winnipeg Blue Bombers seem to have the passing game figured out both on offence and defence. So far, however, they've been absolutely clueless where the run game is concerned. The Bombers can't run the ball and their defence can't stop it. The book on beating the Bombers right now is simple: Run the ball on offence and take the ground game away on defence.
  • Walters prowling NFL camps for help

    TORONTO -- Drew Willy might be willing to take the fall for last Thursday's loss to the Saskatchewan Roughriders but Bombers GM Kyle Walters knows the issue is far more systemic than just a few poor throws from his quarterback. One way to look at the loss is that it was a close game to the very end and if not for the Bombers turning the ball over six times, it could have been a different result.
  • Cheap and dirty indeed

    Dominic PICARD and Brendon LaBatte may be cheap and dirty, as Bombers defensive lineman Zach Anderson pointed out this week, but they're not sexy. Not in the football sense of the word or in any sense imaginable. Believe me, I've seen them both in various stages of undress and it ain't easy on the eyes.
  • Cheap and dirty indeed

    Dominic Picard and Brendon LaBatte may be cheap and dirty, as Bombers defensive lineman Zach Anderson pointed out this week, but they’re not sexy. Not in the football sense of the word or in any sense imaginable. Believe me, I’ve seen them both in various stages of undress and it ain’t easy on the eyes.
  • Passion makes a comeback

    The guy dressed in Bombers blue and gold was in his early 20s, bent at the waist with his hands on his knees, hurling everything he had onto the scalding pavement of a parking lot in the shadows of Mosaic Field. "Man it sucks to be a Bombers fan right now," came his reply when asked if he was OK.
  • Welcome to Willypeg

    Somewhere, Danny McManus let a small smile slide across his face and cracked a cold beer. McManus is the man who told Bombers GM Kyle Walters that if he had his choice between Zach Collaros, Henry Burris or Drew Willy, he'd take the man they've now renamed Winnipeg after.
  • Welcome to Willypeg

    Somewhere, Danny McManus let a small smile slide across his face and cracked a cold beer. McManus is the man who told Bombers GM Kyle Walters that if he had his choice between Zach Collaros, Henry Burris or Drew Willy, he’d take the man they’ve now renamed Winnipeg after.
  • New Jets look a lot like old Jets

    Members of the Winnipeg Jets management believed they had a playoff team heading into last season and fired head coach Claude Noel when he couldn't keep or even get the club into the Western Conference's top eight. It appears Paul Maurice will face a challenge very similar to Noel's.
  • Frolik controls his future with one-year deal

    The Winnipeg Jets and Michael Frolik agreed to one more season, but really the clock has now begun to tick on whether the player stays in Winnipeg long term or is traded at the deadline next March. Frolik and the Jets had a salary arbitration hearing set for Thursday but avoided that potentially messy process, agreeing Tuesday morning to a one-year contract worth $3.3 million.
  • Bombers without borders

    Maybe Mike O'Shea has read and heard some of it. Maybe he hasn't. But it doesn't matter whether one newspaper thinks his team is heading to the Grey Cup or one radio station thinks they're a mirage. Not to him. "My focus has been first to get the guys to experience winning and secondly to get them to want to win for one another," said the Blue Bombers head coach, during a conversation early Monday morning. "Winning will help convince, not only the fans who are obviously very important, not just to Winnipeg but to the league, but it will help convince players too. That's the biggest concern. Getting buy in from the players and having them really believe in what we're doing. Success, individual success but more importantly winning as a team, is paramount."
  • Walters needs to keep his eyes on the prize

    Kyle Walters can't be handcuffed by the past or the current appetite for victory here in Winnipeg. Walters needs to be free to chase more than a .500 record and some good feelings this summer. All things being equal, the Blue Bombers should get spanked tonight in B.C. by the Lions, but for Walters a second loss on the season should only affirm the fact his roster is thin, light on Canadian talent and still in the very early stages of a rebuild.
  • Dungy would deny Sam the opportunity he was given

    Do unto others. Well, just some others, says self-proclaimed Christian and former NFL coach turned TV analyst Tony Dungy.
  • O-line a disaster area

    The offensive line is the foundation every football team is built on and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers hogs simply aren't good enough. The Canadians are poor and the Americans average, rather than the standouts they should be. All the good work GM Kyle Walters has managed to date is going to be undone by his offensive line.
  • O-line a disaster area

    The offensive line is the foundation every football team is built on and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers’ hogs simply aren’t good enough. The Canadians are poor and the Americans average, rather than the standouts they should be. All the good work GM Kyle Walters has managed to date is going to be undone by his offensive line.
  • Bombers GM has had to sow plenty of seeds and right now they're reaping wins

    Lots of teams win early and fade late to join the heap forever known as non-playoff qualifiers. So, of course, common sense suggests Winnipeg Blue Bombers fans should temper their enthusiasm. But that's unlikely if Kyle Walters has anything to say about it.
  • Guessing games: Some thoughts and reckonings following the NHL draft

    It's both a pursuit of promise and a million-dollar guess. Late Saturday night the pressure and toll of a season on the road could be seen on the sweaty faces of NHL scouts pounding Bud Lights in any number of Philadelphia bars.
  • A little snarl goes a long way

    Philadelphia -- Florida Panthers GM Dale Tallon gave Jayce Hawryluk a guarantee and lived up to it. Tallon doesn't know it, but Hawryluk lives by a guarantee of his own. Nothing will stop him from playing in the NHL. Nothing. No one would make the mistake of calling Hawryluk an artful skater. And he's got a temper and so far he's been labelled immature and more than a little on the edge.
  • Maurice guarding Pavelec's back

    PHILADELPHIA -- Somewhere around a bonfire at a Manitoba cottage the Winnipeg Jets' goaltending woes were discussed Friday night. And in a bar, and over dinner, and between a father and a son on a swing set. It's the hockey subject of the summer and it's everywhere. It also came up underneath the stands of a hockey rink Friday and one of the men in the discussion was Paul Maurice, who not only has an opinion but some actual say in the matter.
  • GM won't make a trade for sake of making a trade

    PHILADELPHIA -- The pressure of a lot of balls in the air, losing seasons and the busiest time of the year for hockey executives has resulted in some GMs making mistakes with long-lasting implications. This is what Kevin Cheveldayoff must guard against in the coming hours and days. Certainly, the Jets GM would like to make a trade to improve his team but his deal requirements make up a long list. His price for any of his young and locked-up players is high. It must remain so.
  • Fast-rising Sanheim caps stellar season

    PHILADELPHIA -- This time a year ago, Travis Sanheim was going to bed safe in the comfort of his status as a member of the mighty AAA Midget Yellowhead Chiefs. On Saturday morning -- Sunday at the latest -- he'll wake up with a new jersey draped over his hotel room furniture. New York Rangers or Winnipeg Jets or Montreal Canadiens or Florida Panthers or any one of 30 teams. Goodbye Elkhorn, hello NHL. Knocking the smile off Sanheim's square-jawed and very lightly whiskered (a nicer way of saying peach-fuzzed) face is understandably impossible these days. "I was just hoping to make Calgary's roster this year. I never imagined this could all happen," said the 18-year-old Sanheim, born and raised in Elkhorn and chosen by the Calgary Hitmen in the ninth round (177th overall) of the 2011 WHL Bantam Draft.
  • No joke -- Jets have decision at centre ice

    On the surface, the question is "Will the Winnipeg Jets be better with or without Olli Jokinen?" but the deeper consideration is "Can they afford to have him taking up space in the lineup?" If re-signed, Jokinen would come back as the Jets' third-line centre and there is evidence to suggest that's not a bad fit if the price is reasonable. However, the true issue for an organization in the development stage hinges more on what a commitment to Jokinen does to the growth of centre prospect Adam Lowry.
  • O'Shea's gotta keep a lid on his temper

    Mike O'Shea is going to have to figure out how to be a little less like Mike O'Shea. After a playing career of small-picture focus, where winning each battle, play and game dominated his very existence, O'Shea is now going to need to look at the big picture and take a loss now and again to make future gains. If O'Shea allows his unbridled passion for winning to bubble over early in this season, he may very well impede the growth of his Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
  • Grey Cup is in our blood, our mud, our beer

    From Mosca to Flutie to Ploen to Lancaster to Walby and Buono, the Canadian Football League is what it is because it's nationwide with a soul that is distinctly Canuck. On the Prairies, across the Rockies, in La Belle Province and down among the big shoulders of Ontario's cities, this game is played in our backlots, high schools, campuses and biggest stadiums.

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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