Gary Lawless

  • Babcock’s $50-million deal has the coaches’ gravy train ready to roll

    Mike Babcock took a huge step for his fellow NHL coaches by promoting himself as a free agent and scoring the largest contract in the history of his fraternity. His brothers now need to band together and demand salary disclosure to further their own cause and not let his work fall by the wayside. Gordie Howe didn’t know what the rest of the players in the NHL made. Neither did Bobby Orr. No one knew Scotty Bowman was making an unheard-of $200,000 when he left the Montreal Canadiens to coach the Buffalo Sabres. Salary disclosure changed the pay scale for players in the NHL and it will do the same for coaches.
  • The $50-million coach

    Mike Babcock's signing with the Toronto Maple Leafs brings forth two reactions: He’s not worth $50 million over eight years, and I’m glad he got it. Babcock, formerly the bench boss with the Detroit Red Wings, is among the best coaches in the NHL. When given the top players in the world, as he has been on two occasions coaching Team Canada at the Olympics, he’s been able to get the most from the best.
  • Strife over Investors Group Field is hurting the Bombers

    Money is the lifeblood of any pro sports organization and fans of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers should be concerned about the state of their stadium, how it's going to get fixed and who is going to pay for it. They should also be worried about the folks in charge, some of whom have been intimately involved in the mess known as Investors Group Field.
  • Frolik not worth huge $

    The late and great Don Baizley would be the perfect moderator for what appears to be stalled negotiations between the Winnipeg Jets and agent Alan Walsh on the Michael Frolik file. Frolik, who is soon to be an unrestricted free agent, would be better served earning a figure that doesn't get a lot of attention. Too much money and the expectations will become unrealistic for a player who does the little things better than the big things.
  • Little progress in Frolik talks

    The late and great Don Baizley would be the perfect moderator for what appears to be a stalled negotiation between the Winnipeg Jets and agent Alan Walsh on the Michael Frolik file. Frolik, who will soon qualify as an unrestricted free agent, would be better served earning a figure that doesn’t get a lot of attention. Too much money and the expectations will become unrealistic for a player who does the little things better than the big things.
  • Willy extension shows Bombers have changed their ways

    This was so un-Bombers-like. Progressive, smart and forward-thinking. None of the things this franchise had recently been known for, prior to Kyle Walters and his ascension to the GM’s chair. No, the Bombers’ way would have been to scrimp on the cash this season and then watch Drew Willy progress and come into his own as a starting quarterback — just as his contract expired, and with any number of CFL teams anxious to slide a juicy offer his way in an attempt to pry him out of Winnipeg.
  • After years of losing to Toews, Weise would welcome Hawks-Habs final

    For most players, a trip to the Stanley Cup final is the goal. A career-defining moment to be treasured. Dale Weise is hoping he can also mix a little revenge into a championship chase. We caught up with the Winnipeg native just after a practice in Montreal earlier this week as his Canadiens were preparing for a second-round opponent, now revealed to be the Tampa Bay Lightning.
  • Settling an old grudge

    For most players, a trip to the Stanley Cup final is the goal. A career-defining moment to be treasured. Dale Weise is hoping he can also mix a little revenge into a championship chase. We caught up with the Winnipeg native just after a practice in Montreal earlier this week as his Canadiens were preparing for a second-round opponent, now revealed to be the Tampa Bay Lightning.
  • Bombers better off betting on Willy earning a raise

    Contract extensions are generally cheaper than deals made up against the threat of free agency and in the CFL -- where nothing is guaranteed -- protecting a franchise asset such as Drew Willy is easy math. Winnipeg Blue Bombers GM Kyle Walters can pay a little more now and still walk away if his quarterback fails to live up to expectations. Or he can wait, and if Willy has a huge year, lose control of the negotiations and the cost.
  • Bombers must get off wallet and sign Willy

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  • In boxing, money talks, domestic violence walks

    Floyd Mayweather Jr. beats men in the ring and women outside of it. And Saturday night many of us will watch him participate in the most lucrative fight in the history of boxing against Manny Pacquiao. There have been calls for Mayweather, who has been accused of violence against five different women on seven occasions over the last 13 years, to face sanctions for his history of domestic abuse. But it's boxing and it's Las Vegas. Not gonna happen. There's no commissioner to vilify. No league to blame. Just a promoter counting money and looking for the next score.
  • Mayweather's history of domestic violence is proof that in boxing, money is king

    Floyd Mayweather beats men in the ring and women outside of it. And Saturday night many of us will watch him participate in the most lucrative fight in the history of boxing. There have been calls for Mayweather, who has been accused of violence against five different women on seven occasions over the last 13 years, to face sanctions for his history of domestic abuse. But it’s boxing and it’s Las Vegas. Not gonna happen. There’s no commissioner to vilify. No league to blame. Just a promoter counting money and looking for the next score.
  • Playoffs a classroom for Scheifele

    Mark Scheifele referred to himself on Friday as still being a little kid. In some ways that sums up the Jets as a team and an organization. The young centreman is the first player Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff drafted, making Scheifele the perfect barometer for where this organization sits today — on its way, but with lots of room for improvement.
  • Chevy's got work to do

    And now Kevin Cheveldayoff must decide what he saw: A young team with lots of parts that is still learning or a group that simply isn't good enough to compete with the NHL's best teams.  
  • GM can use post-season failure to make Jets better

    And now Kevin Cheveldayoff must decide what he saw: A young team with lots of parts that is still learning or a group that simply isn’t good enough to compete with the NHL’s best teams. Emotions will be running high right now after last night’s 5-2 series-clinching loss to the Anaheim Ducks. Cheveldayoff, however, can’t fall into that trap and overreact.
  • Lapses show Jets are in over their heads

    It was the morning after a game made memorable for both its historical significance as well as the way it played out on the ice. The responses offered up by the Winnipeg Jets Tuesday show exactly where they are as a team right now -- still learning.
  • Jets admit to playoff learning curve

    It was the morning after a game made memorable for both its historical significance as well as the way it played out on the ice. The responses offered up by the Winnipeg Jets Tuesday show exactly where they are as a team right now — still learning. In some ways, the Jets looked much like the team they were prior to Paul Maurice’s arrival during the day-after scrums. Searching for answers and unsure of where to go next.
  • Jets still just little ducklings

    The Winnipeg Jets are getting a lesson in playoff hockey. A lesson that hurts, but one that is a necessary rite of passage nonetheless. The Anaheim Ducks waver a bit here and there, but they finish. The Jets, through three games in which they have led in the third period, do not.
  • Jets still just little ducklings

    The Winnipeg Jets are getting a lesson in playoff hockey. A lesson that hurts but one that is a necessary right of passage nonetheless. The Anaheim Ducks waver a bit here and there but they finish. The Jets, through three games in which they have led in the third period, do not.
  • Jets like the mystery carton in your fridge

    The Winnipeg Jets are like that mystery carton of milk in your fridge with the smudged expiry date. Take a sniff, maybe a small sip. Sour? Past its date and ready for the trash? Or still fresh enough to pour on your kid's Cheerios? We'll find out in Game 3 tonight. The Jets have returned home trailing the Anaheim Ducks two games to none in this best-of-seven Stanley Cup playoff series. So there is a hint of desperation in the air. Who are we kidding? It's more of a thick fog.
  • Candid Carlyle wants back in

    ANAHEIM, Calif. — Randy Carlyle is sitting just under the roof of the Honda Center and about as far away from the ice as possible. He hates it. “I’m ready to coach again. I’m ready to coach now. It’s not that I’m going crazy, but I love coaching,” said the 58-year-old Carlyle, looking and feeling better than he has in a long time, with a bit of a tan and a sound back, after having recovered from successful surgery.
  • Time to get tougher, Buff

    ANAHEIM, Calif. — Dustin Byfuglien needs to be the heartbeat. The presence. The bully. He has to be confident, brash and loose. Bold Buff is the player others fear. Bashful Buff? Not so much. Byfuglien must be an impact player for the Winnipeg Jets to have a chance in this NHL playoff series against the Anaheim Ducks. He has to be physical and he has to be involved in the offence.
  • It will work in Winnipeg: Chipman and Co. set to contend for a long time

    ANAHEIM, Calif. — It’s one thing for zealots wearing white from head to toe to pine for the playoffs and beyond. It’s another thing altogether for the man footing the bills to admit internal expectations have now been raised as well as the ability to pay for them. For an organization that has repeatedly talked of patience and following a plan, Jets chairman Mark Chipman’s exclusive remarks to the Free Press on Thursday morning were more than just a little revealing.
  • Don't underestimate Winnipeg's Mr. Big

    Bryan Little is the most underrated top line centre in the NHL, but when this series is over his Winnipeg Jets will be advancing and the hockey world will know a lot more about his game. The battle between the marquee centres of the Anaheim Ducks and the low key pivots of the Jets will decide this series.
  • Playoff pieces firmly in place

    ANAHEIM -- For many of the Winnipeg Jets, not making the playoffs has been the only way they've known. But for the next generation -- the spawn of GM Kevin Cheveldayoff's draft and develop plan -- soon the only way of life they will understand will consist of ragged spring beards and increasingly shorter summers at the lake. Jacob Trouba, Mark Scheifele and Adam Lowry won't be spending half their careers bemoaning the fact they've never played in a playoff game. They plan on spending their careers building reputations earned beyond the regular season. And they're not waiting.

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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