Gary Lawless

  • There's a double standard in the way the Kings are treating Mike Richards

    The optics are awful. Wife beater and elite defenceman gets paid. Declining centre has the remaining five years of his contract worth $22 million voided for illegal possession of pain pills. Los Angeles Kings defenceman Slava Voynov beat and choked his wife, sending her to the hospital. Voynov is currently in jail. When he was charged last season, the NHL suspended him and the Kings continued to pay him. Eventually a deal was worked out between the league and the NHLPA to give the Kings salary cap relief. Voynov’s future with the Kings is unclear.
  • Bombers disappointing again, but Marve a ray of Blue hope

    So, life without Drew Willy may not be a post-apocalyptic wasteland for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers after all. The Bombers head to the bye at 3-5 having lost two games in a row but with evidence third-string quarterback now turned starter Robert Marve doesn’t equate to a loss before the game even begins.
  • Argos GM Barker's patience pays off

    Toronto -- In some ways it's been the worst job in the CFL these last few years. It just might turn out to be the best.  
  • So far, Blue has been so-so

    Some losses represent nothing more than a 60-minute failure, to be compartmentalized and quickly moved past. Others represent more far-reaching issues. Sunday’s spanking at the hands of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats is a little bit of both for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
  • Take solace, Bombers fans

    The Hamilton Tiger-Cats are the best team in the country right now. The Winnipeg Blue Bombers? Well, they have a better record than the Saskatchewan Roughriders, but that’s about it. This was as much about the Tiger-Cats playing near-perfect football as it was about the Bombers having their worst game of the season.
  • Hamilton's the cat's meow

    HAMILTON — The game Sunday afternoon between the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and Winnipeg Blue Bombers will be decided on the field by players and coaches, but the home side goes into it with an edge derived from being a superior organization. The Bombers are getting better, but what they want to be is Hamilton, with a mature and developed football department with a roster to match. It doesn’t happen overnight and once you get there, it’s just as hard to maintain. It starts with a plan and then getting the right people.
  • Big Blue don’t need miracles, they need consistency

    TORONTO — Unless the Winnipeg Blue Bombers miraculously morph from average to elite overnight, the next six games are about staying in the race. Almost assuredly nothing more, and hopefully for their fans, nothing less. More is unrealistic. Less? Well, it will increase the likelihood of empty November dates and mounting heat on the current management regime.
  • Tiger-Cats go to head of the class

    A third of the way into the 2015 CFL season one thing has come into focus: nothing is clear. There is no definitive favourite in the league and if the playoffs were to start tomorrow, Las Vegas would put a whole bunch of pick ’ems on the board. Six of the league’s nine teams have three victories or more, and four is the highest win total shared by Edmonton and Calgary. Two clubs (Montreal Alouettes and B.C. Lions) have a pair of wins and are not far removed from the playoff picture. Only the Saskatchewan Roughriders, 0-6 and on the verge of being clinically diagnosed as wholly dysfunctional, appear out of the running.
  • Bombers lacking balance

    Take the win, Blue Bombers, enjoy the moment and be happy with the 3-3 record. Then look in the mirror and realize you have pimples. Lots of them. Too many to get a prom date. Too many to take a yearbook picture. Too many to leave the house for anything but a tube of Clearasil.
  • Denmark goes deep

    Clarence Denmark knows a thing or two about getting open but admits he’s not as good at opening up. It takes a little while. Maybe it’s the second glass of wine, or maybe it’s the restaurant’s buzzing atmosphere. Perhaps it’s the breaking down of some barriers and the building of a little trust. Eventually, the confidence and will that make Denmark different than most begins to show.
  • It’s payback time

    It would have been patronizing had Mike O’Shea been all warm and cuddly with the media Monday. Worse, it would have screamed of desperation. For O’Shea to have stooped to pandering would suggest a state of great fragility.
  • Don't hammer Hurl

    Future Hall of Famer and Blue Bombers head coach Mike O’Shea, who played middle linebacker in the CFL for 16 years, should know something about the position. He and defensive co-ordinator Richie Hall keep starting Sam Hurl in this critical spot despite a mounting wave of public criticism. So, who is right? The coaches or the fans? First it was my neighbour telling me he didn’t think much of Hurl’s play. Then came radio callers, also piling on Hurl. The kid just can’t play, they said. Hurl pales in comparison to legends such as Greg Battle, went the refrain.
  • Take Trouba in the long run

    Faced with the choice of putting long-term money into Jacob Trouba or Dustin Byfuglien, the safer bet is the kid. No offence to Byfuglien and his immense abilities, but Trouba is the long play here and his presence in a Jets uniform for years to come must be the priority. Keeping both would be great, but if it’s one or the other, Trouba gets the nod and the cash.
  • Time for Bomber fans to show patience with rebuild

    Hopefully, Kyle Walters doesn’t pay attention to the ever-present reminder of when the Blue Bombers last won a Grey Cup. It’s real and it’s painful but mostly irrelevant and potentially counter-productive to the here and now. Folks in Winnipeg want a championship and they deserve one. But with every slip up — last week’s avoidable loss to the Calgary Stampeders for instance — the most popular statistic in town becomes the number of years (25) since the franchise last won a Grey Cup.
  • Signing Andrew Ladd (or not) is first piece in Jets' complicated puzzle

    Andrew Ladd doesn’t have to drop his demands. Heaven can wait and so can the captain of the Winnipeg Jets. Ladd is going to get a six-year contract with an average annual value north of $6 million. He’ll either get it in Winnipeg or he’ll get it somewhere else. Argue all you want about his value in Winnipeg, and that’s certainly a discussion worth having, but don’t try and short Ladd in a 30 or even 32-team NHL.
  • Loads of work ahead

    Willy or no Willy, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers have a long way to go. Sure, one can make the argument the Bombers would have fared better than the 52-26 drubbing they suffered at the hands of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Thursday night had quarterback Drew Willy lasted longer than the first quarter. But it’s also clear the local pros are missing a number of elements.
  • Chevy gambles, loses on game of to and Fro

    So, what happened with Michael Frolik and why isn’t he a member of the Winnipeg Jets anymore? Was it money? Was it term? Or was it a player simply wanting to move on? Did Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff drive too hard a bargain or did Frolik’s agent, Allan Walsh, use Winnipeg to leverage the best out-of-town deal he could make?
  • Chevy making a name for himself with NHL draft

    Kevin Cheveldayoff looked tired. His suit was a touch rumpled from sitting at the draft table all Saturday afternoon and his hair was mussed. But more than anything else, he seemed beat. He rubbed his eyes a few times and held them closed while forming answers to questions on the future of his franchise. The man building a reputation as one of the top young GMs in the game had just concluded two days of adding to his prospect pool with a draft many around the NHL considered the best of the weekend.
  • Jets' Chipman, Maurice weigh in on off-season developments

    FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Mark Chipman isn’t sure what he thinks of expansion, Paul Maurice likes 3-on-3, there is room on the roster for Nik Ehlers and Connor Hellebuyck will have to elbow his way into a spot with the Winnipeg Jets. On Day 2 of the 2015 NHL draft — while Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff continued to add to his team’s prospect pool — team chairman Chipman was available for a few questions, as was head coach Maurice.
  • Best deal often the one that’s not made

    Sunrise, Fla. — Moving up didn’t happen for the Winnipeg Jets. Now the team will hope the 2015 Draft will fall into the category of the best deals sometimes being the ones not made. Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff admitted Friday night following the draft he had offered the Arizona Coyotes a package for their third pick overall in the first round but was rebuffed. Instead, Cheveldayoff selected a pair of forwards in Kyle Connor and Jack Roslovic and the early returns are positive.
  • Some NHL draft picks jump out at a team, while others take research and skill

    FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Jacob Trouba knew what was happening seconds before his name was called, but it took a year of study and background work before his selection by the Winnipeg Jets became a reality. “I thought the Jets liked me and I was projected to go ninth, so I knew there was a chance. Pittsburgh was another team that had shown interest but they took (Derrick) Pouliot eighth,” said the Jets defenceman in an interview with the Free Press earlier this week. “A few minutes later the TV cameras started running my way and I knew Winnipeg was going to take me. Then they called my name and I just started smiling. It was great. It didn’t all sink in until later when I got back to the hotel. But it was a great moment.”
  • Chevy's time to shine

    FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.. -- Like Jackie Gleason in his memorable turn as Minnesota Fats, Kevin Cheveldayoff will change his shirt and wash his face before taking his chair at the head of the Jets table here in Fort Lauderdale Friday night. No felt and no cue as in The Hustler but lots on the line for Cheveldayoff's Winnipeg Jets. For a man who works mostly in the shadows, this is his time up front. No Bryan Little or Tyler Myers. This is Chevy's show.
  • Bombers look blah, but it's early

    The Winnipeg Blue Bombers are not ready. And they may not be for some time. Sorry to break it to you, but this project is going to need a little more time. Maybe, July, maybe August. Maybe longer. Continuity breeds productivity. Change brings its own set of challenges, and the Bombers, who will be better for it in the end, must now face the reality of their off-season.
  • O’Shea moulding Blue Bombers in his image — tough and organized

    Mike O’Shea has been carrying a clipboard around Blue Bombers training camp. He just never looks at it. One year in and O’Shea’s message and directives are hitting home.
  • Easy going Bryant brings charisma, athleticism to Bombers field

    There are some people in life we just want to be around. They are magnets and women, men and children like to be in their orbit. Stanley Bryant is one of those people. To be honest, it’s easiest in this job to dehumanize the subjects we cover. Make them numbers and nothing more. When they do something great or when they stumble, what is written about them has it’s genesis in that moment and isn’t coloured by past interactions. That’s not going to be easy with Bryant.

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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