Gary Lawless

  • Hiring coach comes first

    CALGARY -- It's a long, thorny to-do list Kevin Cheveldayoff will have in front of him this summer. The Jets might be done on the ice but the GM is about to get extremely busy.
  • Hiring coach comes first

    CALGARY — It’s a long, thorny to-do list Kevin Cheveldayoff will have in front of him this summer. The Jets might be done on the ice but the GM is about to get extremely busy.
  • Dealing with the Joker

    Dreadful his first year with the Winnipeg Jets, Olli Jokinen redeemed himself this season -- but where does he go from here? The big centre, scheduled to become a free-agent in July, says he can maintain his current level, or even raise it. But what if he is to regress?
  • Bombers not letting defence rest

    A more talented, experienced and violent defence will make the Winnipeg Blue Bombers a better football team and lead them to more wins this season. The snow has just begun to melt here and only a handful of Bombers are in town these days, but off-season scouting, spending and signings already tell the tale of how this team will be constructed and compete this summer.
  • Jets coach lays down the law

    The reason Evander Kane was scratched Saturday will remain a mystery for a while but the response of his teammates to the discipline laid down by coach Paul Maurice was as evident as the absence of the man who calls himself the Natural. The Jets, with their season a failure and the playoffs gone, put forth one of their best efforts of the season against Toronto. They worked and sacrificed and bled like this was a real, live playoff game.
  • Jets 87ed by Pittsburgh

    Nothing about the Pittsburgh Penguins right now gives the impression they're about to go on a lengthy playoff run. Nothing but the guy wearing No. 87. The Pens, with a 4-2 win over the Jets on Thursday, have now won five of their last 11 games. Not exactly peaking for the playoffs, but it should be noted they've been locked into their No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference for some time.
  • Jets Nation delivers

    It was late Tuesday night in a Glendale, Ariz., pub with a 4 a.m. wake-up call beginning to feel less than glamorous when the true spirit of Winnipeg Jets fans washed over me. Give Jets Nation credit. They travel well and they're more about love of hockey, their Jets and their hometown than anything else.
  • Status quo won't do it for Jets

    Glendale, Ariz. — Losing can’t go on forever and there must be a day of reckoning. It has arrived. It’s time to give the Jets’ core group of players a boost, to trade a major part for a few smaller ones in order to supplement the talented heart of this team and help them reach their potential.
  • Finnish flashback

    ANAHEIM -- Give the nod to California where the weather and lifestyle are concerned, but Teemu Selanne says Winnipeg is tops for street hockey. "They would just come up to the door and knock. I didn't have any kids so I would say 'sure.' It was fun. I liked playing street hockey," recalled Selanne, who had Winnipeg kids banging on his door back when he lived on Campbell Street in River Heights. "Here in California they can't even get close to the door. Gated communities and two Rottweilers. Winnipeg is such a safe place. You never worried about anything."
  • Jets fold like cheap accordions

    ANAHEIM -- This, for two periods at least, is the way Paul Maurice wants his Winnipeg Jets to play. The third period and overtime? That's the team that got Claude Noel fired.
  • Pavs under siege

    LOS ANGELES -- It took just 20 minutes for the debate to flare up again. Three goals in one period on 16 shots had Jets Nation screaming about the work of Ondrej Pavelec.
  • OK, OK, Buff can stay

    LOS ANGELES -- No longer shall I bellow in this space that Dustin Byfuglien should be traded. Call it a mea culpa, call it a change of heart. Call it whatever you want. The Jets are 14-10-4 with Byfgulien as a forward and 19-22-5 with him as a defenceman. The move is working.
  • Never a dull moment

    LOS ANGELES -- From Babygate to the cold reality of another season ending in disappointment to a startling performance against one of the NHL's best teams, things are far from boring around the Winnipeg Jets these days. The Jets could have checked out by now, having realized their playoff dreams have morphed into another late-season nightmare, but that hasn't been the case. They put in a strong effort on Monday in a loss to the Dallas Stars and Thursday they knocked off Joe Thornton and his top-seeded San Jose Sharks. The Jets, whatever their faults, have not quit on themselves.
  • How low can Jets go?

    SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Every win now hurts. Maybe it feels good in the moment but it has the potential to damage the future of the Winnipeg Jets. The Jets are done. There will be no post-season for this team. They have too much ground to make up, too many teams to leapfrog and not enough track left to make it happen.
  • Maurice good fit for Jets

    SAN JOSE, Calif. — Paul Maurice doesn’t need a vote of confidence from the media or anyone else. If he wants the Winnipeg Jets head coaching job, it’s his. Maurice is the right fit for this organization as his experience gives him the right mix of hard edge and understanding ear needed to get the most out of this group of players.
  • The defence rests

    San Jose -- It's kind of like walking before you run in the NHL and all the best teams do it. They defend first and then turn their focus to scoring. It's the foundation most championship teams are now built upon. The Winnipeg Jets must make this step as individuals and as a team -- finding that mix where defending is second nature and flows naturally into offence. It's been a work in progress for a long time and to the extent Paul Maurice gets the Jets to accomplish improvement in this area, it will distinguish his time with the organization as a success or failure.
  • He's thanked his lucky Stars

    DALLAS -- Undrafted, unsigned and unwanted were the best words to describe the early years of Ryan Garbutt's pursuit of an NHL career. No longer, as the three-year, one-way contract worth $5.4 million the Winnipegger signed with the Dallas Stars this past January can attest.
  • Pavelec issue tough to figure

    Another season for the Winnipeg Jets and another poor overall performance in the crease. If the Jets are ever going to go from perennial springtime duds to playoff bloomers, they must improve their goals against. Priority No. 1. In Winnipeg, when the discussion turns to save percentage and stopping the puck, goaltender Ondrej Pavelec is a hot button topic.
  • Gutsy loss as clear a sign of growth as any

    The Winnipeg Jets literally showed more fight in Game 70 than they did in any other match this season, and while this will likely become the beginning of the end for this group, it will also mark the start of a new era. The Jets are not a playoff team, and there remains work to be done with this group, but there are positives in the way they have finished this season. Winning just once in their last eight games aside, it's clear in the way the Jets have gone about their business they've closed the gap.
  • Time to bring back Burmi

    Should the Winnipeg Jets retain Paul Maurice as coach for next season the first thing they should do is buy him a plane ticket for Russia. And then Latvia. The Jets have three players -- Alex Burmistrov, Ivan Telegin and Arturs Kulda -- who spent the season in the KHL and would better serve the organization in North America.
  • There's no magic in major makeover

    Draft and develop. Draft and develop. Draft and develop. Boy, does it get old when the results aren't readily visible at the NHL level. The Winnipeg Jets will miss the post-season for the third straight year and the easy but inaccurate conclusion is to write them and GM Kevin Cheveldayoff's work off as tired and ineffective.
  • It would be a different story if Scheifele were healthy

    The injury to rookie centre Mark Scheifele is ironically revealing in that it shows how thin the Jets are at this position, but at the same time, how close the organization is to being flush down the middle. In the NHL it all starts at the top and if a team has a legitimate No. 1 centre it can go a long way. Without such a player, as Jets fans have witnessed for three years, the waiting becomes the hardest part.
  • Jets struggling to find strong lineup without Scheifele

    The fear the minute rookie Mark Scheifele went down was whether the Jets could weather having such a hole appear in their lineup -- and so far, the answer has been a resounding "no." Winless in three games without Scheifele, four straight losses if one includes the night the first-year standout suffered a knee injury, the Jets have struggled to find a lineup that works without the Kitchener native at centre.
  • Start getting excited, Bombers fans

    The first thing Kyle Walters did as new GM of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers was look at the football operations budget and cut a big chunk out of the department's top salary and then plow it right back into scouting and coaching. Coupled with a renewed commitment from the front office to spend more on football, the dividends have already been large. With the hiring of Buck Pierce as a running backs coach Friday, Bombers coach Mike O'Shea announced he'll have a coaching staff of 11 this season, which is two more than last year and the largest in club history according to the communications department.
  • Time wasn't right for Chevy to deal high-end prospects

    The smart play, the percentage move, would have been to sell but in the end, Kevin Cheveldayoff didn't have much choice other than to stand pat. The minute the Jets GM was informed rookie centre Mark Scheifele would miss the rest of the regular season, his plans to add to his roster and enhance his team's chances to reach the playoffs had to change.

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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