Gary Lawless

  • 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.
  • Toews the greatest Blackhawk

    HOCKEY is the ultimate team game and Jonathan Toews is the ultimate hockey player. His art is to immerse himself in the team. To do whatever is needed to make the team surge forward. To lead it, to underpin it, or be the grease that makes it run smoothly. Toews can lift others around him to greater heights. He can do it by stepping to the front of the stage for a solo or he can be one of a group pulling a rope to lift the curtain so another can have his moment.
  • Friday’s games tense, volatile contests

    It’s well and good to end these games with a “handshake for peace” as the trite little sign they trot out onto the pitch reads, but thank the soccer gods for finally bringing in some heat Friday. Missed fouls, flying elbows, colliding skulls and an energized crowd made for a fantastic day of soccer and set the stage for heightened action when the games resume early next week.
  • Wheaties boss looks poised to join Leafs

    THERE is serious speculation Kelly McCrimmon is leaving his Brandon Wheat Kings for the Toronto Maple Leafs, but if it happens, he won’t be selling the hockey team with which he has become synonymous. McCrimmon, owner/general manager and coach of the Western Hockey League club, isn’t talking right now but he’s got a huge decision to make. He’s wanted to make the leap to the NHL and test out his abilities at the highest level for some time.
  • Groundbreaking Swede ready to hang up her boots

    Therese Sjogran has been handed pink slips a couple of times in her career only to have them yanked back at the last second. This time, she’s filing her own retirement papers and walking away based on her own decision. With 201 international caps, Sweden’s most reliable footballer has earned that right.
  • Oh say, did you see?

    At times it sounded like a piano recital with stiff and polite applause. At others, it drifted into a full whine not unlike the backseat of a family car trip. Then finally, with an exhale and a roar, Team USA and its fan base behaved like world beaters. Despite a convincing 3-1 final score in a win over Australia, this sounded and looked like a team and its supporters living on reputation.
  • A night to forget for the Yanks, a day to remember for Winnipeg

    At times it sounded like a piano recital with stiff and polite applause. At others, it drifted into a full whine not unlike the backseat of a family car trip. Then finally, with an exhale and a roar, Team USA and its fan base behaved like world beaters. Despite a convincing 3-1 final score in a win over Australia, this sounded and looked like a team and its supporters living on reputation.
  • Intense Canuck turns heads

    Sam Hurl must be having a pretty good camp because head coach Mike O'Shea is even willing to break his own media rules when it comes to discussing the middle linebacker. O'Shea was asked who currently sits atop the depth chart at middle linebacker. The second-year boss's first instinct was to brush the question off.
  • Soccer is about to grow into adulthood in Canada

    It takes an extraordinary event to change our ways. Something has to grab our attention and spur our imagination. Isolated incidents can alter an individual, but to get an entire generation to change direction, the impetus must be huge. Welcome to the 2015 Women’s World Cup and the summer of soccer in Canada. In this country, we have Expo babies, children who literally got their start in life during the summer of 1967 as Canada hosted the world exposition in Montreal.

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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