Gary Lawless

  • Draft, develop, retain... sound familiar?

    CHICAGO -- Scotty Bowman might be a little biased -- seeing as his son Stan is the GM -- but when he reflects on the Chicago Blackhawks it's still an opinion coming from the greatest hockey mind on the planet. To borrow from the old investment commercial, when Scotty Bowman talks, hockey people listen. "There's no denying the Hawks got (Jonathan) Toews and (Patrick) Kane in back-to-back years in the draft, and you have to find a way to be pretty poor to draft that high. There's a difference between the first two or three guys and the rest of the draft most years," said Bowman, sitting in a cap in the United Center stands watching the Winnipeg Jets practise while chatting about today's game and players, coaches and media from the old days, too.
  • Jets need help fourth-with

    CHICAGO — It’s been hard to argue with Paul Maurice’s work this season. In many ways his handling of the Winnipeg Jets has been masterful. But a continued reliance on just three lines could prove to be his team’s undoing. Coaches often say, in deference to their bosses, they work with the players they have and don’t worry about things beyond their control. Not often will you hear a coach utter, “our fourth line sucks and we can’t win with this collection of players,” because the next thing he’d hear is the GM giving him the “don’t let the door hit you on the can” speech.
  • Buff worth his weight in gold

    The relationship between Dustin Byfuglien and the city of Winnipeg hasn't always been an easy one, but after some early adversity it just may turn out to be a bond destined to last. Never has Byfuglien's value to the Winnipeg Jets been as clear as now, while he holds this team's blue-line together playing a brand of defence featuring not only style but substance.
  • Two stand out against all other candidates

    Mike O'SHEA had no choice on Wednesday. He'll wake up today with a world of options, but two will stand out far above the rest. O'Shea had to fire his friend and defensive co-ordinator Gary Etcheverry. The Blue Bombers head coach looked for any bit of a wiggle room to keep Etcheverry on and couldn't find it.
  • Time to deal yourself in, Chevy

    One thing we know about Kevin Cheveldayoff is he's deliberate and won't bend on his principles. How that plays out over the next little stretch will have a major impact on the Winnipeg Jets and their hopes of being a playoff team this season. Cheveldayoff is working to acquire a defenceman to patch up his tattered blue-line. But he's playing with only the money in his jeans and history tells us he won't be making a trip to the ATM to juice up his offering.
  • Time to deal yourself in, Chevy

    One thing we know about Kevin Cheveldayoff is he’s deliberate and won’t bend on his principles. How that plays out over the next little stretch will have a major impact on the Winnipeg Jets and their hopes of being a playoff team this season. Cheveldayoff is working to acquire a defenceman to patch up his tattered blue-line. But he’s playing with only the money in his jeans and history tells us he won’t be making a trip to the ATM to juice up his offering.
  • Hutchinson deserves more

    If winning games is the metric by which the Winnipeg Jets judge themselves and are to be judged from the outside, it is time for Michael Hutchinson to be in goal more often. If Hutchinson plays and wins tonight, he should get the net in the next game Tuesday. He's earned it.
  • Outdoor games on Bettman's radar

    BOCA RATON, Fla. -- Work continues behind the scenes on an NHL outdoor game to be played in Winnipeg next season and a formal announcement and ticket launch is only months away. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said Tuesday after the league's board of governors meetings wrapped that he hoped to have a formal announcement on a World Cup of Hockey in the next couple of months and that a schedule of three to four outdoor games for the 2015-16 would follow.
  • Hey NHL: relocation, relocation, relocation

    BOCA RATON, Fla. -- Call it irony for this to be emanating from a seat in Winnipeg, but NHL owners should focus on contraction and not expansion. Too many nights there are players on the ice that don't meet the standard, and adding one or two teams and 50 new players would be a mistake.
  • MacT should follow Chevy's lead

    Frankly, not many sportswriters or fans would make good GMs. It's our job to overreact and push for unrealistic change. It's the job of a GM to know when to ignore us, which is almost always, and when to act on the rare occasion there is actually some wisdom in our ranting. In this area, Craig MacTavish could do worse than to corner Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff and ask for a lesson in patience.
  • MacT should follow Chevy’s lead

    Frankly, not many sportswriters or fans would make good GMs. It’s our job to overreact and push for unrealistic change. It’s the job of a GM to know when to ignore us, which is almost always, and when to act on the rare occasion there is actually some wisdom in our ranting. In this area, Craig MacTavish could do worse than to corner Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff and ask for a lesson in patience.
  • 'We wuz robbed': Ticats

    VANCOUVER -- A CFL season that saw officiating become a major storyline ended with the biggest call of the year going against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. The Stampeders will be holding a Grey Cup parade in a few days, but many will argue it should be Hamiltonians going to work with hangovers this week.
  • Thinking man takes Tabbies

    VANCOUVER -- The numbers say the Calgary Stampeders in a laugher, but they're lying to you. The only truth that matters will be revealed Sunday -- and the Hamilton Tiger-Cats will step forth as Grey Cup champions. The numbers favour the Calgary Stampeders in every way, saying they should easily win Sunday's Canadian football title game. But the statistical tale is a disguise the Hamilton Tiger-Cats will unmask en route to victory.
  • Hickman, Ticat D-line hold key to cup

    VANCOUVER -- The Hamilton Tiger-Cats' defensive line can't win the Grey Cup on Sunday but they can lose it. Very simply, if tackles Ted Laurent and Bryan Hall along with ends Justin Hickman and Eric Norwood can't take care of their business, the Calgary Stampeders will romp.
  • Stamps, Ticats show how it's done

    VANCOUVER -- Both men will vigorously deny the storyline, but the winning coach in Sunday's Grey Cup game takes a step toward greatness while a choker's collar will tighten up on the other. Perception is reality and fair is something one takes a pig to in order to win a ribbon. A second Grey Cup loss for either John Hufnagel or Kent Austin will begin talk of an inability to win the big game. For the winner, it's a step towards coaching immortality.
  • Ticats can't change stripes

    VANCOUVER -- Kent Austin may or may not be tempted to try to over-coach this game but he must resist and stick to what got his Hamilton Tiger-Cats here, and that's balance. Trying to swing from their collective heels will only get the Ticats punched into darkness.
  • Hamilton, football like beer, pretzels

    HAMILTON -- Sometimes we forget who we are and chase things that may not be in our best interest. Then we remember our history, the stuff we're made of and what's really important to us. Like Hamilton and its Tiger-Cats. Hamilton looks, smells, sounds and feels like a football town. Steel and football. Like its big brother Pittsburgh to the south, Hamilton and football just go together. Tough towns with tough people loving a sport carved into their culture.
  • Every scream is for his team

    HAMILTON — At points this season, boiling in a stew of adrenaline and anger, Hamilton Tiger-Cats coach Kent Austin has succumbed to petulance and over-the-top rage. There were moments he simply looked out of control. But Austin, who is cerebral, determined and the owner of a robust ego, says it’s all about high standards for himself and his team.
  • Weak 4th line will be costly

    What the Winnipeg Jets have been doing with three lines isn't sustainable, so the lack of a trustworthy and effective fourth line must be on GM Kevin Cheveldayoff's radar. Against strong competition that can roll four lines, the three-line Jets are vulnerable. This will only get worse as the season moves on and games become more fiercely contested.
  • Ice Crystal Gala's Thiessen sets fine example

    Hate and anger comes with the territory in this job but sometimes so does love and charity and reminders from everyday people that our world still has much goodness. Something as banal as writing and talking about sports can get some folks worked up. While many express disagreement in rational arguments, for others it's a reason to climb into the sewer.
  • Postma fits role to the letter

    Paul POSTMA could always do the big things but it's a newfound ability to consistently do the little things that has made all the difference in his game. Thursday's 4-3 loss to the Detroit Red Wings wasn't a game tape many of the Jets will be filing away for a peek come contract time but Postma had lots of strong moments and was one of Winnipeg's best players.
  • Postma fits role to the letter

    Paul Postma could always do the big things but it’s a newfound ability to consistently do the little things that has made all the difference in his game. Thursday’s 4-3 loss to the Detroit Red Wings wasn’t a game tape many of the Jets will be filing away for a peek come contract time but Postma had lots of strong moments and was one of Winnipeg’s best players.
  • There's substance to his game

    Picking holes in Zach Bogosian’s game used to be easy work, but if you want to badmouth his play right now you had better pack a lunch. It’ll take you all day to find fault. Bogosian has stepped into his role on the Jets top pairing to ride shotgun with No. 1 defender Toby Enstrom and he’s made it look easy.
  • A healthy Reilly spells doom for Stampeders

    EDMONTON -- Mike Reilly was just good enough to win Sunday in the West Division semifinal, but he'll have to be a lot better to clear the next hurdle. With the Saskatchewan Roughriders playing a Three Stooges style game, the Edmonton Eskimos escaped with an 18-10 win at Commonwealth Stadium. The Eskimos were far from brilliant themselves and it was Reilly's dull, steady play that made the difference. While all the other quarterbacks trotted out by either side were spitting up on themselves, Reilly at least kept his bib clean.
  • Put up or shut up

    EDMONTON -- There's a difference between being a big name and being able to deliver in the big game. Odell Willis finds himself at a crossroads in his career, holding a legacy that's loud but hollow. Is Willis simply a sideshow? An over-the-top act that gets by on physical gifts when the going is smooth then disappears when the stakes heighten?

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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