Gary Lawless

  • Ryan finds his niche at Super Bowl XLIX

    PHOENIX — Jon Ryan steels himself as a strange face pushes forth from the crush of media day at Super Bowl 49 before visibly relaxing at the mention of Winnipeg. The scene is mad with over 3,000 members of the international media pressing up against the Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots as they prepare for this Sunday’s football game of all football games.
  • NFL can’t exactly preach from a high moral ground

    PHOENIX, Az. — The NFL, from its former players to its media horde to its Park Avenue suits, has been reduced to a passel of snitches and gossips. Call it the Desperate League of Shoulder Pads. From Hall of Fame quarterback turned broadcaster Troy Aikman wagging his finger at New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady to Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh and his claims of deception and “unfair advantages.”
  • Coyotes star had emergency surgery at HSC

    PHOENIX, Ariz. -- Mikkel Boedker was hoping to play a little golf over the NHL all-star break, but instead found himself recovering from emergency surgery and bunking at a friend's house in Winnipeg. The Arizona Coyotes' leading scorer took a hard hit from Winnipeg Jets defenceman Mark Stuart on Jan. 18 and ended up on an operating table later that night.
  • Substance over style

    Around here they're known as Little, Ladd and Wheeler. Elsewhere? They're really not even known. Maybe it's because Bryan Little is, well, too little. Maybe it's because Andrew Ladd doesn't have the flash most associate with a top-line winger. Maybe it's because Blake Wheeler's skill set makes him appear to be an odd fit with his linemates.
  • Outdoor game wasn't a fit

    Don't take it personal. Don't get angry. See it for what it is, and that's three business entities trying to work together while still forwarding individual agendas. Schedules conflict and issues arise. This isn't a divorce, it's a wedding postponement.
  • You mean this isn't Winnipeg?

    CHICAGO — Maybe the Winnipeg Jets should play all their games at the United Center. The Jets moved to 3-0 on the season against the mighty Chicago Blackhawks with a 4-2 victory at the Madhouse on Madison.
  • Star-strangled banner night

    DALLAS — There’s a reason Paul Maurice is the coach of the Winnipeg Jets and the rest of us are not. The man with 501 wins as an NHL bench boss knows more about hockey than the rest of us, for starters, and how to handle his team and his roster. With seemingly all of Winnipeg screaming for Michael Hutchinson to get the start in goal Thursday night, there was Maurice sticking to his plan and going with Ondrej Pavelec.
  • Jets' playoff payoff would be huge

    DALLAS, Texas -- Making the playoffs will be about far more than the great whiteout debate for the Winnipeg Jets should the team remain on its current trajectory. Cash, development opportunity and an improved perception of the team from within the organization and around the league will all be side effects of finally getting in the door.
  • City deserves a Selanne statue

    It's time for a permanent form of tribute to Teemu Selanne to be established here in Winnipeg. While retiring his jersey is problematic, and likely not very fitting, the idea of a bronzed statue of Selanne in his shooting-a-glove-out-of-the-air pose seems perfect.
  • Benevides still in contention for Blue post

    Let's call this from the lips of agents, GMs, players and coaches to the ears of a reporter. Some of the following information can be filed under In Case You Missed It or ICYMI for the cool kids in class. Consider it a grab bag of new information collected from a week on the phone and some stuff that's already been passed along on Twitter, radio or TV:
  • Jets are men on mission

    It's time for an adjusted perspective where the leadership group of the Winnipeg Jets is concerned. A little more than a year ago, Jets leaders -- namely Andrew Ladd, Blake Wheeler, Bryan Little, Dustin Byfuglien and Toby Enstrom -- were described in this space as being clubby, too comfortable and unwilling to challenge one another. While it was accurate at the time, it no longer holds water.
  • Ambitious plan for Blue

    Kyle WALTERS received a present from the Saskatchewan Roughriders and now he needs to steal a prized possession from one of his neighbours. Dominic Picard was a gift. Taking non-import offensive tackle Ben Heenan from the Riders or Canadian offensive lineman Tyler Holmes from the Toronto Argos with a big- ticket free agent offer would be theft. But that's exactly what Walters is planning on doing.
  • Jersey-tossers need to remember why they're fans

    ACCORDING to the legend, Serge Savard walked across the dressing room in the old Winnipeg Arena, bent down to pick a jersey up off the floor and handed it to the offending player saying only, "We can get mad. But we don't ever do that." Dale Hawerchuk was a rookie with the Jets at the time.
  • Sacking the coach ineffective, easy way out

    Sandwiched between entitled players and twitchy GMs trying to keep egomaniacal owners happy, today's NHL coach is in many cases predestined to fail. Hired to, "Just win, baby." Fired because it didn't happen, despite obvious and impossible obstacles to overcome. Too often, organizations fail their coach, regardless of the message delivered, in what has become ritual scapegoating within the NHL.
  • OK Pavs, it's your move

    Regardless of what Paul Maurice says about his team having a No. 1 goalie in net every night, a challenge has been placed at Ondrej Pavelec's feet and now he will respond or retreat.  
  • Pressure to compete rising for Jets

    Leadership, commitment and determination have all been areas of question for the Winnipeg Jets since their return, but it is exactly these qualities pushing this team's success these days. The Jets have flirted with the playoffs in all three of their previous seasons, while those runs proved ultimately to be hazy mirages, there's something much different about this group. The possibility of a collapse this spring is far more unlikely than it has been in the past.
  • Cope and hope

    The year 2014 was all about hope for Manitoba's sports community. Hope for better days ahead. Sochi Olympic gold for some of our province's best athletes was a welcome respite from the losing our professional teams had become best known for.
  • 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.

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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