Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Yep, new stadium a beauty all right

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Back in 2006 at the last Grey Cup this city hosted, lots of out-of-town guests were badmouthing our football stadium. It was impossible to argue with them.

The old stadium had become an embarrassment. It wasn't the calling card this innovative, resilient and authentic city deserves.

The new stadium is just what the city warrants. It is iconic and stylish. It's the best outdoor facility in the country and it's not even close.

The Bombers offered Free Press sports editor Steve Lyons and myself a tour on Friday and it was hard not to be impressed.

The football club won't say how complete the stadium will be on opening night, but after what I saw on Friday, it's going to be very close to 100 per cent.

Get ready for a great football viewing experience, Winnipeg. You deserve it.

KEANE A COACH: Winnipeg native Mike Keane would be a perfect fit on Patrick Roy's coaching staff with the Colorado Avalanche. Keane knows more about the penalty kill and defensive strategy than many coaches in the NHL and any staff would be lucky to have his input.

Some will argue he needs some coaching experience before getting an NHL job but I don't buy it. Keane has proven himself as a competitor, player and hockey mind over and over again. Adding him to an NHL staff as an assistant coach can have no downside.

Q UNDER FIRE: It's no secret there is and has been tension between Chicago Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman and his coach Joel Quenneville. The Hawks also employ Hall of Fame coach Scotty Bowman as a consultant and father and son have been critical of their coach.

If the Hawks bow out fast to the Detroit Red Wings after a brilliant regular season it could provide the impetus they need to make a hard call on Quenneville.

HOWARD THE HERO: Back when Jimmy Howard was tending goal for the Grand Rapids Griffins in the AHL it was hard to imagine he would one day be the kind of goalkeeper he has developed into in the NHL. Howard has always been consistent, however, and that's what is the foundation of his success with the Detroit Red Wings.

If nothing else, Howard would always stop the pucks he was supposed to stop. He might not steal many games for you but he won't be the cause of a loss.

ACT FAST: Right now there are only two NHL head coaching openings with Dallas and Vancouver having vacancies. There are some teams with coaches under contract that may be mulling a move. Today it's a buyer's market but it could quickly become a seller's. There are rumblings in Chicago, New York and San Jose that could develop into change. Candidates such as Alain Vigneault, Lindy Ruff, Dallas Eakins and Scott Arniel are all stacked up and looking at the same two jobs. Today, the teams have leverage but soon it could be the top candidates with all the choice. Ruff and Vigneault will likely want to wait to see what openings are yet to come, but such patience could be tested with a quick and strong offer.

gary.lawless@freepress.mb.ca Twitter: @garylawless

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 25, 2013 C1

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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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