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Hockey

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The GIST's Bits & Bites - CAN

February 25, 2021
Source: Jeff McIntosh/CP
Source: Jeff McIntosh/CP

🥌Curling: It’s almost playoff time at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts. Today is the last day of round robin play, and reigning champion skip Kerri Einarson and her Team Canada have one last obstacle ahead of an undefeated record: three-time Scotties champ Rachel Homan and Team Ontario. Follow all the “hurry hard!” action here

🏒Hockey: It’s going to be a big weekend for the PWHPA. Saturday marks the start of the 2021 Dream Gap Tour, with a primetime game between Team New Hampshire and Team Minnesota in New Jersey before Sunday’s megashow: the first-ever pro women’s hockey game at Madison Square Garden in NYC.

  • And even better...we get to watch it live! Sportsnet will air the 8 p.m. ET game, with play calling from PWHPA member Blake Bolden, a leading force in the drive for diversity in hockey. Can’t wait. 

⚽️Soccer: Oh no, Canada. With an unfortunate 2–0 loss to Brazil yesterday, Team Canada ended the SheBelieves Cup on a low note. Although two losses and one win wasn’t the strongest showing, how nice was it to see this team out on the pitch again? They’ll be back in action in a friendly against England on April 13th. 

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The GIST's Quick Hits - CAN

February 25, 2021
Source: Sportsnet Stats/Twitter
Source: Sportsnet Stats/Twitter

🏒NHL: The North Division witnessed its first coaching casualty yesterday. Hours after the middle-of-the-pack Montreal Canadiens lost their second straight game to the lowly Ottawa Senators, the Habs fired head coach Claude Julien and assistant coach (and former Habs captain) Kirk Muller.

  • In the interim, the Habs replaced Julien with assistant coach Dominique Ducharme, and filled the assistant spot with former Vancouver Canucks star Alex Burrows. Watch how the Canadiens respond to the shakeup against the Winnipeg Jets tonight at 8 p.m. ET.

🏀NBA: Don’t call it a comeback...yet. After a miserable start to the season (we’re talking 2-8 in the first 10 games), the Toronto Raptors are sitting pretty in fifth place in the Eastern Conference. Sure, the East only has four of 15 teams with winning records, but hey, we’ll take it.

  • That said, at 16-17, the Raps aren’t one of those teams. Even with Kyle Lowry back in the line-up (he put up 24 points in his return), the Raps still lost 116–108 to the Miami Heat last night.
  • They’ll have a chance to make it to .500 tomorrow night at 7:30 p.m. ET against the Houston Rockets.

🏒Auston Matthews and Connor McDavid Dominate NHL North Division

February 22, 2021
Source: NHL.com
Source: NHL.com

Matthews: The Toronto Maple Leaf is en fuego. He leads the league in goals with 18, is on a 16-game points streak (one point for each goal and assist) and recently recorded back-to-back four-point games. 

  • Those 18 goals have been scored in 18 games. If he can keep the goal-per-game average running for the whole season, he could be the first player to average at least one goal/game since Cam Neely in the 1993-94 season. 
  • The Leafs, for their part, have rebounded nicely since last week’s collapse against the Ottawa Senators, and are on a three-game winning streak. They’ve racked up 30 points to lead the division, six ahead of the number two team: the Edmonton Oilers.

McDavid: Speaking of the Oilers, they’ve relied on their star player to lead them to a three-game winning streak of their own. McDavid leads the league in points at 37 (25 of those being assists, such a giver), over 20 games for a 1.85 point per game average.

  • If he keeps it up (and with Leon Draisaitl, the other half of the Oilers’ dynamic duo, by his side, he should be able to), McDavid will record the highest point-per-game average since Mario Lemieux in 1995-1996. In good company. 

Head-to-head: We’re in for a real treat. After the Leafs complete a two-game homestand against the struggling Calgary Flames this week, they’ll travel to Edmonton for a three-game stint against the Oilers, starting Saturday night. Matthews versus McDavid on Hockey Night In Canada. How did we get so lucky?

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The GIST's Quick Hits - Canada

February 18, 2021
SOURCE: MATT KING/GETTY IMAGES
SOURCE: MATT KING/GETTY IMAGES

🏒Hockey: Are the Toronto Maple Leafs okay? The top team in the North classically collapsed against the last place Ottawa Senators on Monday and then had another rough go against their cross-province rivals last night. 

  • Sure, they won 2–1, but they didn’t look like a top team playing a bottom team. Maybe the upcoming one-year anniversary of their loss to a Zamboni driver is weighing on them?

🥌Curling: Hurry hard — it’s time for the Scotties Tournament of Hearts! The annual women’s curling championship is kicking off tomorrow in a Calgary bubble without fans (a true travesty because curling fans are a fun time). 

  • Each province and territory will be represented by one team, plus the reigning Team Canada champ and three wild card entries, for a total of 18 teams. 
  • And as usual, Team Manitoba (led by skip Jennifer Jones) and Team Ontario (led by Rachel Homan) are the overwhelming favorites. Sweet Sweep!

🎾Tennis: Just a bit more tennis news to bookend The GIST today. Bianca Andreescu is finding her footing again. After last week’s tough loss, she made it to the semifinals of the Phillip Island Trophy (a consolation tournament for the early Aussie Open losers). 

  • Unfortunately, she lost last night’s match to Marie Bouzková, but with a full calendar of upcoming WTA tournaments, she’ll be back on the court in no time. 
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The GIST's Bits & Bites: Canada

February 11, 2021
Source: Canada Basketball/Twitter
Source: Canada Basketball/Twitter

🏀WNBA: Here’s a live look of us trying to keep up with yesterday’s league-altering trades. You can check out a full breakdown here, but there’s one you must know about now: Canadian Kia Nurse (of the insanely athletic Nurse family) was traded from the New York Liberty to the Phoenix Mercury. 

  • It’s bittersweet. We were so stoked to see what she could do with the Liberty’s 2020 No. 1 draft pick Sabrina Ionescu (pronounced YO-NESS-COO), but now Nurse gets to join forces with legend Diana Taurasi on a playoff-contending team.

🎓🏀College basketball: Hoops fans, rejoice. There had been rumors of a bubble for the women’s March Madness tournament (the men’s was already confirmed), and the NCAA made things official last Friday, announcing that the tournament will be held in San Antonio and the surrounding region. Swish.

🏒NHL: After being traded from the Columbus Blue Jackets, Pierre-Luc Dubois finally made his debut for the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday. And even though he had a quiet night, the Jets are definitely the winners in this trade. 

  • Sure, the player they sent to Columbus, Patrik Laine (pronounced LIE-NAY), has already notched three goals in four games, but he was also benched on Monday after “verbally disrespecting” a coach. C’mon man.