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🎾A Canadian weekend

February 10, 2020
A Canadian weekend

Tennis: Canadian tennis player Vasek Pospisil made it to the final of the Open Sud de France tournament this weekend (his first ATP final since 2014) and while he ended up losing to Frenchman Gael Monfils, he did it in the most Canadian way possible: by taking a swig of maple syrup right from the bottle for a quick sugar boost. You have to love it, eh?

NBA: Our Toronto Raptors have now won a franchise-record 14 straight games. Kawhi Leonard, who? What makes these wins more remarkable is that the Raps have been plagued with injury: big-man Marc Gasol is currently sidelined with a hamstring injury while star point guard and hype man Kyle Lowry sustained a whiplash injury on Friday night.

  • But the Raps’ talent runs deep and players like Freddy VanVleet have stepped up — on Saturday night Freddy scored 29 points in the Raps’ 119–118 win over the Brooklyn Nets. Here’s to 15!

Golf: Okay, just one more Canadian win and then we’ll stop. With an overall score of 18 under par, golfer Nick Taylor won yesterday’s AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, one of the highlight tournaments on the PGA schedule. He beat out big names like Phil Mickelson and Jason Day to ensure that the Canadian flag flew high all weekend.

🏒On the bubble

February 10, 2020
On the bubble

The GIST: We’re two thirds of the way through the NHL and NBA seasons, which means it's crunch time for teams on the playoff bubble. So, here’s #thegist of where we’re at heading into April’s playoffs.

The good old hockey game: Sixteen teams qualify for the Stanley Cup playoffs — eight from the Eastern and Western Conferences, respectively. Current divisional leaders, the Washington Capitals, Boston Bruins, Vancouver Canucks and reigning Stanley Cup champs St. Louis Blues all seem like shoo-ins (unless we just jinxed it). But the teams we really have to keep a close eye on are those hovering between seventh and 12th place in the conference.

  • In the East, we’re keeping an eye on the battle between the Carolina Hurricanes and the Philadelphia Flyers for a final playoff spot. The real question is, will we see Gritty or Storm Surges in the playoffs?
  • Over in the West, it’s a tighter race for a wild card spot, with six teams within reach. But if we were betting women, we’d put good money on the Calgary Flames and Arizona Coyotes making it in as wild cards.

We’re playing basketball: Over in the NBA, it’s pretty much the same. The top eight teams from each of the two conferences (East and West) qualify for the playoffs, and while the top six teams in each conference are basically set, the bubble teams will have to fight extra hard to claim those last two spots.

  • In the East, the Washington Wizards will have to channel their inner Harry Potter Hermione Granger as they chase the Brooklyn Nets and Orlando Magic for one of the last two remaining spots.
  • In the West, it’s looking like it’ll be a battle between the Memphis Grizzlies and the Portland Trail Blazers for the eighth seed. Buckle up.

Oh Canada: Thankfully it looks like Canada will be well represented in both the NHL and NBA postseasons. The Toronto Maple Leafs have a good chance (if you’re a Leafs fan, start knocking on wood...now) at being the only Canadian team in the Eastern Conference playoffs. In the West, if the hockey goddesses treat us well, all Canadian west-coast teams should make it. Yes, we’re telling you there is a chance.

  • In the NBA, the reigning champions, the Toronto Raptors, have a stronghold on second place in the East and would literally need to lose every remaining game to miss the playoffs...which just isn’t happening.

🏅Next thing you know, I’m big in Japan

February 10, 2020
Next thing you know, I’m big in Japan

The GIST: This weekend, Team Canada qualified for not one, but two huge spots at the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics, and TBH, we can’t say we’re surprised.

Explain, please!: You got it. First, our women’s national soccer team clinched an Olympic spot by winning their semifinal match in the CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying tournament (reminder: the top two teams in the tournament qualify for Tokyo 2020). They beat Costa Rica 1–0, with our fave 18-year-old Jordyn Huitema (pronounced HEIGHT-AH-MA) scoring the game’s lone goal. It wasn’t much, but it was enough!

  • That set the stage for the CONCACAF final yesterday, where we were treated to our favourite thing ever: a Canada-USA final. Although the Americans took it 3–0 and get to keep the bragging rights for now, we’ll hopefully see them for a rematch in Tokyo.

And the other Olympic spot?: Over in Belgium, our Canadian women’s basketball team was playing in a FIBA Olympic qualifying tournament. All they had to do was win two of their three games to qualify, but like the absolute queens they are, they swept the tournament, dominating their games against Belgium, Sweden and Japan.

  • Canada’s currently ranked No. 4 in the world, and after this strong showing, we’re thinking this crew could bring home some serious Olympic hardware.

🏆All the fun stuff

February 06, 2020
All the fun stuff

Women’s hockey: The Rivalry Series, a five-game series featuring the US and Canada national teams, continued last night, with Team USA winning the series three games to one. Whomp whomp. On the bright side, they’re still playing the fifth and final game on Saturday night because Saturday night’s alright for fighting.

NHL: Washington Capitals star forward and captain Alexander Ovechkin is once again proving why his nickname is “Alexander The Great”. In the last six games, he’s recorded three hat tricks and has scored 14 goals since January 13th — the same amount of goals the entire Calgary Flames team has scored over the same period. At the pace he’s at, he’ll likely score his 700th career goal this weekend. Hope we didn’t jinx it.

Raptors: Can’t stop, won’t stop. The Toronto Raptors have officially set a new franchise record, winning 12 straight games. Last night’s game against the Indiana Pacers looked dicey, with the Raps down by 15 points at the half, but a late game comeback gave them just enough to keep us on the edge of our seats and beat the Pacers 119–118. Now, on to the next one!

Baseball: The Boston Red Sox made a crazy huge trade in a three-team deal with the LA Dodgers and Minnesota Twins on Tuesday, trading away one of their best players, Mookie Betts, and one of their most expensive, David Price, to the Dodgers.

  • The BoSox traded these studs to avoid paying a “luxury tax” for the third straight year. And, given the Dodgers are looking to go all-in for a World Series win this season, LA was the best landing spot.

🏅Tokyo 2020 get at us

February 06, 2020
Tokyo 2020 get at us

The GIST: We’re less than six months away from the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics. And you know what that means? It’s Olympic qualifier season, baby!

Sweet! Who’s up first?: That would be our women’s national soccer team, currently competing in the CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying tournament. They absolutely dominated in the group stage, winning all three matches and outscoring their opponents 22–0. Having swept their group, Canada will now face Costa Rica in tomorrow night’s semifinal at 7 p.m. ET.

  • This is a must-win match, because the winners of the semis book their ticket to Tokyo. Not, not anxiety-inducing.

You’re telling me. Do we have a good chance to win?: Well, Costa Rica won two of their three group stage matches, but Canada is still expected to take this one. *knocks on wood furiously*

  • In the other semifinal, Mexico is taking on the United States, who, as reigning FIFA World Cup champions, are also expected to win, setting us up for an always-fun Canada-USA final. Can’t. Wait.

Got it. Anyone else qualifying?: Yep — our women’s national basketball team.They’re competing in one of the four FIBA Women’s Olympic Qualifying tournaments taking place this weekend. Canada is in a group with Sweden, Belgium (where the tournament is being played) and Japan (who already qualified for the Olympics as the host nation).

  • The tournament consists of three games for each team, with two Olympic spots up for grabs. So, all Team Canada needs to do is finish the tournament with a better record than Sweden or Belgium. And, as the fourth-ranked team in the world and rocking those sweet new OVO jerseys, we’d say things are looking pretty good.