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The GIST's Bits & Bites - Toronto Six and Toronto Raptors

January 25, 2021
Source: Toronto Six/Twitter
Source: Toronto Six/Twitter

🏒NWHL: As you most definitely read in yesterday’s Sunday Scroll, the NWHL’s super-condensed two-week season in the “N-Dubble” began on Saturday, with the league’s first-ever Canadian team debut. 

  • The Toronto Six had a tough start to the season, losing Saturday’s game 3–0 to the 2018 Isobel Cup–winning Metropolitan Riveters and yesterday’s game 6–5, in a shootout to the reigning champs, the Minnesota Whitecaps. Game three is tomorrow at 8:30 p.m. ET, against the Boston Pride.

🏀NBA: The Toronto Raptors we know and love are clawing their way back to us. After a rocky (read: awful) start to the season, the Raps have won five of their last six games, including yesterday’s 107–102 game against the Indiana Pacers, and guys from the 2019 championship-winning roster, like Fred VanVleet, OG Anunoby and Norm Powell, are putting up big numbers.

  • That said, the Raps are still boasting a 7-9 record and fan favorites Pascal Siakam and Kyle Lowry are out with injuries. We’re cautiously optimistic...for now.

⚽️Football (the European kind): The FA WSL’s Manchester City may have forgotten which sport they’re playing. Last weekend’s 7–0 win over Aston Villa and yesterday’s 7–1 win over Brighton & Hove Albion look more like football scores of the NFL variety.

  • Amongst the goal scorers in yesterday’s blowout is Canada’s very own Janine Beckie, who notched this “extra point” to close out the match. Jolly good.

🏒Patrick Laine Traded to Columbus Blue Jackets

January 25, 2021
Source: Mark Blinch / NHLI via Getty Images
Source: Mark Blinch / NHLI via Getty Images

The trade: Patrik Laine (pronounced LIE-NAY) was a superstar and fan favorite with the Winnipeg Jets since being drafted second overall in 2016. But despite helping the team make the playoffs for the past three seasons, the 22-year-old had yet to graduate to the first line. Getting restless, he wanted a chance to shine elsewhere.

  • Enter Pierre-Luc Dubois. Similarly unhappy with the Columbus Blue Jackets, Dubois has been vocal about wanting out, and Columbus head coach John Tortorella was more than happy to get rid of him. Hence the swap. Laine’s heading to Columbus, leaving big skates in Winnipeg for Dubois to fill.
  • Dubois promises to be a great addition to the Jets’ line-up, though with the government deciding his quarantine length, we might not see him in action for a couple of weeks.

The rest of the North: Elsewhere, the Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens are duking it out for the top spot in the division. The Leafs have won five of seven games, while the Habs are hanging on to first place without a single regulation loss (though they’ve lost twice in overtime). 

  • And those standings won’t change today, with just one tilt on the NHL schedule tonight: the sixth-placed Vancouver Canucks play the seventh-placed Ottawa Senators at 10 p.m. ET. Past our bedtimes. 

🏈Buccaneers, Chiefs, and 22,000 Fans Are Going to the Super Bowl

January 25, 2021
Source: Stacy Revere/Getty Images
Source: Stacy Revere/Getty Images

NFC Champions: It was the best of times, it was the worst of times for quarterback (QB) Tom Brady yesterday. Sure, he threw three touchdowns (TDs) in the Bucs 31–26 win over the Green Bay Packers and he’s going to the Super Bowl again...

  • But Brady also threw three straight interceptions to end the game on a bit of a sour note. Luckily for him, his defense picked up the slack to stave off the Packers’ second half comeback. 
  • The Bucs will become the first team to ever have home field advantage at the Super Bowl. Because of course Tom Brady broke the curse

AFC Champions: It was only the best of times for Kansas City’s QB Patrick Mahomes, who threw three TDs and zero interceptions in KC’s 38–24 win over the Buffalo Bills. If there was any worry of lingering effects from the concussion he suffered last week, Mahomes quickly put those fears to bed.

  • Like Brady, Mahomes had a solid defense to propel the win. Unlike Brady, Mahomes relied heavily on his tight end, Travis Kelce (pronounced KEL-SEE), who tied a record for most receptions in a conference championship with 13. 
  • With the win, KC now has a chance to win back-to-back Super Bowls, the first team to do so since...sarcastic drum roll...Tom Brady’s New England Patriots in 2005. 

Up next: Before we can get to the biggest football game of the year, we have to first endure the most boring game of the year: next Sunday’s Pro Bowl. Once described as “a pillow fight,” the NFL’s version of an All-Star game will take place virtually this year, with the chosen rosters competing via Madden NFL 21. Fire up the PS5.

🏈NFL Conference Championships Preview

January 21, 2021
Source: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
Source: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

NFC Championship: Sunday at 3:05 p.m. ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Green Bay Packers: The Bucs have two big things going for them this weekend: history — the last time they made it to the conference championship in 2003, they won the Super Bowl — and six-time Super Bowl champ QB Tom Brady (who’s competing in his record 14th conference championship, BTW) at the helm.

  • But they also have one major thing working against them: this year’s Super Bowl is being held in Tampa, and a home team has never competed in the Super Bowl. The Packers are banking on this — and their own Super Bowl-winning QB, Aaron Rodgers — to get them through.

AFC Championship: Sunday at 6:40 p.m. ET

Buffalo Bills vs. Kansas City Chiefs: Considering their last AFC Championship appearance was in 1994, the Bills think the Bucs’ 18-year drought is cute. But they’re focusing on bigger things right now: namely, which QB will their top-notch defense face on Sunday?

  • KC QB and reigning Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes left last Sunday’s game with a concussion, leaving back-up Chad Henne to take over. Mahomes practiced yesterday, but given the nature of the injury, we’re not betting on him playing just yet.

The GIST’s Conference Championship

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  • Step 1: Sign up for our fantasy league here before 3 p.m ET on Sunday.
  • Step 2: You have $60,000 to set your eight-player, one-defense roster. Each player has a price (the higher the price, the better the player) so budget wisely! 
  • Step 3: That’s it. Sit back and enjoy the games. 

What’s in it for you? Bragging rights and cash prizes. You pay $2 to play and $500 is up for grabs. The weekly winner takes home $100, and the top 20% of GISTers earn cash. Join our fantasy contest here.* 


The GIST's Bits & Bites - CA

January 21, 2021
Source: Alyssa Turner/Toronto Six Media
Source: Alyssa Turner/Toronto Six Media

🏒Hockey: Women’s pro hockey is making its 2021 debut on Saturday. The NWHL’s sixth season will be a unique one, taking place in a bubble in Lake Placid, New York, over a condensed two-week period. The six teams will play in a 15 game regular season, then head into a round robin before the sudden death postseason. 

  • Also making its debut: the league’s first Canadian team, the Toronto Six. Check out their schedule here (don’t miss Game #1 on Saturday at 1 p.m. ET), and keep an eye out for The GIST’s Sunday Scroll this weekend for a deep dive on all things women’s hockey.

⛳️Golf: The new LPGA season (much longer than the NWHL’s) is starting, too! The LPGA is kicking off their 34-tournament season with this weekend’s Diamond Resort Tournament of Champions. The four-day Florida event tees off this morning and features World No. 6 Brooke Henderson, who has big plans for 2021. Check out the leaderboard here.