April 18th, 2019

The GIST’s Quote of the Week

“I had beers poured on me from the stands… Not only during the game but at the end of the game when we scored some goals. I had two beers poured on me from the people behind me.”


- Columbus Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella joked about workplace hazards after his team’s Game 4 trampling of the Tampa Bay Lightning. TBH, seems worth it.

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If You Ride Like Lightning, You're Going to Crash Like Thunder  

The GIST: On Tuesday, the Tampa Bay Lightning made more NHL history—but it definitely wasn’t in the way they planned—becoming the first team in NHL history to win the regular season and then not win a single playoff game. Welp.
 
Yikes. Tell me more!: The Lightning lost four-straight games to the Columbus Blue Jackets, who barely snuck into the playoffs themselves. The kicker? This sweep marks the Blue Jackets’ first playoff series win in franchise history. Talk about doing it in style.
 
But how did the Lightning lose?: Turns out, winning the regular season (the Presidents’ Trophy) is a bit of an NHL curse. In the last 10 years, only one team (the Chicago Blackhawks in 2012-13) won both the Presidents’ Trophy and the Stanley Cup.

  • In fact, in the four major North American sports leagues (NHL, MLB, NBA and NFL), the last four teams to set or tie the record for regular-season wins (the Lightning tied the record with 62 wins this season) have failed to win a championship. Sad.

Curse aside…:We have to give the Blue Jackets credit. At the trade deadline, they made somevery important dealsthat helped them make the playoffs. Ottawa Senators fans, you might grudgingly remember that this trade included former Sens Matt Duchene and Ryan Dzingel. So hey, maybe the Blue Jackets are your team to root for these playoffs? And with this sweep, the Blue Jackets have won 11 of their last 12 games dating back to the regular season.

  • Beyond the numbers, the Blue Jackets are a real-life David and Goliath story and proof that anything can happen in playoff hockey (and that’s why we love it). These Blue Jackets are up to something.

More NHL playoffs:

  • Lost in the hullabaloo of the Lightning’s huge loss was that the once unstoppablePittsburgh Penguins were also swept in the first round, losing four-straight games to the New York Islanders. While the Islanders were expected to win, (they finished second in the Metropolitan division while the Pens finished third) it’s the first time the Pens have failed to win a single playoff game since Sidney Crosby’s rookie season in ‘05.
     

  • Drake showed up last night at the Leafs game and apparently brought his cursewith him. From the Toronto Raptors to Conor McGregor, it seems any team or athlete Drake shows support for ends up losing (so much so that Italian soccer club AS Roma literally banned their players from snapping pics with Drake yesterday). The Leafs were the latest casualty of the curse, dropping a close 6-4 Game 4 to the Boston Bruins to leave the series tied at 2-2. Drake, we hope that you don’t take it wrong… but can you not?
     

  • Other must-see moments: Alex Ovechkin is just as good at throwing punches as he is at scoring goals, and Leafs’ Mitch Marner dramatically put his body on the line in the dying seconds of Game 3 against the Boston Bruins.
     

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Ball is Life

The GIST: Over in the NBA, the Raptors are off to a decent 1-1 series start against the Orlando Magic while the defending champs, the Golden State Warriors, have shown a sign of weakness.
 
Tell me about the Raps: After dropping Game 1 104-101, the Dinos bounced back in Game 2 thanks to a huge 37-point performance from Kawhi Leonard and 22 points from Kyle Lowry (who scored no points in Game 1) to win it 111-82, the largest playoff win in franchise history. Way to turn it around, boys.
 
And the Warriors?: They’re (still) the undisputed favourites to win the NBA championship, but boy did they get upstaged on Monday when the Los Angeles Clippers pulled off the largest comeback in NBA playoff history.

  • Midway through the third quarter, the Clippers were down by 31 and had a 0.01% chance of winning. BUT THEN, they went on a 72-27 tear to close out the game and win 135-131. Simply insane.
     

  • A part of the Clippers' comeback might be attributed to the Warriors losing their big man DeMarcus Cousins (aka Boogie). In the first quarter, he tore his left quad(we’re in pain just thinking about it) and is now out for at least six weeks. Boogie only played 30 games this regular season as he was recovering from a torn Achilles. Poor guy can’t catch a break.

What Else to Know: To no one’s surprise, the Milwaukee Bucks (vs Detroit Pistons), Houston Rockets (vs Utah Jazz), Boston Celtics (vs Indiana Pacers) and Portland Trailblazers (vs Oklahoma City Thunder) have all shot out to early 2-0 leads in their series.

Everything Else

Tiger is a Trump Card: Tiger Woods’ win at the Masters on Sunday, an epic and special comeback, also caught the attention of U.S. President Donald Trump. So much so that he’s awarding Woods the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honour.

  • Wait, athletes can win these things?: Apparently. Tiger will join more than two dozen athletes to receive the award, including golf legend Jack Nicklaus (who holds the major titles record that Woods is currently chasing) and Charles Sifford, the first African-American to play on the PGA Tour.
     

  • But…: Tiger’s Masters win, while special, did bring on a lot of mixed emotions, especially considering his less than perfect past. And we’re feeling the same way about this award. There’s something poetic, in the worst way, about Donald Trump, who is rather infamous for sex scandals and affairs, awarding Tiger Woods, who has had several affairs himself, this award. Something just isn’t sitting right.

Seattle Forever: On Tuesday, the Seattle Seahawks made longtime quarterback Russell Wilson the NFL’s highest-paid player with a four-year contract extension worth $140M USD (plus a $65M signing bonus). Casual.

  • It’s a lot of money, but Wilson is worth every penny. He’s the face of the franchise and has been with the Seahawks since his 2012 rookie season, leading the team to two NFL finals and a Super Bowl win in 2014.
     

  • Must watch: Wilson announced his new deal to the world on Twitter (as you do) in a pretty weird video featuring wife and R&B singer Ciara. The best part? His teammates trolling him after the fact. Too good.

Boston Strong: Since the 2013 terror attacks, the Boston Marathon has been much more than a race. It’s been a symbol of hope, perseverance and strength. On Monday, more than 30,000 people completed the race including:

  • Men’s winner Lawrence Cherono of Kenya (with an impressive push in the final seconds) and women’s winner Worknesh Degefa of Ethiopia.
     

  • And former marine Micah Herndon, running in honour of three marines lost in an IED ambush in Afghanistan. Herndon collapsed and literally crawled to the finish line. All the feels.

A Name to Know: Is that of 10-year-old Sky Brown. She just won the UK National Skateboarding Championships (!!!) and took one giant step toward qualifying for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, where skateboarding will make its Olympic debut. It would also make her Great Britain’s youngest ever Olympian. Meanwhile, at 10 years old we were just trying to make it to the top of the jungle gym. You go girl!

What’s Up This Week

Friday: The Raptors are in Orlando with high hopes of keeping their momentum going for Game 3 (7 p.m. ET) against the Magic. The Leafs are also in action for Game 5 against the Bruins at 7 p.m. ET.
 
Friday-Sunday: The Japan leg of the women’s World Rugby Sevens series also kicks off on Friday, with Canada’s first game scheduled for 10:14 p.m. ET against Spain. Now that’s what we call a Good Friday! The tourney continues until Sunday and you can stream every game here.
 
Saturday: Ottawa Fury F.C. is taking on Louisville City at 4 p.m. ET.

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Sign me up!