February 21st, 2019
The Toronto FC would like a redo. Don Cherry disapproves of fun. You’re going to want to buy this t-shirt. Tampa Bay and Nikita Kucherov are really, really good. Li Li Leung has inherited an epic USAG mess. One of baseball’s biggest free agents is finally signed… and is taking $300M to the bank! A little something for mom and dad. Our fave NBA All-Star moments. Tristan is a skeeze. Here’s what’s up this weekand here’s what ~the stars~ are telling us.
The Toronto FC are Back
The GIST: The Toronto FC (Football Club) played their first professional game of the season on Tuesday in the CONCACAF Champions League but suffered a pretty embarrassing 4-0 loss in the Round of 16 to Panama's Club Atletico Independiente de la Chorrera.
What’s This League?: The CONCACAF Champions League is an annual tournament (so yes, the ‘league’ in the name is confusing) between the best teams in North and Central America as well as the Caribbean. The winner qualifies for the quarter-finals of the FIFA Club World Cup. TFC is reppin’ Canada because they won the Voyageurs Cup in 2018. Last year, TFC made it all the way to the CONCACAF final, but things aren’t looking so great in 2019.
So They Lost, But They’re Still in the Tournament?: Yes. Teams must play a home and an away game in each round, with all goals being aggregated (home and away goals added together) to determine a winner. If each team wins a game, and the number of goals are equal, the team that scored more AWAY goals will be declared the winner. Because Toronto was shut out 4-0 in their first game, they have to score five goals (!!!) and allow none (!!!) to move on — an almost impossible feat in this matchup.
Why Are They So Bad?: Toronto is not the team they were in 2017 when they won the Major League Soccer (MLS) title. They recently lost Victor Vazquez (to Qatar) and star striker Sebastian Giovinco (to Saudi Arabia) to teams in different leagues. And with the MLS season kicking off on March 2nd, they don’t have much time left to fill those gaping holes. Eeep.
Don Cherry Hates Fun
The GIST: The Carolina Hurricanes have captured the attention of the NHL with their wildly entertaining win celebrations on home ice, but similar to how your mom doesn’t approve of the crop top trend, Coach’s Corner host Don Cherry doesn’t approve of the fun.
What Kind of Celebrations?: It started as something called the ‘Storm Surge’. After a home win, Hurricanes players would skate full tilt down the ice and leap into the boards together. Basically a fun AF way to celebrate a win that gets the whole squad involved AND gets the fans hyped up.
Okay, So What’s the Problem?: As the season has progressed, the Canes have upped the ante on their celebrations adding things like the limbo, a quick game of duck-duck-goose, some bowling and this Oscar-worthy performance of a Bautista bat flip home run. Some *cough* Don Cherry *cough* think these performances have crossed the line.
Ugh, What Did Don Say?: The grumpy ol’ dude He called the team ‘a bunch of jerks’ and said their celebrations were a ‘joke’. The Hurricanes responded the way any reasonable person would, by changing their Twitter bio and marketing a line of ‘Bunch of Jerks’ t-shirts. Well played Carolina, well played.
Elsewhere in the NHL: The Tampa Bay Lightning lead the league with an astounding 46-11-4 record as star winger Nikita Kucherov (pronounced COOCH-ER-OV) has racked up 99 points through 60 games, a record on par with legends Mario Lemieux and Wayne Gretzky in the prime of their careers. Meanwhile, despite the Edmonton Oilers management shakeup, they continue to sh!t the bed struggle. They’ve lost five-straight games and seem lifeless near the bottom of the standings. But uh, at least Connor McDavid remains somewhat upbeat? We hold a grudge over losing a game of beer pong for weeks, but good on you dude.
Li Li, Do You Love Me?
The GIST: On Tuesday, USA Gymnastics (USAG) named Li Li Leung its new president and CEO, the organization’s fourth CEO and pres in the last two years.
What’s Going On?: USAG has been some kind of a mess since the Larry Nassarsex abuse scandal broke the organization wide open. In the aftermath of being criticized for ignoring and even enabling Nassar, USAG’s leadership has been in freefall. And last year, the organization filed for bankruptcy to be able to pay for the dozens of Nassar-related settlements and lawsuits. Not good.
So Who’s Leung?: Leung comes to USAG from the NBA, where she was the league’s VP of global partnerships. She also happens to be a former gymnast herself, which makes this job a little more personal. We’re not jealous of the mess she’s inheriting, but hopefully she can be the captain to finally right the ship.
GIST Some Other Sh!t You Should Know
- Manny Machado, one of baseball’s biggest free agents, signed a $300M (!!!), 10-year contract with the San Diego Padres on Tuesday—the second-largest contract in MLB history. Casual. Machado is one of the best hitters and defensive basemen in the game, so signing with the fairly irrelevant Padres (they’ve only won one postseason game since 1999...) comes as a v big surprise.
- Her-story was made on Sunday at the prestigious Daytona 500, NASCAR’s season opener and most-watched race. Brehanna Daniels and Breanna O’Leary became the first female tire changers to work the Daytona 500, joining the pit crew of Cody Ware’s No. 52 car. YASSS ladies.
- To all the moms and dads out there that have been asking us to cover curling, don’t say we never gave you anything. The Scotties Tournament of Hearts—pitting the best Canadian female curlers against each other—started last Saturday. So far, seven rinks (that’s curling speak for teams) have guaranteed themselves berths in the eight team championship round including an unbeaten Chelsea Carey, a pregnant Rachel Homan (LOL like how… we can’t even bend over when we have a food baby) and Jennifer Jones, who could become the winningest skip ever (each team has four players, but is referred to by the name of their skip). The tournamentwraps up on Sunday.
- The NBA All-Star game and skills comp took place over the weekend and it was pretty wild. Our fave moments? Hamidou Diallo’s absurd dunk over 7’1” Shaquille O’Neal en route to winning the slam dunk contest, Steph Curry’s alley-oop bounce pass that we literally can’t stop watching and Jimmy Fallon getting Curry to slip weird phrases like “wham, bam, can of ham” into his interviews. So ridiculous in the best way. In other basketball news, Tristan Thompson continues to be a skeeze.
What’s Up This Week
Today: Canada’s very own Georges St-Pierre, one of the greatest UFC fighters in history, might announce his retirement this morning because he couldn’t organize a final bout against unbeaten lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov (who famously beat Conor McGregor in October and then attacked his teammate in a wild post-fight melee). HOW-EV-AH, just hours after the retirement news broke, Khabib took to Instagram to offer a fight saying, “Send me location my friend.” So… that retirement... might be TBD?
Friday: DeMar DeRozan is back in Toronto for the first time since the Raptors traded him away for Kawhi Leonard in July. His San Antonio Spurs are playing the Raps at 7:00 p.m. ET. (P.S. it’s the first game back since Kyle Lowry, Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green repped the 6ix for the All-Star weekend.) And TBH, we are feeling all the feels about DeRozan. So much so, that we wrote him a love letter. That’s right. Read why DeMar was so important to our country and why we’re gonna be emotional AF on Friday here.
Also on Friday: Clear your calendar on Thursday, March 7th! We are hosting our first ever LIVE viewing party in Ottawa! Come out and watch your Ottawa Senators take on the NY Islanders with us. Your ticket includes getting “the gist” of the game, watching the game in The GIST suite, connecting with other GISTers, dinner and a drink, and so much MORE. Watch your inbox for your invite to the event tomorrow.
Monday: We’ll hit you with another newsletter before this one, but it’s worth noting that the NHL trade deadline is on Monday Feb. 25. Expect a lot of moves to be made between now and then with trade bait like the Ottawa Senators’ Matt Duchene and Mark Stone high on the list.
All This CBD Stuff is Confusing, Right?: We thought so. But that was until we met Mastermind Bio-Wellness. Mastermind is a new wellness brand that is all about helping active people be their ~best selves~ through a holistic approach to both mental and physical health. A part of that is helping people better understand cannabis.
Interested in learning more? We thought you might be. Mastermind is hosting a free (!!!) meetup event on Tuesday, February 26th to answer all your q’s on cannabis. You can learn more about the event and register for your spot here. You know you want to.
P.S. This company is one of The GIST’s partners.
These Stars Ain't Loyal
The GIST: Uh oh… we might be falling out of touch with the stars lately!? We’ve missed the mark on our last two predictions (blame it on the supermoon or something) but we’re feeling super confident about this one.
Horoscope: You won’t have to listen closely to hear the roar of confident leo DeMar DeRozan (August 7) on Friday in his first game back in Toronto. Leos are loyal AF, and after the Raps showed no loyalty to DeMar in his infamous trade out of Toronto, we’re predicting this San Antonio Spur to drop in well above his points per game (PPG) average of 21.4. Count ‘em.