The World Juniors have us shook. The NFL playoffs are here! A bunch of coaches lost their jobs. Two tennis GOATs made history together. Ovi plays by his own rules. Saskatchewan is getting an NHL game. Don’t miss this mascot video. Kawhi Leonard looks ready to play his old team. And see what’s up this weekend!
The GIST Quote of The Week
“Leaving the Raptors was like not marrying the woman you always thought you’d marry.” - Ex-Toronto Raptors star DeMar DeRozan just tearing at our heartstrings. He’ll be playing against the Raps (his former team) tonight for the first time this season. And we all know what running into an old ex that broke your heart is like… all the feels!
The GIST: The World Junior hockey tournament is officially through the round robin games and into elimination matches. Unfortunately, our Canadian boys were upset by the Fins last night and are no longer in the hunt for a medal. Welp.
Remind me - what are the World Juniors?: The World Juniors is one of the most anticipated hockey events of the year and is an annual under-20 (all players are between the ages of 16 and 20) tournament where the top ten hockey countries compete to become the world champions. Get #thegist of everything you need to know about the tournament by reading our guide here. This years’ World Juniors is being hosted in Vancouver and Victoria B.C. and Team Canada was the defending champ.
So What Happened?: Canada lost a tough one to Russia on New Year’s Eve and lost an even tougher one to Finland last night in overtime, despite an unreal performance from their goalie Michael DiPietro. Canada was leading 1-0 for the majority of the game; however, Finland tied it up with just 46 seconds left. The game went into overtime and Canada just couldn’t capitalize on their chances (including a penalty shot). Eventually the Fins completed their comeback right after it looked like Canada’s Noah Dobson was going to score. Ugh. This loss was gut wrenching and marks the first time that Canada will not win a medal as the host country. 2019… why you gotta be like that?!
It’s Playoff Time, Baby!
The GIST: Buckle-up! The stage is set for the NFL postseason. The NFL playoffs are particularly special and nerve wracking because it’s the only major sports league that uses a single-elimination tournament to decide a winner. It all culminates in one of the biggest parties sporting events of the year, the Super Bowl.
So Who’s In?: A total of 12 teams make it to the playoffs. Four of those teams get a bye (they get to skip over the first round of the playoffs) because they placed first or second in their conference (AFC or NFC) in the regular season. Those teams are the Kansas City Chiefs (AFC West), Los Angeles Rams (NFC West), New England Patriots (AFC East) and New Orleans Saints (NFC South). It’s early, but the Saints are the sports betting favourite to win the Super Bowl right now.
And The Other Teams?: The remaining eight teams are battling for ‘wild card spots’, and those are the games we get to watch this weekend. On Saturday, the Indianapolis Colts take on the Houston Texans and the Seattle Seahawks face the Dallas Cowboys. On Sunday, the Los Angeles Chargers play the Baltimore Ravens and the Philadelphia Eagles (the reigning champs) take on the Chicago Bears. All four home teams (the second team listed in the matchup) are favoured to win. As they say, “there’s no place like home.”
You’re Fired!: Then, there’s the rest of the league. Six (out of 32) NFL coaches were fired on Black Monday (the day after the regular season ends) when their respective teams failed to make the playoffs. The six losers coaches were Marvin Lewis (Cincinnati Bengals); Vance Joseph (Denver Broncos); Dirk Koetter (Tampa Bay Buccaneers); Steve Wilks (Arizona Cardinals); Adam Gase (Miami Dolphins) and Todd Bowles (New York Jets). New year, no job just doesn’t have a great ring to it, does it?
GIST Some Other Sh!t You Should Know
- Earlier this week in Australia our girl Serena Williams played an epic doubles match against fellow GOAT Roger Federer at the Hopman Cup. That’s right, it’s a teams based mixed-gender tournament! This match was a BFD because it marked the first time these two legends have ever met on the court. Federer took the win in straight sets, but TBH everyone was a winner here. The crowd was the biggest in Hopman Cup history, and we were blessed with an early candidate for selfie of the year.
- Despite being voted captain of his team, Washington Capitals superstar Alexander Ovechkin will not be hitting the ice for the NHL’s All-Star Game on January 26th. Why? Well, similar to you when you take a weekend off from drinking, he’s opting out to rest his body and prepare for the second half of the season and, just maybe, win another Stanley Cup. However, his decision comes with an automatic one game suspension.
- Saskatchewan might not have an NHL team, but they’re getting an NHL game next season. The NHL has announced Regina’s Mosaic Stadium as the location for an October outdoor game between the Calgary Flames and Winnipeg Jets. The league hosts three outdoor games every year: the Heritage Classic (what Regina will be hosting), the Winter Classic (timed around New Year’s) and a Stadium Series game (held in a US football or baseball stadium).
These games draw huge crowds, big enough that this year’s Winter Classic between the Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks in Indiana actually ran out of food and booze in the second period. Tough to stay warm without a nice beer blanket…
- This video had us cheesin’. The University of Georgia’s bulldog mascot (literally a real life dog, not a costume) got spooked by a mascot 20 times his size on Tuesday. Bevo, a full-size Texas longhorn and the mascot of the University of Texas, randomly plowed through a barrier at the dog and took out a few photographers in the process. Give this good boy a raise!
- UFC fighter Amanda Nunes made history last Saturday, becoming the first female UFC double champion. It took Nunes just 51 seconds to knock out Cris "Cyborg" Justino (who was unbeaten in 13 years before the fight) and win the featherweight title, which Nunes now holds along with her bantamweight title. Only two other UFC fighters have held two belts simultaneously. To that we say, YASSS QUEEN!
What’s Up This Week
Tonight: Kawhi (pronounced KAH-WHY) Leonard and the Toronto Raptors are facing the San Antonio Spurs for the first time this season, and the first time since the blockbuster offseason trade which saw longtime Raptor DeMar DeRozan go to the Spurs, and Kawhi become a dino. Kawhi is on fire right now, coming off a career-high 45 points against the Utah Jazz on Tuesday. You won’t want to miss this game (8:00 p.m. ET) as these stars are hungry and have something to prove to their old squads.
Saturday: Now that Canada is out of the World Juniors, who really gives a darn? Just kidding, we do (kind of). You can catch the World Juniors bronze medal game at at 4:00 p.m. ET and the gold medal game at 8:00 p.m. ET.
And, if hockey doesn’t float your boat, remember it’s wild card weekend in the NFL playoffs with games being played on Saturday and Sunday.
Sunday: Aussie Aussie Aussie, Oi, Oi Oi! The Australian Open is the first grand-slam tennis tournament of the season and action begins on Sunday. And get this - this years prize money is a whopping $62.5M USD - a 14% increase from last year. All I really wanna see is the, money!