🏒Five NHL Highlights from August 15-16
The GIST: We’re trying something new today. Instead of giving you the ol’ boxscores, we’re giving #thegist on our five favorite NHL highlights from the weekend. Let us know what you think by replying to this email.
Wildest save: Columbus Blue Jackets goalie Joonas Korpisalo (pronounced YOH-NUHS) could've been a gymnast in another life. Check out these splits.
Best baseball play: Boston Bruin Charlie Coyle has crazy hand-eye coordination, batting this goal in from the air. The Bruins — who are without star goalie Tuukka Rask after he opted-out of the rest of the postseason to be home with his family — won this one 3–1.
Most entertaining game: Game 4 between the Dallas Stars and Calgary Flames was a fun one. The Stars netted the game winner in OT and tied the series 2-2.
Sweetest return: Philadelphia Flyer Oskar Lindblom was back on the ice yesterday, taking part in his first practice since being diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma, a bone cancer, in December. All the feels.
Favorite feel-good story: In 2000, Dr. Joel Boyd became the first Black team doctor in the NHL, and now his kids are helping run the show in Seattle. Talk about a legacy!
Lewis Wins Ladies Scottish Open, Andreescu Pulls Out of U.S. Open, The GIST Predicts a Western Conference Team to Win WNBA Championships
LPGA: Yesterday’s Ladies Scottish Open was decided by a four-way playoff (on brand for this overtime obsessed August) that saw new mom Stacy Lewis win her first LPGA tournament since giving birth to her daughter, Chesnee, in 2018. What a badass momma.
Tennis: Another player dropped out of the U.S. Open, and this one really broke our hearts. Last year’s winner, Bianca Andreescu, has pulled out of the Grand Slam, which starts August 31st, meaning that neither of the 2019 champs will be there to defend their title this year. Classic 2020.
- Last year’s runner-up, the GOAT Serena Williams, is still in contention though, and we're desperately hoping it stays that way. She’ll be looking for some sort of redemption after a super unexpected loss to world No. 116 Shelby Rogers in the Top Seed Open’s quarter-final on Friday. Shake off the rust, queen!
WNBA: We’re coming up to the midway point of the WNBA season (yes, already!) so we’d like to make a bold prediction right now: a Western Conference team will win the WNBA Championship.
- You want proof? Of the six teams in the West, five have winning records, and the top four, led by the Seattle Storm, are also the top four teams in the league. The Storm are probably the top contenders, having lost just one game in 11, and also have the legendary Sue Bird leading them.
- By contrast, only one of six Eastern Conference teams, the Chicago Sky — currently ranked 5th overall — have a winning record (7-4). Looks like the West Coast really is the best coast.
🏈Big Ten and Pac-12 Postpone Fall Football Season
The GIST: After much back and forth, the Big Ten and Pac-12 have officially postponed all fall sports and will instead look to play a spring football season. Meanwhile, the remaining three conferences in the Power Five still plan to play sports this fall. Unsurprisingly, there’s a range of reactions to the news.
Damn! Tell me more: Sure thing. Following the postponement announcements from the Big Ten and Pac-12, the ACC, SEC and Big 12 conferences all doubled down on plans to move forward with their fall football seasons...for now. The Big 12 released a revised schedule yesterday, along with plans for enhanced COVID-19 testing (umm, only now?). The ACC and SEC both released statements that their plans remain unchanged.
- Despite the Big Ten’s decision, Nebraska
threw a tantrumannounced that they would try to play football this fall, even if that means playing outside of their conference. It’s not clear whether that’s actually possible, but with so much money at stake, other teams might try to do the same.
Are all sports impacted?: Yes. Seemingly lost in the college football chaos is the fact that the postponements include all fall sports. Big Ten and Pac-12 athletes in soccer, field hockey, volleyball and cross country won’t compete until the spring, at the earliest.
Serena and Venus Williams to Compete Today while NBA Play in Tournament Begins
Tennis: Is there anything more fun and super competitive than sister versus sister? Our tennis fangirling will be at an all-time high today when sisters Serena and Venus Williams play each other for the 31st time in their pro careers in the Top Seed Open’s Round of 16.
- Venus, the older sister, has won 49 career singles titles to Serena’s 73, and together they’ve won 22 doubles titles. Head-to-head, Serena has the advantage, though the record isn’t as skewed as you’d think: Serena leads 18-12 in their 30 previous meetings. No. 31 is anyone’s guess.
NBA: For the first time ever, there will be a play-in tournament to decide the final playoff spot in the Western Conference, but who will be playing has yet to be decided. Spicy. It’s come down to four teams (who are all playing today): currently, the Portland Trail Blazers are the team to beat in the No. 8 spot. The Memphis Grizzlies and Phoenix Suns are both a win behind, and the San Antonio Spurs are praying for a miracle from 11th place.
- Portland will face the Brooklyn Nets, the Grizzlies will play the top team in the East, the Milwaukee Bucks, and the undefeated-in-the-bubble Suns will have an easier go against the No. 7 Dallas Mavericks. There are a ton of win/lose scenarios that give any of these three teams a chance to make it to the play-in.
- Meanwhile, the Spurs will need a win and two of the other three teams to lose today to have a chance at the No. 9 spot. Unlikely, but not impossible. Follow all the fun here.
Bubbles Work in Creating a Safe Environment for Sports
The GIST: The bubbles are working. The WNBA, NBA and NHL, three leagues playing inside bubble environments, have collectively gone another week without a positive COVID-19 test. So why the heck isn’t everyone sticking to the bubble plan?
Who’s out of the bubble?: Baseball, still. The MLB has been avoiding the bubble for months, ultimately agreeing on a regionalized travel schedule, which has resulted in more positive cases and postponed games than we care to count.
- But they might finally be getting the hint. The league is apparently in preliminary talks to hold the postseason (which will start September 29th) in a bubble and are looking at good-weather options like Texas and Southern California. About damn time.
- In contrast, the MLS is going the opposite route. After conducting the MLS Is Back Tournament (which the Portland Timbers won, BTW) inside a bubble environment in Florida, they’re switching to the MLB’s modus operandi for the regular season, which started yesterday.
So bubble is best?: Yes, but someone needs to remind the NBA. Despite their good results, the league is looking to bend the bubble rules. They’ve laid out their plans to allow guests into the bubble when the postseason starts next week.
- The policy will allow players and staff to be with their significant others and children after over a month-long separation, but the league has made one thing very clear: they’ll require proof of long-standing relationships before letting any significant others in. Sorry boys, no Tinder hook-ups allowed!
- Meanwhile, the NHL and WNBA are sticking to the status quo and loving their bubble lives. We highly recommend following the WNBA and NHL Bubble Life accounts on Twitter for behind-the-scenes best-of-the-bubble highlights, and listening to this week’s edition of The GIST of It for more NHL hot goss.