The Gist Of It – November 30, 2011


Don Landry (L) and Bill Hayes discuss the top rock guitarists of all-time during a paid appearance at a Toronto high school sports banquet


This week on The Gist Of It, Don Landry and Bill Hayes marvel over the new Loblaws at Maple Leaf Gardens. Actually, they marvel at the fact that people would line up to be the first in. As well, they discuss the Leafs’ continuing good play, the Grey Cup Game (including Nickelback), Bill’s new favourite website and, once again, the never ending delight that is the Republican Party of the United States Of America. And they argue over Rolling Stone’s list of top 100 guitarists of all time.


Segment 1 – Hey, a new grocery store has opened at Maple Leaf Gardens! Don’t you wanna line up in the freezing rain, overnight, so you can be first in?! Us either.

Segment 2 – The Toronto Maple Leafs. If you’re waiting for them to slip back into the pack, mightn’t you be waiting in vain?

Segment 3 – The Grey Cup Game. Don spent a week in Vancouver and gives you his impressions of the game, the festivities and a theory as to why Joe Kapp and Angelo Mosca got into that dust up.

Segment 4 – Want substance? Depth? Then, why are you listening to this podcast? Actually, Bill has a good website for you to check out.

Segment 5 – Rolling Stone’s list of 100 greatest guitarists. They got number one right, but after that? Not so much.

Segment 6 – Try as they might, Bill and Don just can’t take their eyes of the Republican Party. Bill worries about America’s future. Don doesn’t think any of these candidates are worth worrying about.

The Gist Of It – November 16, 2011


This week, Bill Hayes and Don Landry take a serious run at NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan. No worries, they know the guy handing out suspensions would allow them to, without penalty. Bill wonders if people may be treating Penn State’s Mike McQueary a little too harshly.  As well, there are light hearted discussions about Rob Ford’s ballet career, Herman Cain’s, well, “Herman Cain – ness,” and whether we’re seeing the first few crumbles at the beginning of the fall of the Facebook empire.

Let’s just put NHL goaltenders on the “Endangered Species” list and have done with it.

Segment 1 – The guys ask the question: Are you sure you know exactly how you’d react if you walked into that infamous shower at Penn State?  [button link=”” window=”yes”]To read Don Landry’s column on former Argo and Penn State linebacker Reggie Givens, click here.[/button]

Segment 2 – Occupy Toronto. Should demonstrators be kicked out of their tent city at St. James Park? Wouldn’t they be better off moving around anyway? And Don sings some Gordon Lightfoot.

Segment 3 – Toronto Mayor Rob Ford joins the National Ballet of Canada. Obama takes out crocodile insurance. And, who wants to lead the federal Liberals?

Segment 4 – Herman Cain. The comic gift that just keeps on giving. He should get paid for almost single-handedly writing The Daily Show and Colbert Report.

Segment 5 – One of Don’s friends has decided to quit Facebook. Don’s thinking about it, too. Is Facebook’s time starting to fade?

Segment 6 – Boston Bruins’ forward Milan Lucic gets a walk after running Buffalo Sabres’ goalie Ryan Miller, and both Bill and Don think that’s unacceptable.

Segment 7 – Toronto Star reporter Dave Feschuk called Leaf goalie James Reimer’s mom to get a story. Is that okay?

The Gist Of It – November 2, 2011


This guy, America? Really? Really??

This week Bill Hayes and Don Landry play verbal ping pong with some wide-ranging topics: The CBC’s anniversary and its ongoing funding, quarterback headhunting in the CFL, the hilarity that is Herman Cain’s presidential campaign in the U.S., Raffi Torres’ Hallowe’en costume, Kim Kardashian’s divorce, the World Series and Queen Victoria’s underwear. That’s right. They go there.

Segment 1 –  Don describes some of the celebrity trick-or-treaters that came to his door Monday night. And the guys talk about Raffi Torres’ Jay-Z costume.

Segment 2 – Bill talks about his high school’s 75th anniversary reunion. Bet the class of ’36 out-partied everyone.

Segment 3 – The CBC. On the day of its 75th birthday, the guys discuss its relevance. In a folksy, Stuart McLean fashion, though.

Segment 4 – The CFL suspends Winnipeg Blue Bombers’ Johnny Sears for one game after he drilled Argo quarterback Stephen Jyles in the head. Warranted? Bill says “hell, yeah.” Don’s a little surprised by it. As well, they talk about the twitter fallout from the whole sordid affair.

Segment 5 – The World Series and its fabled Game 6: Beauty, or beast? As well, is Tony LaRussa a genius?

Segment 6 – Herman Cain. I mean, are you serious? What the hell is wrong with the Republican Party?

Segment 7 – The big finish. Quick thoughts on Tim Hortons and its menu changes, Queen Victoria’s undergarments and Kris Humphries.

The Gist Of It – October 19, 2011


This week, Bill Hayes and Don Landry sink their teeth into a wide range of topics. Bryant Gumbel’s comments about racism in NBA collective bargaining, the lack of focus in the Occupy Toronto protests, even Shia LaBeouf’s reported troubles in Vancouver. As well, they discuss the accomplishments of the late columnist, Earl McRae, and  argue over whether an elderly barber in Nova Scotia should get more money from a guy who bought his antique hockey stick from him.

2 Mill for this hockey stick? Wonder how much the snowshoes are worth….

Segment 1 – Bryant Gumbel. Racial overtones in NBA collective bargaining? Nonsense.

Segment 2 – “Occupy Toronto.” What the hell are you trying to say?!

Segment 3 – Don Cherry’s apology. Arron Asham’s apology. And complaints that the NHL is turning into a touch hockey league.

Segment 4 – The plight of injured Leaf Centre Tim Connolly and the hot start for Phil Kessel.

Segment 5 – A Nova Scotia barber sold an antique hockey stick to someone for a thousand dollars. Now, it’s been appraised at 2 million. Should the buyer share the profits? Bill says: “Tough luck.” Don says: “Pony up the dough.”

Segment 6 – The great Earl McRae. Don and Bill share warm memories of the columnist/broadcaster who passed away last weekend. And some funny Earl stories, too.

Segment 7 – Trending on Twitter. Is that ever good? Not for Shia LaBeouf.

The Gist Of It – October 13, 2011


This week, Don Landry and Bill Hayes wrap their noggins around such conversational topics as Don Cherry, the Blackberry crisis, the best movie tough guys and the dysfunction of the Boston Red Sox. In honour of the remake of Footloose, it’s an all singing, all dancing edition of The Gist Of It.

Who doesn’t love a guy in a jacket like that?

Segment 1 – A quick hello and update on Bill’s basement.

Segment 2 – “Bombs Away:” Don sets his sights on Blackberry whiners and Bill can’t find a book he really, really wants.

Segment 3 – Don can’t believe Bill thinks Jason Statham should be mentioned in the same breath as Clint Eastwood.

Segment 4 – Grapes. Bill thinks Don Cherry’s dangerous. Don tells him to relax about it.

Segment 5 – More Cherry. Should he be allowed to continue? Is Ron MacLean the real culprit?

Segment 6 – The collapse and housecleaning of the Boston Red Sox: Don declares that the dysfunction of the team should have been remedied long before the exits of Terry Francona and Theo Epstein.

Segment 7 – The boys want people to stop tweeting every little thing and focus on quality.

[button link=”” bg_color=”#666666″ window=”yes”]To read: “Don Cherry: You Should Be Thankful For Him,” click here.[/button]

The Gist Of It – October 5, 2011


This week on “The Gist Of It,” Bill Hayes and Don Landry wonder how the Progressive Conservative Party let Ontario get away from them (at least according to the latest polls). They’re amused by Hank Williams Jr’s attempt at political commentary and the possibility of Madonna playing the halftime show at the Superbowl. They size up the Leafs’ chances in the upcoming NHL season and debate Leaf forward Clark MacArthur’s view that hitting is being taken out of the game. Bill thinks MacArthur has a point, while Don says that’s nonsense.

Segment 1 – Is Madonna the right choice for the Superbowl’s halftime show?

Segment 2 – How did Tim Hudak and the Tories sink so quickly in the polls?

Segment 3 – Hank Williams and his Netenyahu/Hitler golf comment. How stupid do you have to be…

Segment 4 – Bill is not impressed by the Leafs’ latest trade.

Segment 5 – What chance have the Leafs in the Eastern Conference? Don: playoffs. Bill: uh, no.

Segment 6 – Is hitting being taken out of the NHL? Bill believes it might be. Don gets irked by the argument.

Segment 7 – Isn’t Apple ticking off its customers by being too innovative?

Segment 8 – Bill wants to know what Don is thankful for.

THE NUTSHELL: Timmy’s in Dubai, NHL Disciplinary Videos And Einstein’s Brain Cramp

A collection of random thoughts on random things.


There’s some autobiography news this week; Arnold Schwarzenegger has been furiously scribbling his thoughts and hopes to release a book called – I’m not making this up – “Total Recall.” It’s probably true that if he wanted to name his memoirs after one of his films, “True Lies” would work well. So would “Predator,” come to think of it.

Neil Young: A Man Needs A Copy Editor.

Neil Young is writing his autobiography as well. No working title has been announced, but, let me offer one: “I’m An Old Man. Look At My Life.”

Curious that Charlie Sheen was so polite and magnanimous about his former bosses from “Two And A Half Men” when he presented an award at the Emmys. Oh, wait. Then we find out he’s nearing a 25 million dollar settlement with those ex-bosses over his firing. Sheen’s not sorry so much as he’s satisfied, I guess.

Tim Hortons has opened an outlet in Dubai. But, like everything in Dubai, I imagine it’s been done to the hilt. You know, with the world’s biggest timbits, the size of basketballs, and solid gold coffee cups. Which makes it real tough to do a roll up the rim contest but, hey, the cups are solid gold, so quit complaining. I think their grassroots hockey programs will go over very well there.


The CBC had to do some hard thinking about October 6th. That night, they’re scheduled to present the Leafs and Canadiens on Hockey Night In Canada. But, that’s also election night in Ontario. Ultimately, they decided that hockey rules and the electoral fate of the province was better left for their cable news channel. Personally, I think they could have combined the two seamlessly. You telling me that P.J Stock wouldn’t do a great job with out of town electoral results and highlights? Or that Terry Milewski couldn’t completely piss off Brian Burke in a scrum? I’ve taken the liberty of piecing together a transcript of what a hybrid HNIC/election night coverage broadcast would sound like. You can read it by clicking here.

"Nice ruling, Shanny. Jody Shelley's been suspended more times than my disbelief at the M. Night Shyamalan Film Festival."

Love, love, LOVE that NHL disciplinary Czar Brendan Shanahan has taken it upon himself to explain suspensions through video presentation on the league’s website. Shanahan looks pretty cool. Kind of like he’s auditioning for “etalk.” I’d be looking over my shoulder if I were Ben Mulroney. But, the NHL could glitz and glam it up. How about having a few babes with briefcases, a la “Deal Or No Deal?” In each briefcase, a different number, corresponding to the length of the suspension to be doled out. Or, at least, Gary Bettman playing Andy Richter to Shanahan’s Conan O’Brien, leaning on a podium and tossing in the odd saucy remark. At the very least.


The Liberal candidate in Beaches-East York is a woman by the name of Helen Burstyn. Who’s she running against, Cheryl Streep? Diana Keaton?

The Feds have hired a $90k a day consulting firm to help find ways to save money. But as I understand it, their report will never be completed considering their first recommendation was to fire themselves.

Ya got any other brilliant ideas, "Einstein?!"



Scientists in Europe believe they have discovered a particle that actually travels faster than the speed of light. Which would debunk Einstein’s Theory Of Relativity or, as it will now be known: “E = MC Hammered.” Einstein. What a dumbass.

CBC: Hockey Night Or Election Night? Both!

So the CBC has a conflict on election night.

It seems there’s a pesky little hockey game scheduled the same night Ontario’s election results come trickling in (kind of how Leaf victories have come in recent years).

In all seriousness, the proper thing for the public broadcaster to do is to give up the very, very attractive tilt between the Maple Leafs and Canadiens and give us a steady dose of poll results. That would be more in keeping with the mandate of the corporation. As much as it hurts, the Leafs and Habs should be tossed over to TSN or some other willing participant, while the CBC gives us Peter and Rex as opposed to Ron and Don. I do see their conundrum, however. What’s more vital to the fabric of the heart and soul of Canada? Politics or hockey? They both have front row centre seats at any Tim Hortons discussion, 365 days a year. Tough one.

“All’s I’m sayin’, eh, is that McSquinty, or McGillicuddy, or whatever it is and everythink… he might as well have worn a visor on the campaign trail. Brutal.”












Got a solution. Give us a hybrid. Both hockey and politics are filled with cynicism. Is the NHL’s lip service on player safety any less cynical than a candidate’s hollow rhetoric on doing what’s best for the common good? Both are blood sports. I leave it to you to decide which is more heinous. And, like hockey, politics is filled, I mean filled with analysts who can’t wait for the red light to come on so they can pontificate on every single little detail of the action.

I envision a “Very Special Hockey Night In Canada,” on October 6th. We pick up the action midway through the second period. Leafs and Habs tied at 2.

Jim Hughson: It’s close one, folks, lots of chances, lots of mistakes and lots of head shots. Neither side has been able to muster a big advantage.”

Craig Simpson: “You talking about the Leafs and Canadiens, or the election campaign, Jim?”

Jim: “Both, Craig. Let’s send it down to Elliotte Friedman.”

Elliotte: “Guys, Ron Wilson hasn’t been happy with the play of  his team so far, lighting them up with an impassioned, energetic and profanity-laced speech during the first intermission. The kind of speech that might have helped either Dalton McGuinty or Tim Hudak down the stretch. You know, maybe without the profanity. By the way, the Canadiens are out-hitting the Leafs, 10-6 at this point, and NDP leader Andrea Horwath leads in her riding with 372 votes, with 16 of 47 polls reporting. Jim?”

Jim: “Thanks, Elliotte, now over to Peter Mansbridge for a preview of the second intermission.”

Peter: “Coming up, in our second intermission… a full rundown of the key battles in ridings that will, in large part, determine the fate of Premier Dalton McGuinty’s government. Our political roundtable includes Chantal Hebert, Andrew Coyne and P.J. Stock. Don Cherry and Ron MacLean join us, once again, live from Tim Hudak’s campaign headquarters, where Don is expected to give the Tory leader a kiss on the forehead. And, Rex Murphy with out of town scores and highlights. Jim?”

Jim: A delay in the action here as game ops staff members try to unfurrow Brian Burke’s eyebrows… that gives us a chance to send it down between the benches, where Glenn Healy and Wendy Mesley are standing by.”

HEALY: “Guys, you’ve got defencemen throwing it up the middle, forwards missing checking assignments…and, seriously, who doesn’t think the issue of allowing Muslim prayer in public schools is a campaign grenade. Honestly, it’s like amateur night here.”

WENDY: “Also, it looks like P.K. Subban’s knee injury is not serious. He’s expected back in time for the loser’s concession speech, which will happen at an actual concession stand in the Air Canada Club during the 3rd period. Guys?”

Jim: “Like to remind our viewers that a special edition of  “After Hours” comes up following the game…. Scott Oake and Ian Hanomansing are joined by the cast of “Dragons’ Den.” They’ll have all the scores and news from every riding and every arena, as well as post game comments from Jacques Martin and Ontario’s Lieutenant Governor David C. Onley. Now, here’s Ron MacLean.”

Ron: “Thanks, Jim. Special announcement: Circle February 11th, 2012 on your calendar. ‘Hockey Day In Canada,’ originally scheduled to take place in Prince Edward Island, will now be called ‘Hockey and Elections Day In Canada,’ and take place in the Northern Ontario riding of  Algoma-Manitoulin. Instead of constantly changing into different hockey jerseys, I’ll continually cross the floor to join different political parties, from the powerhouse Conservatives, to the fringe parties like The Family Coalition Party, or The Liberals. February 12th, on CBC. Now, over to Elliotte.”

Elliotte: “With Canadiens’ forward Mike Cammalleri… Mike, it’s been a tight struggle so far; your thoughts?”

Cammalleri: “Yeah… sure has… uh… I don’t think anybody really thought the riding of Richmond Hill…

Elliotte: “Your hometown…”

Cammalleri: “Right, my hometown… I don’t think anybody thought it’d be this tight. To think that Reza Moridi might actually lose this… you don’t, you know, think about that…. But, hey, hats off to Vic Gupta. He’s a good candidate, a real pro. Classy guy and, uh, he worked hard.

Elliotte: “And tonight’s game?”

Cammalleri: “Uh, you know, it’s tough to think about that with Reza Moridi may be going down to defeat. So, yeah. It’s tough.”

Elliotte: “A sombre tone from one of the NHL’s feistiest political thinkers. Over to Ron MacLean, to ‘pun’ us out of it.”

Ron: “Power plays will be the key to deciding this, Elliotte. Or, rather, will it be ‘Powerplay’, with Evan Solomon?”

Jim: “Three and a half to go in the second, Leafs and Canadiens tied at two, Liberals leading or elected in 23, Conservatives leading or elected in 16….”


[box border=”full”]To read Rocket Ismail: Anatomy Of The Deal, click here.[/box]

THE NUTSHELL: Palin’s Past, The Maple Leafs’ Future And The NHL’s Twits

A collection of random thoughts on random things.


Eddie Shore: “Look forward to breaking stick on Mush March’s shins 2nite. LMAO. #thiskidbrimsekwillnevermakeit”

How will we ever live without game day tweets from NHL players? How is a fan expected to adjust to a life where their favourite fourth line winger isn’t telling them how their pre-game nap went? Or just how pumped they are to play in Nashville that night? The NHL has banned game day tweets from its players. And this has somehow turned into an issue. Here’s the part where I sound like an old fart and wistfully harken back to the simpler times, where I’d never even heard of tweets, twitter or any kind of social media. Back then, hockey issues were things like: “Do the Red Wings have the goaltender they need to go all the way?” Or: “Can the Leafs survive while Mats Sundin is injured?” Or: “Should the NHL add more teams to the playoffs?” Or: “Can the Kansas City Scouts lose every game they play?” Now those were hockey issues. Am I really supposed to care if  a Canucks’ defenceman feels like “y-frogging” a picture of his buddy taping a stick at the morning skate? Just drop the friggin’ puck.

The Toronto Maple Leafs have decided, as part of a sponsorship agreement, to wear a Purolator patch on their game day skate jerseys. Ah, we take that first tippy-toe step out onto the slippery slope. Make no mistake. At some point, the Leafs will have advertising patches on their game jerseys. You will hate it. You may even threaten to “never watch another game if those greedy bastards sell out.” But you will get used to it. And it will one day become the norm. Remember when they started showing commercials before movies in theatres? How many of us swore never to go again? Now, we’re used to it and don’t much give it a second thought. When internet sites started running commercials before their highlight clips, how many times did you immediately click away from it, muttering under your breath? How many times do you do that now? Advertising on game uniforms in North America’s big four leagues will come. It won’t be the NHL, MLB or NBA that does it. It will be the NFL. Not because they need to, but because they will be able to. They’ll be able to gather in ungodly amounts of sponsorship money, and they’ll be able to easily withstand any fan backlash that rises out of it. Soon after that, the way paved, the other leagues will follow.

Not much room for advertising patches on the “uniforms” worn by the girls of the Lingerie Football League. The expansion Toronto Triumph makes its home debut tomorrow night against the Tampa Breeze. I have questions, not knowing much about the league. Three downs or four downs? Fair catch or no yards? Victoria’s Secret or La Senza? C’mon, folks, get out to Ricoh Coliseum, these girls need your support. I think. Could be their uniforms come complete with some underwire technology. Added attraction: Toronto Councillor Doug Ford’s daughter, Krista, is listed on the team’s roster. I’m happy she shares the family passion for football. I’m equally happy that her dad and uncle don’t share her passion for showing plenty of skin.


"And that's the sports news. Well, there is one other story, but I can't get into that. Tee Hee."

Let’s stay with the colliding worlds of politics and sports. The unauthorized biography of Sarah Palin is apparently rife with salacious, sure-to-be-denied details of the former and possibly future U.S. presidential candidate. Did she have a fling with NBA star Glen Rice, when Rice was still in college and she was an aspiring sports reporter? Will Palin claim that it did happen, but only because Rice was one of those liberal elite college guys, who surprised her with “gotcha” sex? Another claim in the book: “Searching For The Real Sarah Palin,” is that witnesses saw Palin snorting coke from the top of an oil drum. Don’t know if it happened, but it does make some sense. With Palin’s famous passion for  oil (drill, baby, drill), her snorting coke off a barrel would be akin to Charlie Sheen doing blow off the chest of a $10,000.00 a night hooker. Wait a second. It actually might be more probable that Palin snorted a line of oil off a brick of cocaine. Or, the carcass of a freshly bagged moose.

A rat was caught in the Toronto City Hall Budget Chief’s office. It was immediately killed. Well, reducing redundancies is one way of tackling the city’s operating deficit.


Sarah Jessica Parker has a new movie out. It’s about a busy supermom who endeavours to balance work and family life. Called “I Don’t Know How She Does It,” the title refers to the character she plays. Or, it might actually refer to her getting jobs after “Sex And The City 2.”

Bladder control undergarment maker “Depends” has a new TV commercial out. The soundtrack for it is the classic R & B tune “Green Onions,” by Booker T and the MG’s.  I don’t suppose that ol’ Book and the rest of the crew ever thought, back in 1962, that their ultra cool tune would ever be used to make adult diapers seem badass. Sorry, wrong choice of words. Now, when I reach that stage, I’m going to demand an 80’s tune or two to sell me. “Six Months In a Leaky Boat.” No, wait! “Let It Go,” by Luba.


NASA says there’s now way to much space garbage orbiting the earth. To the point where the debris is a danger to future missions. Time to build a giant orbiting blue box. An International Space Recycling Station.

The Gist Of It – September 14


This week, Landry and Hayes discuss the relative merits of NHL prospect camp hockey. What’s the lure? As well, they kick around some of their favourite story lines and performances from Week 1 of the NFL season, and Week 11 of the CFL season.

Serena Williams’ bad mood at the U.S. Open is discussed, with one of the boys being particularly disgusted.

Bill’s not big on all the fawning going on at the Toronto International Film Festival, while Don kinda digs the hoopla.

What’s to become of the TTC? And, is it really so terrible to be known as “Premier Dad”?