Writers Bloc

Jeff Blair. Stephen Brunt. Richard Deitsch. As long-time journalists they’ve all experienced writer’s block, but they’ve never run out of things to say Opinions, insight and analysis from three of the smartest sports observers in the country. Writers Bloc… sharp takes, not hot takes.

Listen live weekdays from 2:00 to 5:00 PM on Sportsnet 590 The FAN.

Recent Episodes
May 17: What’s Next for Masai Ujiri and the Raptors?
May 17, 2021
May 17, 2021
May 17: What’s Next for Masai Ujiri and the Raptors?

Jeff Blair and Stephen Brunt react to Nick Nurse’s year end comments and discuss Masai Ujiri’s status ahead of an uncertain offseason for the Toronto Raptors. SiriusXM NBA's Mitch Lawrence on the Lakers facing the Warriors in the play-in tournament, the excitement for the Knicks in New York, and what to make of the Raptors' disappointing year (3:25pm). Lightning analyst Brian Engblom describes the scene and fans excitement for Tampa Bay’s 5-4 game one win over the Panthers and looks back on his time with the Montreal Canadiens when he faced the classic Maple Leafs and Bruins teams of the late 70s and early 80s (3:40). Elliotte Friedman talks about the parity within the postseason, which U.S cities make sense for Canadian teams to host their home games, and the early results from the opening weekend of the Stanley Cup Playoffs (4pm). Blue Jays analyst Pat Tabler assesses the team at the quarter-point of the season, names his surprises and disappointments, and talks about how the team’s youthful enthusiasm has helped make the most of difficult circumstances (4:25).

The views and opinions expressed in this podcast are those of the hosts and guests and do not necessarily reflect the position of Rogers Sports & Media or any affiliates.

May 14, 2021
May 14: Scotty Bowman on the Leafs-Habs Rivalry

Jeff Blair and Stephen Brunt open the show discussing Nate Pearson’s setback. Hockey Central’s Justin Bourne talks about why he thinks the Jets will upset the Oilers, assesses Frederik Andersen’s return to the Maple Leafs crease, and shares his predictions for the other first-round series in the Stanley Cup Playoffs (18:35). Robert Witchel, Executive Director of the Jays Care Foundation, talks about the organisation and the City of Toronto introducing "Roy Halladay Field," on what would have been the Hall of Famer's 44th birthday (35:37). ESPN’s Jeff Passan talks about Nate Pearson’s status with the Blue Jays, shoulder injuries for pitchers, Alek Manoah’s proximity to the majors, and how some front offices have the talent to build bullpens from nothing (47:53). NHL legend Scotty Bowman reflects on the rivalry and respect between the 1970’s Maple Leafs & Canadiens, and shares his thoughts on this year’s matchup between the two teams in the Stanley Cup Playoffs (1:08:26). 

The views and opinions expressed in this podcast are those of the hosts and guests and do not necessarily reflect the position of Rogers Sports & Media or any affiliates

May 12, 2021
May 12: Bring on Leafs-Habs!

Jeff Blair and Stephen Brunt discuss significant moments in Toronto sports history on the two-year anniversary of Kawhi Leonard’s buzzer-beater to eliminate the Philadelphia 76ers. NBA Head Coach and analyst David Fizdale shares his thoughts on the Raptors tumultuous 2020-21 campaign and if they are built for success in the Eastern Conference going forward (20:55). Maple Leafs radio voice Joe Bowen comments on Toronto facing the Montreal Canadiens in the playoffs for the first-time since 1979 and what he is expecting from Frederik Andersen and the team in the final two regular season games (36:07). Buffalo Bisons (aka Trenton Thunder Herd) pitching coach Jeff Ware discusses the potential of both Nate Pearson and Alek Manoah, what he’ll be working on with Pearson when he returns, and how close he believes Manoah is to the major leagues (47:45). NHL insider Renaud Lavoie chimes-in on the Maple Leafs goaltending, Shea Weber’s importance to the Canadiens, and who he thinks is a good fit to coach the New York Rangers (1:09:47).


The views and opinions expressed in this podcast are those of the hosts and guests and do not necessarily reflect the position of Rogers Sports & Media or any affiliates.

May 11, 2021
May 11: Pearson heads back to the Bisons

Jeff Blair and Stephen Brunt open the show discussing the Raptors officially missing the playoffs, but how the organization deserves credit for its consistency. JAPAN Forward's Ed Odeven comments on the current situation in the country regarding COVID-19, why the vaccination rate there is so low, and if the populace in Tokyo want the Olympic Games to proceed (18:23). Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News talks about the latest problems surrounding the Buffalo Sabres, notably Jack Eichel’s unhappiness with the organization and why Ralph Kreuger wasn’t the right fit behind the bench (34:48). Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston chats about Frederik Andersen’s return to the Maple Leafs crease, what Riley Nash can bring to the team, and the postseason series that have been set up so far (47:28). Buck Martinez discusses the Pearson move and if there is any urgency to promote Alek Manoah to the big leagues (1:08:03).


The views and opinions expressed in this podcast are those of the hosts and guests and do not necessarily reflect the position of Rogers Sports & Media or any affiliates.

May 10, 2021
May 10: Leafs Clinch the North!

Jeff Blair and Stephen Brunt discuss the Toronto Raptors' disappointing season, look back on the decision to keep Kyle Lowry at the deadline and wonder what the future holds for Masai Ujiri. Former Maple Leafs forward Steve Thomas talks about what made his Toronto teams successful and what Nick Foligno can add to the team in the postseason (25:51). Sherman Hamilton shares his thoughts on the future of the Raptors organization with the team all but eliminated from postseason contention, will Kyle Lowry and/or Masai Ujiri be back (37:22)? Elliotte Friedman of 31 Thoughts: The Podcast & Hockey Night Canada discusses what the Maple Leafs need to see from Frederik Andersen ahead of the playoffs, Jack Eichel’s “disconnect” with the Buffalo Sabres, and if John Tortorella is destined to be back behind the bench or in the broadcast booth (52:08). FOX Sports MLB analyst Ben Verlander talks Nate Pearson’s struggles, the toll a season off is having on minor-league players, the number of no-hitters already thrown this season, the surging Red Sox, and the Dodgers' early-season woes (1:14:46). 

The views and opinions expressed in this podcast are those of the hosts and guests and do not necessarily reflect the position of Rogers Sports & Media or any affiliates.