Neate Sager

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Neate Sager is a blogger for Yahoo! Sports.

  • Travis Konecny, over time, has become that skill player with a willingness to the dirty work.

    That, of course, is the paradigm for Canada's national junior team, even as Hockey Canada has shifted its focus more to skill and speed after learning some hard lessons during a half-decade gold-medal drought at the world junior championship. Konecny, the the Philadephia Flyers first-round pick and Ottawa 67's captain who is tied for second in the OHL assists race, fits in with that. The 18-year-old right wing getting the call on Tuesday to join Team Canada selection camp in Toronto really just about confirming expectations of those who have followed the Clachan, Ont.'s native progress closely for 2½ seasons. 

    Konency put up numbers in his yearling OHL season, when he was the circuit's rookie of the year. In coach-GM Jeff Brown's grand scheme, he's more of an all-around player, with a reverse Cy Young stat line. With six goals and 33 assists, he's the only only top-10 scorer in the OHL with a

    Read More »from Flyers first-rounder Travis Konecny should lend Team Canada 'dynamic' element
  • The financial realites of a salary cap league began to hit the Ottawa Redblacks like a sudden temperature drop, as they gathered for one last time on Tuesday.

    The CFL is the league where one cannot tell the players without an app that updates on roster churn. After Year 1, it was evident there would be upgrades all over the roster. After the charmed run to a Grey Cup trip, Ottawa will be parting with some key pieces.

    "We have lot of good people here and a lot of good talent," said middle linebacker Damaso Munoz, one of the defensive starters who can become a free agent in February. "Hopefully this fire burns until next season.

    "It's been a lot of ups and downs — a lot hard work, a lot of growing, a lot of a lot of things," added Munoz, who signed with Ottawa midway through 2014 after a stint with Tampa Bay in the NFL. "We have something special here and it's up to management to keep it together. That's the way it is in this league. There's a lot of turnover and until the GMs make the

    Read More »from Ottawa Redblacks' CFL off-season priorities are many: 'We'll set the bar higher'
  • Why Henry Burris feels he will return 'back strong' at age 41

    Henry Burris cannot stop, so it's back to square one at age 41.

    Anecdotal evidence is mostly what we have to go on since there is a very small sample size of pro quarterbacks fortunate enough to still be prized enough to flinging footballs into their fifth decade. The fountain-of-youth season is often followed by a time-catching-up reckoning. Burris' CFL contemporaries Damon Allen and Anthony Calvillo produced into their 40s, but each was limited to a half-season in his final CFL campaign. South of the border, there is Peyton Manning at loggerheads with the Denver Broncos over whether he is fit to play. Or, to cross sports streams, trying looking up Kobe Bryant's shooting percentage for the Lakers without cringing.

    Burris maintained that a Grey Cup win against Edmonton instead of the Ottawa Redblacks' 26-20 loss would not have altered his plans. How do you quit after passing for a league-high 5,703 yards and winning the Most Outstanding Player award?

    "That would be a sweet thing as far

    Read More »from Why Henry Burris feels he will return 'back strong' at age 41
  • Team Canada names World Junior Championship selection camp roster

    With a gold medal to defend and only three players back from last winter, Team Canada head scout Ryan Jankowski, et al., believe they will find the right group for the world junior hockey championship in Helsinki.

    The 17-forward, 11-defenceman selection camp roster, with New Jersey Devils and Calgary Flames draftees Mackenzie Blackwood and Mason McDonald locked in as the goalies, was named on Monday. The camp takes place Dec. 10-13 at the MasterCard Centre in Toronto. The 20-skater, two-goalie roster that will likely include Toronto Maple Leafs top draft pick Mitch Marner is expected to be set around Dec. 20, before Canada jets off to play its final exhibition games before its first Group A game against Team USA on Boxing Day.

    Canada finished fourth in the last two WJC held overseas (Malmo, Sweden in 2014 and Ufa, Russia in 2013).


    Read More »from Team Canada names World Junior Championship selection camp roster
  • It's been a trying enough season for Justin Nichols without having fans cover the ice with stuffed animals when he actually made a great save.

    As the overage goalie for a Guelph Storm team that has two wins in 24 Ontario Hockey League outings, Nichols has surely felt his share of frustration. One can only imagine it must have felt tragicomic last Friday when the 20-year-old got the paddle down to rob Kingston Frontenacs centre Warren Foegele of what looked like the first goal of the game 1:19 into the second period. The goal judge turned on the red light signalling goal and Foegele had his stick in the air, so herrrrrrre came the stuffed animals, as per the Teddy Bear Toss tradition of throwing the donations on to the ice after the home team's first goal.

    "This will be very disappointing if they call this off," TV Cogeco Kingston commentator Tim Cunningham observed. "What, do they throw the teddy bears back into the crowd?"

    A barrage of plush bears is not as dangerous as thousands of

    Read More »from Teddy Bear Toss No Goal: OHL fans cover ice, even though goalie made save (VIDEO)
  • UBC Thunderbirds upset Montreal Carabins 26-23 in Vanier Cup classic

    Once in a great while, a team whose quarterback throws the ball a country mile and has a football mind just as long-range as Michael O'Connor's turns university football inside-out and upside-down.

    The UBC Thunderbirds, on the wings of O'Connor's arm strength and a timely tip-drill interception by defensive back Kevin Wiens near midfield with 1:19 left in a deadlocked Vanier Cup, gave the more seasoned Montreal Carabins comeuppance with an 26-23 last-play victory on Saturday. Led by O'Connor going 31-for-51 for 389 yards and a touchdown pass, the 19-year-old became the first rookie in 49 years to be the winning quarterback of record in the the Canadian Interuniversity Sport football championship game. The transfer from Penn State, who chose and the West Coast over several major-college teams that wanted his talents, led UBC out to 16 and 13-point leads. In the final minute, after A.J. Blackwell deflected the final pass of Carabins QB Gabriel Cousineau's career, Wiens intercepted and

    Read More »from UBC Thunderbirds upset Montreal Carabins 26-23 in Vanier Cup classic
  • Redblacks' rise reflects how Ottawa's football love is deep

    I was headed up to the video store — that was a thing then — in Simcoe, Ont., on a gloomy winter afternoon nearly 11 years ago when the car radio relayed that the Ottawa Renegades had got the kiss of death.

    That bit of news, of course, was that Brad Watters' ownership group, after hosting the 2004 Grey Cup, had cashed out by selling the 'Gades to Not Them Again, AKA Bernie and Lonie Glieberman of early 1990s Rough Riders and Shreveport Pirates infamy. On the lulz end, it worked like a dream. The late great Earl McRae was wont to calling the younger Glieberguy "Cuddles" in columns. A sweet piece of much lower-hanging fruit was How do you spell Lonie? With one N and a lot of L's. A year and a bit later, within a month of your agent moving to town, the 'Gades were gone, and the city had gone two and out in the CFL.

    Please excuse leading into this with a first-person pronoun. (What would Milt Dunnell think if he was here?) From the perspective of someone who loves Canadian football and

    Read More »from Redblacks' rise reflects how Ottawa's football love is deep
  • Tacticurn technicians tend not to be headline-friendly, either literally or figuratively, but they do cross the T's and dot the I's.

    There is a conundrum with relating to understanding football that pertains to coaches such as the Ottawa Redblacks' Rick Campbell and Edmonton's Chris Jones. The Grey Cup head coaches seem forged from a similar tintype that proscribes the right-brain digressions that throw the rest of us for a loss. Edmonton media have played up Jones' brusqueness. Campbell's deadpan home-run answer to the pregame sex question was all the more funnier because of the premise that the 44-year-old head coach practised his response. It almost took on a life of its own in the replaying of the clip — Campbell work-shopping The Response with his closest confidants. doing a walkthrough on the wording, then bringing it up to half speed, then three-quarters and full speed before springingg it on an unsuspecting media like a new pass play, 

    Of course, there is no one way to be

    Read More »from Ottawa's Rick Campbell, Edmonton's Chris Jones embody traits of the best football coaches
  • Vanier Cup preview: Montreal favoured against UBC, but Thunderbirds' time is coming

    UBC Thunderbirds coach Blake Nill has been party to a watershed moment in Canadian university football; now he's trying to create another one.

    The university games goes in cycles in terms of which conference monopolizes the Vanier. This is the era of Quebec, as the Montreal Carabins of Danny Maciocia aim to make it back-to-back national titles when they try to stymie phenom quarterback Michael O'Connor and the rather prolific T-Birds passing game on Saturday (12:30 p.m. ET/9:30 a.m. PT, Sportsnet/Sportsnet 360). 

    It's convenient to flash back to Nill's first Vanier as a head coach,  which was also the Rouge et Or's first and was the last one of the last century. People who were around that week in 1999 before Laval shaded Saint Mary's 14-10 for the first of its now eight championships couldn't help but notice the contrast in resources between the well-bankrolled arriviste from Quebec City and the traditionally powerful Huskies, and in how they practised and prepared.

    The cycles tend to

    Read More »from Vanier Cup preview: Montreal favoured against UBC, but Thunderbirds' time is coming
  • #OnlyInCIS: Aldrich Berrios hits 2 threes in game's final seconds for UBC Okanagan

    Aptly, the hottest hand in Canadian Interuniversity Sport hoops belongs to Aldrich Berrios of the UBC Okanagan Heat.

    Last Saturday, the second-year UBC-O guard hit two coldblooded last-second three-pointers that allowed the Heat to surmount the Mount Royal Cougars for an 87-84 home-floor win in Canada West action.

    Mount Royal missed a chance to seal the win when leading scorer Brett Layton split at the free-throw line after being strategically fouled. Berrios rushed upcourt and sank a tying triple with 0.8 seconds on the clock.

    (GIF credit: YouTube)(GIF credit: YouTube)

    When Mount Royal's Derek Wolf airmailed a lob pass from midcourt out of bounds, that gave the Heat an extra possession. Berrios capitalized, flicking the ball in from half-court for the UBC-O win.

    (GIF credit: YouTube)(GIF credit: YouTube)

    Watch Berrios put his heroics on full display in the video below:

    "The two big shots I hit were just bound to happen whether by me or by someone else on the team," Berrios, a Burnaby, B.C., native who is averaging 17.7 points for the Kelowna-based Heat, told the UBC

    Read More »from #OnlyInCIS: Aldrich Berrios hits 2 threes in game's final seconds for UBC Okanagan


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