Neate Sager

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Neate Sager is a blogger for Yahoo! Sports.

  • WHL's Kelowna Rockets lose Dan Lambert to Buffalo Sabres

    Dan Lambert guided Kelowna to a 53-13-0-6 regular-season record (Aaron Bell, CHL Images)Dan Lambert guided Kelowna to a 53-13-0-6 regular-season record (Aaron Bell, CHL Images)

    It turns out that when new Buffalo Sabres coach Dan Bylsma was in Kelowna as a guest coach in March, he was informally checking out Dan Lambert to fill an opening on staff.

    On Monday, Lambert, who was the Western Hockey League coach of the year after guiding the Kelowna Rockets to a championship as a first-year head coach, joined Bylsma with the Sabres an assistant coach. It's a bit of a shocker this Lambert's tenure is over in a flash, but the two have that type of rapport.

    "I don't think that anybody anticipated this was going to happen after my first season as head coach," Lambert told CBC Radio reporter Josh Pagé. "I think it was a bit of a surprise to [Rockets general manager and president] Bruce [Hamilton] but in saying that he was very supportive and understood that we all have aspirations in life. Mine is I want to be the best coach that I can be."

    Lambert was just the Rockets' fourth head coach since the turn of the millennium, with each one having delivered a WHL

    Read More »from WHL's Kelowna Rockets lose Dan Lambert to Buffalo Sabres
  • Marner lost the OHL scoring title by one point (Alan Diaz, AP)Marner lost the OHL scoring title by one point (Alan Diaz, AP)

    Toronto Maple Leafs top pick Mitchell Marner wore Doug Gilmour's digits while lighting up the OHL offensively. As it turns out, as a young minor hockey player, the London Knights star's game owed more to another blue-and-white icon. Take your pick between a young Wendel Clark or,Tim Horton.

    Last weekend, footage of the 18-year-old centre as a minor hockey player surfaced on YouTube, mixed with Marner's highlights from throughout minor hockey and right up to his two years with the Knights. Body checking is now forbidden in most younger age groups in minor hockey, but when Marner was at that level, it was allowed, and it turns out he regularly knocked over much bigger children.

    Actually, maybe this footage made the argument for no checking. Just kidding.

    There is not much more to add without falling into the typical Toronto hockey media trap of overanalyzing everything about a player, other than to say Marner's giftedness was evident from a very early age. It's hard not to romanticize

    Read More »from Toronto Maple Leafs top pick Mitch Marner was a terror in minor hockey (VIDEO)
  • Halifax Rainmen owner Andre Levingston (CTV Atlantic)Halifax Rainmen owner Andre Levingston (CTV Atlantic)

    Just as a sage hoops fan can make a travelling call from the mezzanine, the National Basketball League of Canada's unravelling could also be called from a month away. Two months removed from the forfeit fiasco that eradicated Game 7 of the NBLC's final and led to heavy fines for Halifax Rainmen coaches and players, the Halifax team has declared bankruptcy.

    No, I did not see this coming either.

    “I am incredibly proud of what the Halifax Rainmen have accomplished over the past eight years, bringing world-class basketball to a city that we’ve been proud to call home,” [Rainmen owner Andre] Levingston said in [a media release] release.
    “While it’s disappointing to see this chapter end, I can hold my head high knowing that we did everything we could have done. I love this game and I love this city.”
    The Halifax Rainmen was founded in 2006 and began with the American Basketball Association in 2007-2008 before joining the Premier Basketball League (PBL) in 2008. It has been part of the NBLC
    Read More »from Halifax Rainmen, who forfeited National Basketball League of Canada final, are bankrupt
  • Henry Burris had 3 touchdown passes on Saturday (Adrian Wyld, The Canadian Press)Henry Burris had 3 touchdown passes on Saturday (Adrian Wyld, The Canadian Press)

    Henry Burris, who can be as smooth with a simile as he is with a seam route, was quick to play down the obvious narrative about the Ottawa Redblacks.

    Of course, no one this side of a monastery probably has the willpower to resist pointing out that Redblacks, out of the chute at 2-0 following Saturday's 27-16 home-opener win over the B.C. Lions, have already matched their 2014 Year 1 win total. Last year was last year, though, and that 2-16 finish did obscure that Ottawa was perpetually a play or two away last season.

    "We don't remember last year," Burris said.. "Do we care? No. Let's let bygones be bygones. Last year we were pickles, cucumbers and olives from other teams. Now we're all Redblacks. We're making plays and our confidence is sky-high."

    "We know we have that big-play potential now," the quarterback said after a night where the pertinent stat was his passing line, 23-of-29 for 296 yards and three touchdowns with one interception, instead of his age — 40. "As long as we have

    Read More »from Ottawa Redblacks not shocked by 2-0 start, which matches entire 2014 win total
  • Ottawa Redblacks' Brad Sinopoli has huge homecoming

    Sinopoli (right) had 99 yards on nine catches on Saturday (Adrian Wyld, The Canadian Press)Sinopoli (right) had 99 yards on nine catches on Saturday (Adrian Wyld, The Canadian Press)

    Brad Sinopoli is still a GG — as in glue guy.

    The Ottawa Redblacks receiver was sidelined last August when his Calgary Stampepders made their only visit of 2014 to TD Place, which was a rundown venue when Sinopoli was a Hec Crighton Trophy-winning quarterback a half-decade ago with the Ottawa Gee-Gees. In his first game in the nation's capital since his last university game in 2010, all Sinopoli did was work underneath the B.C. Lions' coverage for a team-high 99 yards on nine receptions during the 27-16 comeback win that pushed the Redblacks to 2-0. Almost all of Sinopoli's yards out of the No. 3 receiver slot came during Ottawa scoring drives, including chain-moving second-down catches that presaged both fourth-quarter touchdowns.

    You couldn't write a better homecoming than that, but then again, scramblers thrive at going off-script.

    "I've been thinking about this game for a long time," said Sinopoli, 27, whom the Redblacks signed as their Canadian receiver in the winter at a

    Read More »from Ottawa Redblacks' Brad Sinopoli has huge homecoming
  • Andre De Grasse is Canadian sprinting's biggest thing since Donovan Bailey

    Canadian Andre De Grasse celebrates after winning the men's 200 meters during the NCAA track and field championships in Eugene, Ore., Friday, June 12, 2015. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)Canadian Andre De Grasse celebrates after winning the men's 200 meters during the NCAA track and field championships in Eugene, Ore., Friday, June 12, 2015. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)

    One reason the 100 metres is the alpha event of the summer Olympics roster is that there's still a part of it that cannot be coached, inculcated from an early age and high performance centred until the athlete is a machine with a heartbeat. 

    In English, either you can run really, really fast over a short span or you cannot. That's part of the appeal with Canada's new out-of-the-blocks star Andre De Grasse, the 20-year-old Markham, Ont., native that ran a 9.95-second 100 in Edmonton on Friday, the first sub-10-second 100 in this country since the 2001 worlds in the same city. De Grasse, not unlike Olympic champion and former world record holder Donovan Bailey, was a convert from basketball who came to track by happenstance; he's only in his fourth year of sprinting. He's also come along when the timing and tide might be right for Canada to embrace a sprinter again, since Bailey came along just too soon after Ben Johnson, whose name 28 years later is still to Athletics Canada what

    Read More »from Andre De Grasse is Canadian sprinting's biggest thing since Donovan Bailey
  • Rocky Thompson has coached in the NHL, AHL and WHL (Edmonton Oilers photo)Rocky Thompson has coached in the NHL, AHL and WHL (Edmonton Oilers photo)

    It would make sense that the Windsor Spitfires would hand their coaching reins to Rocky Thompson, who has worked with Taylor Hall. The headiness of the Hall years is a beacon for the franchise, which hasn't replicated that success since being sanctioned by the Ontario Hockey League in 2012 for recruiting violations that occurred during the champoionship years.

    San Jose-bound majority owner Bob Boughner and general manager and vice-president Warren Rychel somewhat tipped their and on Thursday by telling the Windsor Star's Jim Parker that Boughner's successor  "has no current or past ties to the Ontario Hockey League, but ... has NHL ties."

    Thompson, who was an Edmonton Oilers assistant coach last season before being dismissed when the NHL team cleaned house after the season before hiring new GM Peter Chiarelli, fits that description. Thompson and Boughner were also NHL teammates, although that's not necessarily the most interesting connection.

    Read More »from Windsor Spitfires name Rocky Thompson coach, capitalizing on Taylor Hall ties
  • Watching Blue Jays prospect Vladimir Guerrero Jr. swing a breath of fresh air

    Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. takes a cut during a prospect showcase in the Dominican Republic in February (FanGraphs)Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. takes a cut during a prospect showcase in the Dominican Republic in February (FanGraphs)

    For the sheer prospect prurience of it all, the Toronto Blue Jays signing Domincian slugging prospect Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is nearly unprecedented.

    It's not simply that the Jays, ever accountable to the Rogers accountants, handed out a $3.9-million signing bonus to a 16-year-old who has "such hitting ability and power" rarely seen in a player that age. Or that he comes with the cachet of being the spitting-image son of former Montreal Expos star and American League MVP Vladimir Guerrero, at a time when big-time sports are starting to see second-generation stars who have inherited the genetic makeup that is 99 per cent of the battle and have had access to specialized coaching (see Stephen Curry or Andrew Wiggins). It's just that Guerrero Jr., brings all that, and that swing captured in scouting videos is baseball incarnate. Just look at the swing

    Rarely have the Jays had someone such as that at the intake stage of a player's career. Roberto Alomar, the only player enshrined in the

    Read More »from Watching Blue Jays prospect Vladimir Guerrero Jr. swing a breath of fresh air
  • Bob Boughner is joining the San Jose Sharks (Aaron Bell, OHL Images)Bob Boughner is joining the San Jose Sharks (Aaron Bell, OHL Images)

    It's said he who chases two rabbits catch none, but many pro coaches who also own major junior teams have tried to keep some skin in the day-to-day doings with the latter.

    Four seasons ago, Bob Boughner felt compelled to return to the Windsor Spitfires after a single season in the big leagues with the Columbus Blue Jackets. Now Boughner, upon confirmation of last Saturday's report that he is joining the coaching staff of the San Jose Sharks, is emphasizing that will remain involved with the OHL team, which is around the midway stage of a growth cycle. The coach's departure won't hasten a full-scale change, as was speculated.

    From Jim Parker (@winstarparker):

    Boughner was quick to put an end to speculation to his future as majority owner of the Spitfires.
    “There’s no changes in ownership,” Boughner said. “There no intention of selling any shares, so get rid of that rumour.
    “I’m still staying as president and I want to assure people of that. Yes, I’m leaving for the season, but I will
    Read More »from Bob Boughner keeps Windsor Spitfires ownership reign after jump to San Jose Sharks
  • Kitchener Rangers adding goalie Luke Opilka, a St. Louis Blues draft pick

    Luke Opilka was taken by the Blues in the fifth round last Saturday (NHL.com)Luke Opilka was taken by the Blues in the fifth round last Saturday (NHL.com)

    It appears the Kitchener Rangers will spell goaltending relief O-p-i-l-k-a.

    The OHL franchise has had some successful with St. Louis natives who came north by way of the U.S. national team development program in the form of centre Ryan MacInnis, who was an Arizona Coyotes second-round choice in 2014 and led the Rangers in points last season. Now 18-year-old goalie Luke Opilka, whom the St. Louis Blues chose in the fifth round, No. 146 overall in the NHL draft last Saturday, has decommitted from the Big Ten's Wisconsin Badgers and will apparently sign on with Kitchener.

    From Andy Johnson (@AndyJohnsonB5Q):

    The Rangers used

    Read More »from Kitchener Rangers adding goalie Luke Opilka, a St. Louis Blues draft pick

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