Neate Sager

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Neate Sager is a blogger for Yahoo! Sports.

  • Connor McDavid needs 9 points to tie the OHL single-playoff record (Aaron Bell, OHL Images)Connor McDavid needs 9 points to tie the OHL single-playoff record (Aaron Bell, OHL Images)

    Oshawa Generals coach D.J. Smith is the thread that ties Connor McDavid to his future Edmonton Oilers teammate, Taylor Hall.

    Smith's time as a Windsor Spitfires assistant coach covered the era when Hall matured into a star at the world junior championship, a Memorial Cup MVP and a NHL first overall pick. It also covered the span when another singular talent at the OHL level, current Nashville Predators defenceman Ryan Ellis, won WJC gold as a underage player and later carried off OHL player-of-the-year honours, which McDavid will shortly. 

    And absolutely none of that is relatable to drafting a game plan to the dim the lights on The McDavid Show in the OHL final against the Erie Otters.

    "I think Connor's a different player than Taylor," says Smith, whose team hosts McDavid and the Erie Otters in games 1 and 2 of the best-of-7 final on Friday and Saturday. "Certainly, after having Taylor his whole career in Windsor, I think you've got a different player, different elements to their

    Read More »from Connor McDavid beyond compare: Oshawa Generals' D.J. Smith
  • Josh Brown signed with the Florida Panthers in April (Terry Wilson, OHL Images)Josh Brown signed with the Florida Panthers in April (Terry Wilson, OHL Images)

    Connor McDavid is an irresistible force, so that must make Josh Brown the immovable object.

    One captain in the OHL final is the best foot that the Canadian Hockey League likes to put forward, even if the McDavid phenomenon might simply be proof major junior works best for young players who were already good. It's notable, going into the championship series, that Brown is more representative of the rise-and-grind reality of junior puck, having become a two-year captain for the Oshawa Generals while earning a contract with the Florida Panthers, who played a sixth-round hunch on him in the 2013 draft.

    As it happens, Friday's series opener will come exactly 17 months to the day since McDavid last faced the Generals, early in 2013-14. That's only whetted the 6-foot-4, 205-pound Brown's appetite to help lead the group effort at stymieing the phenom.

    "You always want to put yourself up against the best players and the hardest challenges," the London, Ont., native said on Wednesday. "So for

    Read More »from Generals captain Josh Brown's path to NHL contract more typical of the OHL grind
  • Zach Fucale is looking to win his second QMJHL championship. (Ghyslain Bergeron / CP)Zach Fucale is looking to win his second QMJHL championship. (Ghyslain Bergeron / CP)

    Combing all corners of the country and the blogosphere for your junior hockey headlines ...

    WHL

    Via Regan Bartel, Edmonton Oilers top pick Leon Draisaitl made sure to tell officials not to credit him for a redirected goal during Kelowna's clincher against Portland. Whataguy. (Regan's Rant)

    Small world: Brandon forward Tyler Coulter had a Wheat Kings player living in his home  the last time a WHL final was played in western Manitoba, 10 years ago. (Luber's Lounge)

    Which starting goalie does one put more faith in, Kelowna's Jackson Whistle or Brandon's Jordan Papirny? They're each namesakes of icons from other sports. (Brandon Sun, Kelowna Daily Courier)

    Here is hoping every team's draft day is better than that movie, Draft Day. (Prince George Citizen, Regina Leader-Post, Saskatoon StarPhoenix, Victoria Times-Colonist)

    Commissioner Ron Robison would really, really, really, really like the Lethbridge Hurricanes board to sell the team. (Global News)

    Who is captain material in and around

    Read More »from Remparts take opener, Veleno eyes early entry: the coast-to-coast
  • Michael Dal Colle and Oshawa host Game 1 on Friday (Terry Wilson, OHL Images)Michael Dal Colle and Oshawa host Game 1 on Friday (Terry Wilson, OHL Images)

    Come one, come all for the Buzzing The Net CHL Chatravaganza that is slated for Thursday at 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT. 

    Please join Sunaya Sapurji, Mike Sanderson, Kelly Friesen, Neate Sager and the rest of the Yahoo! Jr. Hockey crew for the blogetariat's most popular, approximately one hour long discussion dedicated to all things junior hockey. Between the Quebec Remparts being the first Memorial Cup host team in a quadrennial that might actually enter the tournament through the front door as league champion and the opening of the Ontario and Western league finals, there should be much to discuss.

    Please remember the Chatravaganza is BYOP — bring your own peanuts.

    Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet.

    Read More »from Buzzing The Net CHL Chatravaganza, Thurs., May 7, 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT!
  • Connor McDavid in OHL final causes spike on secondary ticket market

    McDavid had 8 goals, 19 points in the OHL semifinal (Terry Wilson, OHL Images)McDavid had 8 goals, 19 points in the OHL semifinal (Terry Wilson, OHL Images)

    It will be a while before a talent of Connor McDavid's magnitude comes through the OHL, and it has been a while since the Oshawa Generals, whom many view as a legacy franchise, have been to the league final.

    Combining the two means attending the Ontario Hockey League final will mean paying prices usually seen at a world junior championship. It's no surprise that the Generals sold out Game 1 and 2 very quickly on Monday morning, fewer than 24 hours after Oshawa won the Eastern Conference championship by defeating the North Bay Battalion. What is notable is how much resellers are expecting to cash in after snapping up tickets.

    In truth, it's hard to remember even having to look on resale sites such as Kijiji to see about secondary ticketing to a league final. The world junior and the Memorial Cup are the tent-pole events of the junior hockey; typically the championship series is really only a big deal in the cities where it is being held. However, the market moves a product, and McDavid

    Read More »from Connor McDavid in OHL final causes spike on secondary ticket market
  • Bjorkstrand off to worlds; Portland leaves a legacy: the coast-to-coast

    Portland's loss brought an end to Nic Petan's junior days (Photo by Marissa Baecker/Getty Images)Portland's loss brought an end to Nic Petan's junior days (Photo by Marissa Baecker/Getty Images)

     

    Combing all corners of the country and the blogosphere for your junior hockey headlines ...

    WHL

    With Portland vanquished, Columbus Blue Jackets prospect Oliver Bjorkstrand is joining Denmark at the world championship. (Pro Hockey Talk)

    Kelowna eliminating Portland is a ding-dong-the-witch-is-dead moment. (The Columbian, Kelowna Daily Courier, The Oregonian, Regan's Rant)

    Lucas Punkari pores over the Winterhawks' nearly matchless run across the last five years: "This is something we won’t see the likes of again for quite some time." (Sort Of A Protest Blog)

    Top 2016 NHL draft prospect Auston Matthews was a player "possessed" during the world under-18 championship. Will he take that focus to the Everett Silvertips? (NHL.com)

    The Calgary Hitmen are bidding adieu to overages Adam Tambellini, Kenton Helgesen and Connor

    Read More »from Bjorkstrand off to worlds; Portland leaves a legacy: the coast-to-coast
  • NFL's New York Giants have unique pipeline into CIS football

    Byron Archambault set a bench press record at the CFL combine (The Canadian Press)Byron Archambault set a bench press record at the CFL combine (The Canadian Press)

    Following the NFL draft, there's always a steady trickle of news about undrafted players signing free-agent deals or agreeing to attend mini-camps with the aim of signing a contract. It's a long road, of course, from here to winning a job in the NFL, but fans attuned to their Twitter feeds might have noticed a pattern with the players the New York Giants see as having untapped potential.

    The Giants assistant general manager, Kevin Abrams, is a Western Mustangs alumnus, so it would make sense that the storied franchise would be eager to among the growing number of NFL teams who are recognizing that there is burgeoning football talent north of the border. All told, the Giants, who already signed Calgary Stampeders star offensive lineman Brett Jones, are also looking at seven Canadians at their mini-camp, including five from Canadian Interuniversity Sport schools.

    That includes Montreal Carabins linebacker Byron Archambault, who was the fulcrum of a Vanier Cup-winning defence last fall

    Read More »from NFL's New York Giants have unique pipeline into CIS football
  • KELOWNA, CANADA - JANUARY 14: Dillon Dube #19 of Kelowna Rockets celebrates his ninth goal of the season against the Tri City Americans on January 14, 2015 at Prospera Place in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo by Marissa Baecker/Getty Images)KELOWNA, CANADA - JANUARY 14: Dillon Dube #19 of Kelowna Rockets celebrates his ninth goal of the season against the Tri City Americans on January 14, 2015 at Prospera Place in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo by Marissa Baecker/Getty Images)

    No. 1 star: Dillon Dubé, Kelowna Rockets (WHL)

    Several Rocket men had hands in Kelowna dashing the Drive For Five with an 8-4 road win (with two empty-netters) to close out a six-game triumph over the Portland Winterhawks. The 16-year-old rookie Dubé (2G-1A, +2) came up big over the final two victories as Kelowna refused to be denied by a team that's vexed them for years and also overcame the absence of injured 48-goal scorer Rourke Chartier.

    The Cochrane, Alta., native scored 4:12 into the second on a setup from Gage Quinney (2A, +2) to pare Portland's lead to 3-2. At 6:58 of the third, Dubé also made a great pass out of the corner to linemate Tyson Baillie (1G-2A, +4) to give the Rockets their first lead at 4-3. The teams traded tallies once more, with Justin Kirkland restoring the Rockets' lead off a setup from Nick Merkley (2A). Then Rockets captain Madison Bowey (2G, -1), who'd scored a short-handed goal in the second, jarred the puck loose from Layne Vivieros. The Rockets broke away and Cole Linkaker put a shot just under the crossbar for a two-goal lead. Dubé then chipped in an empty-netter. 

    Read More »from Kelowna Rockets' Dillon Dube part of dethroning in the Dub: OHL & WHL 3 Stars
  • Flames prospect Hunter Smith scored Oshawa's first goal on Sunday (Terry Wilson, OHL Images)Flames prospect Hunter Smith scored Oshawa's first goal on Sunday (Terry Wilson, OHL Images)

    Styles make fights, and the final will pit The Connor McDavid Show with all its blue, red and orange-hued pyrotechnics against the Oshawa Generals' patient, defensive structure.

    The Generals and goalie Ken Appleby closed out the North Bay Battalion in the Eastern final with a 2-1 Game 6 road win on Sunday. The Generals, who trailed in the series after three games and were behind midway through Game 4, took control with an early Hunter Smith goal and repelled a late comeback push. The victory avenged a four-game sweep at the same stage in 2014.  

    "Going out like we did last year left a pretty bitter taste," overage Generals captain Josh Brown told TV Cogeco North Bay. "Not a day went by where we didn't think back to this situation against North Bay. This feels really good. They play a lot like us, they're a hard-nose team and we they got that goal near the end [from Nick Moutrey with 7:24 left] everyone bought back in and we stayed pretty composed.


    "They have some major firepower on

    Read More »from Oshawa Generals 'sneak out' clinching win over North Bay: OHL post-game questions
  • McDavid's playoff point total is already tied for third-best in the OHL since 1998 (Terry Wilson, OHL Images)McDavid's playoff point total is already tied for third-best in the OHL since 1998 (Terry Wilson, OHL Images)

    The Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds took a plane to games during the OHL semifinal yet couldn't fly as high as Connor McDavid. 

    To think, the Erie Otters phenomenon could have his playoff points-per-game rate fall off by half during the league final against either North Bay and Oshawa, and still have a good shot of setting an Ontario Hockey League record for the most prolific post-season. While most major junior hockey individual records were set in an era that predated sophisticated video analysis and improvements in goalie equipment and training, McDavid is within striking distance of the OHL mark.

    Sixteen years ago, Justin Papineau had 51 points in 21 games to lead the late and lamented Belleville Bulls to the J. Ross Robertson Cup. McDavid has 42 in 15 after having a nearly routine five-point night during the 7-3 Otters win that completed a six-game victory over the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds to win the Western Conference title. The fun starts 40 seconds in.

    Please pay particularly

    Read More »from Connor-icles: McDavid 10 points from OHL playoff record after Erie Otters win West

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