Neate Sager

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Neate Sager is a blogger for Yahoo! Sports.

  • Maple Leafs have an ardour for Marner: the coast-to-coast

    Mitchell Marner of the London Knights. Photo by Aaron Bell/OHL ImagesMitchell Marner of the London Knights. Photo by Aaron Bell/OHL Images

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

    WHL

    Mike Morreale has his final, final, no takebacks, mock draft. (NHL.com)

    Tri-City Americans defenceman Brandon Carlo will be 77 inches of tightly coiled energy until he hears a team call his name. (Colorado Springs Gazette)

    Overage forward Scott Feser has been moved to the Swift Currento Broncos from Memorial Cup host Red Deer. (Southwest Booster)

    What would a WHL team in Nanaimo, B.C., mean for that city's Junior A team? (Nanaimo Daily News)

    Very sad news: former WHL player Cody Smuk died after battling cancer on Thursday. He was 26. (Moose Jaw Times-Herald, CTV Saskatoon)

    Not the Dub, but Tyler King does a number on politicians in Fort McMurray, Alta., for choosing a company with a checkered past for the city's arena project. Did anyone else read this and think of Lyle Lanley on The Simpsons? "I've sold arenas to Prescott Valley, Casper and North Haverbrook, and by gum that put them on the

    Read More »from Maple Leafs have an ardour for Marner: the coast-to-coast
  • Ottawa Redblacks fans giving second-year team 'time to grow'

    Henry Burris finished 2014 with 11 TD passes in 18 starts (Patrick Doyle, CFL)Henry Burris finished 2014 with 11 TD passes in 18 starts (Patrick Doyle, CFL)

    A quarterback in the CFL typically must be able to buy time by scrambling, and a new franchise has to as well.

    There's no knowing how big a jump the Ottawa Redblacks, who begin their second season on Thursday against the Montreal Alouettes, will make in Year 2. Does 40-year-old QB Henry Burris get his Ponce de León on with a new cast of receivers? Is head coach Rick Campbell going to pan out? Do they find a feature back and a reliable placekicker by Thanksgiving? What is evident after a sampling of fan opinion is that buzz about the league's return to the national capital region has not ebbed in spite of the 2-16 debut season. 

    One constant that came up is that Ottawa Sports & Entertainment Group president of sports Jeff Hunt looked after the creature comforts at the redeveloped Lansdowne Park site in downtown Ottawa. That tends to help a franchise gain credibility while it plays catch-up with the established franchises.

    "It's like night and day compared to Renegades days," says Dan

    Read More »from Ottawa Redblacks fans giving second-year team 'time to grow'
  • Erie Otters sold at auction for $7.225 million US, will stay put

    Erie's buyer has assured it will not move the OHL team (Terry Wilson, OHL Images)Erie's buyer has assured it will not move the OHL team (Terry Wilson, OHL Images)

    All is well that ends relatively well with the Erie Otters' ownership saga.

    From afar, how Otters managing partner Sherry Bassin was able to wriggle out from a legal row with Edmonton Oilers owner Daryl Katz and find a means by which the team could be sold to buyer who wouldn't move it has been fascinating. As it turns out, only one bid was placed for the team at an auction conducted by a bankruptcy court, with  JAW Hockey Enterprises LP, a group led by former CHUM Radio executive James A. Waters, anteing $7.225 million to buy the Ontario Hockey League team.

    From Valerie Myers (@etnmyers):

    Waters on Wednesday reiterated his assurances that Otters' home ice will continue to be in Erie.
    "I've been to Erie three to five times to watch the team and loved it there. I enjoy the city and have no intention of moving the team," Waters said. "I saw how excited the fans were (when the Otters were) in the playoffs, and we hope to keep giving them that kind of excitement."
    Waters has said that the
    Read More »from Erie Otters sold at auction for $7.225 million US, will stay put
  • Canadian ice hockey sensation Connor McDavid arrives at the MuchMusic Video Awards (MMVAs) in Toronto, June 21, 2015. REUTERS/Mark BlinchCanadian ice hockey sensation Connor McDavid arrives at the MuchMusic Video Awards (MMVAs) in Toronto, June 21, 2015. REUTERS/Mark Blinch

    Pretty much everyone in the low-hanging fruit game had a good laugh when the Edmonton Oilers won the Connor McDavid lottery in April, getting the first overall pick in the NHL draft and dibs on the generational talent from the Erie Otters.

    It's one thing to crack wise about it in 140 or fewer characters on Twitter, it's another when Grantland, the boutique site at ESPN, which doesn't do a lot of hockey coverage, puts creative resources into making a parody of the Taken movies depicting Liam Neeson trying to save No. 97 from the Oilers. The joke might seem a couple months old and it's not likely to go over well with sensitive Edmontonians, but it's worth sharing.

    The eerie rendition of a little girl singing O Canada at the end was a nice touch.

    High-larious. In any event, Oilers fans should be able to take the joke since, after all, they are getting McDavid. The magnitude of the young man's talent is such that another ESPN personality, Keith Olbermann, also had a McDavid segment on

    Read More »from Erie Otters' Connor McDavid going to Edmonton inspires 'Taken' movie parody (VIDEO)
  • Crouse is NHL Central Scouting's fourth-ranked North American skater (Terry Wilson, OHL Images)Crouse is NHL Central Scouting's fourth-ranked North American skater (Terry Wilson, OHL Images)

    Score one for adhering more to the eye test than analytics with Lawson Crouse.

    The Kingston Frontenacs standout and likely NHL first-rounder isn't just a prototype power winger, he's also got some prodigous power at the plate. Six draft prospects took batting practice prior to the Miami Marlins game on Wednesday night. Crouse, on the day after his 18th birthday, was the only one to clear the fence. The 6-foot-4, 215-pound forward, who's been the subject of great debate on the value of traditional scouting models vs. the new data-heavy school after being the youngest player on Team Canada but also having pedestrian point totals with the Frontenacs, has some serious man muscles. Not bad for someone who is a few years removed from his days on the diamond.

    Not bad, considering that Marlins Park has a relatively deep 335-foot right-field corner. 

    Crouse told NHL.com that his grandfather, whom is he named after, was a big fan of the late and lamented Montreal Expos and had hoped Lawson

    Read More »from Watch NHL draft prospect Lawson Crouse hit a home run at Marlins Park (VIDEO)
  • Projecting Provorov part of pre-draft fun: the coast-to-coast

    Russia native Ivan Provorov is one of the top defensive prospects in the 2015 NHL draft class. (Wheat Kings)Russia native Ivan Provorov is one of the top defensive prospects in the 2015 NHL draft class. (Wheat Kings)

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

    WHL

    Gare Joyce envisions Ivan Provorov going to the Toronto Maple Leafs at fourth overall on Friday. (Sportsnet.ca)

    The Philadelphia Flyers might also want Provorov at No. 7. (Erie Times-News)

    Of course former Edmonton Oilers coach Dallas Eakins is a finalist for the Vancouver Giants coach job. The low-scoring G-men had too many donuts the past two seasons. (Vancouver Province)

    The Oilers have had some draft busts over the years, but what NHL organization has not? (The Hockey Writers)

    Swift Current's Jake DeBrusk will be a high pick at the draft. Twenty-six years ago his father, Louie DeBrusk, only attended the draft because he had time off from his summer job as a roofer. (Edmonton Journal)

    OHL

    City council in Chatham, Ont., has decided it is "premature" to put the lid on building an OHL-suitable venue. Never mind that it wouldn't be prudent for a city of 42,500 with no big corporate sponsor

    Read More »from Projecting Provorov part of pre-draft fun: the coast-to-coast
  • Buzzing The Net live NHL mock draft, Wednesday 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT!

    Connor McDavid pauses when he is asked about all the media attention he is getting during a news conference at the NHL Combine in Buffalo, N.Y., on June 5, 2015. Wayne Gretzky can't offer Connor McDavid much advice about how to handle the pressure of the NHL draft later this month. The Great One never went through the experience himself. But on June 26, he'll be watching with interest from his summer home in Idaho as the Edmonton Oilers, his former team, select first overall and likely take the highly touted McDavid. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Gary WiepertConnor McDavid pauses when he is asked about all the media attention he is getting during a news conference at the NHL Combine in Buffalo, N.Y., on June 5, 2015. Wayne Gretzky can't offer Connor McDavid much advice about how to handle the pressure of the NHL draft later this month. The Great One never went through the experience himself. But on June 26, he'll be watching with interest from his summer home in Idaho as the Edmonton Oilers, his former team, select first overall and likely take the highly touted McDavid. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Gary Wiepert

    Beyond Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel, there is plenty of suspense about the first round of the NHL draft, and Buzzing The Net is trying to cut through the treacle.

    Please join Yahoo! Jr. Hockey on Wednesday at 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT for our fifth annual live NHL mock draft. Donning the GM hats of the 24 teams that hold first-rounders — the Arizona Coyotes, Buffalo Sabres, Edmonton Oilers, Philadelphia Flyers, Toronto Maple Leafs and Winnipeg Jets each have two selections — will be Scott Wheeler of Pension Plan Puppets, John Matisz of the Toronto Sun and Neate Sager.

    The first round of the NHL draft takes place on Friday.

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

    Read More »from Buzzing The Net live NHL mock draft, Wednesday 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT!
  • Oshawa Generals name Bob Jones coach, with D.J. Smith off to Leafs

    Bob Jones guided the Spitfires in 2010-11 (Aaron Bell, OHL Images)Bob Jones guided the Spitfires in 2010-11 (Aaron Bell, OHL Images)

    Going to the Windsor well worked once, which means why not try it again.

    As anticipated, the Memorial Cup-winning Oshawa Generals hired Bob Jones to replace his former bench ally D.J. Smith, meaning the OHL club went all of a week without a head coach. It's a sensible hiring; going with a veteran coach that should be well apprised on the personnel around the league makes sense for a team that is going to be at the bottom of a building cycle after the exodus of so many older players from the championship team. Jones and assistant coach Eric Wellwood, like Smith, were also part of the back-to-back Spitfires Memorial Cup titles in 2009 and '10.

    Jones also has some experience with guiding a team that was trying to avoid a post-Memorial Cup letdown. In 2010-11, he piloted the Spitfires after Bob Boughner moved up to the NHL's Columbus Blue Jackets and managed to take a team with remnants of its championship nucleus and a lot of new faces to the Western Conference final.

    Read More »from Oshawa Generals name Bob Jones coach, with D.J. Smith off to Leafs
  • Kelly McCrimmon turns down Leafs, stays on with WHL's Brandon Wheat Kings

    The Wheat Kings won the WHL regular-season title under McCrimmon this season (WHL.ca)The Wheat Kings won the WHL regular-season title under McCrimmon this season (WHL.ca)

    It is a good rule of thumb to move up for the right opportunity, not just any opportunity. Apparently, Brandon Wheat Kings coach, general manager and owner Kelly McCrimmon is operating on the principle that if he's cut out to work in the NHL, then an other chance will come along in due time.

    There has been weeks of speculation that McCrimmon would be the Toronto Maple Leafs' latest hire out of major junior hockey. However, on Monday, TSN's Darren Dreger reported that the 54-year-old McCrimmon is staying with the Wheat Kings, who are pegged as the early favourite to win the WHL next season, when the Memorial Cup will be held two provinces away in Red Deer. The Wheat Kings confirmed it.


    From the team's release:

    The WHL’s Executive of the Year in 2014-15, McCrimmon had discussed a management position with the National Hockey League’s Toronto Maple Leafs.
    “I have made the decision to remain with the Wheat Kings,” says McCrimmon. “I was honoured to have been considered for a position with
    Read More »from Kelly McCrimmon turns down Leafs, stays on with WHL's Brandon Wheat Kings
  • NHL draft tracker: Anthony Cirelli, Oshawa Generals

    Cirelli scored both Generals goals in the Memorial Cup final on May 31 (Aaron Bell, OHL Images)Cirelli scored both Generals goals in the Memorial Cup final on May 31 (Aaron Bell, OHL Images)

    No team was higher than the Oshawa Generals after Anthony Cirelli scored the Memorial Cup-winning overtime goal three weeks ago. With the NHL draft a few days, away, though, the gritty speedstar who made the Gens as an undrafted player is staying grounded.

    At this writing, the 6-foot, 165-pound two-way forward is undecided on whether he'll jet off to Sunrise, Fla., to be in person if his name is called. It's in keeping with how Cirelli, who didn't move up to AAA minor hockey until he was 15, takes nothing for granted.

    "Even coming into this year I never thought anything like this would happen," says Cirelli, who is ranked 67th among North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting. "It's starting to kick in a little bit that I might hear my name called. I'm really excited for it and anxious for it to come. But right now I'm just focused on the work I have to do for next season.

    "I might just stay at home with family and watch it on TV."

    Cirelli played his way on to a powerful Generals

    Read More »from NHL draft tracker: Anthony Cirelli, Oshawa Generals

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