Neate Sager

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Neate Sager is a blogger for Yahoo! Sports.

  • Sutter for permanent bench boss, Collberg iffy for Sweden: the coast-to-coast

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

    World junior

    Wait, what? Here you thought Anthony Mantha was some cyborg scoring machine. (National Post)

    A humble suggestion from Rob Vanstone for Hockey Canada: convince Brent Sutter to coach the national junior team every season. (Regina Leader-Post)

    Sweden had an only-okay opener vs. Switzerland. More pertinently, Montreal Canadiens second-rounder Sebastian Collberg is iffy for Saturday's showdown vs. Finland due to a touch of the flu. (Aftonbladet)

    It's not that Canada doesn't develop goalies, it's just there's no central guiding principle, on account of the country's age-old, too-much-geography, not-enough-history conundrum. Or as goalie coach Gilles Bouvier put it: "There's not a whole lot of cohesion or goalie coaches with the same philosophy." (Saskatoon StarPhoenix)

    Team Canada goalie Jake Paterson admitted, in public, to watching the Reese Witherspoon movie Sweet Home Alabama. To be that young and carefree again. (Toronto Star)

    There, Adam French said it: the paint-by-numbers Day 1 of the tournament was pretty dry: "I found myself yet again contemplating the necessity of having the revolving door of mediocrity that infuses the bottom-tier of the IIHF competitions." (HockeyBuzz)

    Canadian fans: you can dress them up and take them pretty much anywhere. (HockeyBuzz)

    OHL

    More than 20,000 tickets have been sold for the Windsor Spitfires-Saginaw Spirit outdoor game at Detroit's Comerica Park, which will set a league attendance record. (Saginaw News)

    A definite should-read: Carolina Hurricanes signing Carter Sandlak's dream season will include playing in an outdoor game vs. his hometown OHL team. (Detroit News)

    Where does Ottawa 67's rookie sensation Travis Konecny ranks among the nation's capital's top 10 sports personalities? Not as high as the coach of Carleton University's winless football team. Granted, this was published before Konecny was appointed captain of Team Ontario for the world under-17 challenge. (CBC Ottawa)

    Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds GM Kyle Dubas isn't going to be a seller with his team in first place. The reality that this is even a question affirms that the OHL is out of whack. Meantime, make a note to keep tabs on newly signed 16-year-old Zachary Senyshyn, whose father Paul was TSN analyst Jock Climie's quarterback in Canadian university football a generation ago. (Sault Star)

    Read More »from Sutter for permanent bench boss, Collberg iffy for Sweden: the coast-to-coast
  • World junior championship: Jake Paterson to start vs. Czech Republic

    Jake Paterson stopped 22-of-24 shots in Canada's win over Germany (Frank Gunn, The Canadian Press)

    Once the world junior championship begins, Team Canada — so the thinking goes — can't have two No. 1's since that would make 11.

    Nineteen-year-old Jake Paterson has not fashioned the most sterling statline (3.64 average, .900 save percentage) while toiling for an oft-leaky Saginaw Spirit team in the Ontario Hockey League. Yet Canada likes his experience with the event, so that means it looks like he's affirmed himself as the starter with the 18-year-old Zach Fucale, who backstopped the Halifax Mooseheads of Jonathan Drouin-Nathan MacKinnon fame to the MasterCard Memorial Cup last May, waiting in the wings.

    From Terry Koshan (@koshtorontosun):

    Read More »from World junior championship: Jake Paterson to start vs. Czech Republic
  • Forsberg, shown with Nashville, had 3 points on Thursday (AP)

    A day later, the goal that Sweden's Filip Forsberg scored in his team's world junior championship still looks fairly dominant.

    The Nashville Predators youngster played in three AHL games last week to assuage any health concerns stemming from his five-week absence due to a brain injury. Wednesday essentially was his full-fledged return and he immediately made, cue your convenient cliché, a man-among-boys play with his goal in the first period. Forsberg power-slalomed through the Switzerland defence and extended the play by circling back out, whereupon he worked a quick give-and-go that ended with a one-timed slapshot into a top corner.

    Read More »from World junior championship: Sweden’s Filip Forsberg scores highlight-reel goal (VIDEO)
  • Forsberg is looking for a different-tinged medal following Sweden's silver in 2013 (Nathan Denette, The Canadian Press)Three stars from Day 1 of the 2014 world junior championship as chosen by Buzzing The Net contributors:

    No. 1 star: Filip Forsberg, Team Sweden

    It wouldn't be the world junior with Switzerland, for whom the slipper still fits, pushing an elite U20 hockey power. Sweden got by Switzerland 5-3 in the nightcap from Malmo after Christian Djoos' point shot dented twine early in the third period to permanently untie the contest.

    [Tournament scoreboard]

    The host got a much needed lift from Forsberg (1G-2A), who factored into two opening-period goals and also earned an apple on Djoos' winner (apple, Djoos, laugh once to get it out of your system). The 19-year-old who's at the tournament on loan from the Nashville Predators carried through the Swiss defence to tie the game in the first just 71 seconds after Switzerland had opened the scoring. Later in the frame, Forsberg fed Pittsburgh Penguins third-rounder Oskar Sundqvist to put his side back on top 3-2.

    No. 2 star: Anthony Mantha, Team Canada

    Mantha's hat trick in Canada's 7-2 walkover was covered off extensively in prose by Sunaya Sapurji and with YouTube-age. The Detroit Red Wings first-rounder has scored a whopping 85 goals over the last season and a half in the QMJHL. His trifecta on Wednesday included a pair of first-period markers that putthe wind into Canada's sails.

    Read More »from World junior championship 3 Stars: Filip Forsberg, Sweden slip by scare from stolid Swiss
  • Mantha's hat trick came two years to the day of the last Canadian hat trick at the WJC (Frank Gunn, The Canadian Press)

    To think there was debate whether Team Canada should take the player with 35 goals in the Quebec league or the one with five in the Western league for the world junior championship.

    There are better, less cherry-picky, infinitely fairer ways to express the distinction between Team Canada's Anthony Mantha and Hunter Shinkaruk, the gifted Vancouver Canucks first-rounder who was the penultimate forward cut from the national junior team. (Shinkaruk scored 49 goals in the WHL as a 17-year-old two seasons ago, while Mantha buried 50 as an 18-year-old in the QMJHL last season; they were chosen four picks apart in the NHL draft. Shinkaruk also played hurt for much of his abbreviated first half in Medicine Hat, and there's a good question about how hurt.)

    Yet Mantha, with his long wingspan at 6-foot-5 and supple hands, is a uniquely gifted goal scorer, which is precisely the point being poorly expressed. The Val-d'Or Foreurs star showed that with his hat trick during Canada's 7-2 win over Germany.

    There is the whole 'compete level' stigma with Mantha, since (sarcasm alert), no player who averages two points per game could possibly also possess any intangibles. That would be unfair to everyone else.

    Read More »from World junior championship: Anthony Mantha, Red Wings pick, scores hat trick for Team Canada (VIDEO)
  • Team Canada fans cheer during Thursday's game vs. Germany (Frank Gunn, The Canadian Press)

    Canada's opener vs. Germany at the world junior championship essentially unfolded as expected, with the Maple Leaf winning 7-2.

    The tournament is about peaking during the medal round and, suffice to say, Team Canada has plenty to tweak and fine-tune. Among the few half-conclusions that can be drawn is that, for one, the mind reels at how hat-trick scorer Anthony Mantha ever could have been a bubble candidate for the final squad. Secondly, the youngsters registered, with Connor McDavid getting two assists in his international debut and receiving at least three gold-hued chances that were denied by Team Germany goalie Marvin Cüpper.

    The result was predictable, but there is always plenty of fodder for the untold millions of armchair coaches across this country. Talk amongst yourselves:

    Read More »from World junior championship: Team Canada coffee talk; predictable outcome obscures issues
  • Buzzing The Net is holding a livechat during every Team Canada game from the world junior championship in Malmo, Sweden.

    Please join Sunaya Sapurji, who is on-site at the Malmo Isstadion, along with the crew of Cam Charron, Kelly Friesen, Steve McAllister, Neate Sager, Mike Sanderson and a cast of many on Boxing Day when Canada opens the tournament against Germany.

    [Reinhart, Ekblad and Draisaitl
    lead WJC top NHL draft prospects
    ]

    Canada also faces the Czech Republic, Slovakia and the United States on Saturday, Monday and Tuesday.

    The Chatravaganza is BYOP — bring your own peanuts.

    Canada preview | Germany preview

    A video or other embedded content has been hidden. Click here to view it.

    Read More »from World junior championship: Canada-Germany Chatravaganza, Thursday 7 a.m. ET/4 a.m. PT!
  • Riley Barber (top) is one of Team USA's 3 returnees (The Associated Press)

    GROUP A: UNITED STATES

    2013 finish: Gold medal, beat Sweden 3-1 in final
    2013 round-robin record: 2-0-0-2, 19 GF/7 GA

    Yahoo! Canada Sports has asked North American-based players, some of whom are playing in the world junior championship, to break down their national teams.

    Almost all of the names have changed, yet the letters U-S-A remain across the front of the sweaters. That counts for something.

    Team USA peaked at a propitious moment last January in Ufa, Russia, dominating the medal round to capture its second world under-20 gold medal in its last four tries. Only three players, captain Riley Barber, two-way forward Ryan Hartman and projected No. 1 goalie Jon Gillies, are back for coach Don Lucia, whose team is Group A with rival Team Canada. The way USA Hockey nurtures its young talent through its centralized national team development program in Ann Arbor, Mich., sets up the Yanks to have some able reinforcements.

    "Now we get a label on our backs," Hartman said prior to the Americans' departure for Sweden. "Everyone’s going to be coming after us, I don’t know if we’re the favourite or not, but in my mind we should be. We’re pretty deep."

    Read More »from World junior championship: Team USA might lack star power, but new crew may earn its stripes
  • World junior championship: For stacked Team Sweden, the stars have aligned

    Canadiens pick Sebastian Collberg is playing in his third WJC (The Associated Press)

    GROUP B: SWEDEN

    2013 finish: Silver medal, lost 3-1 to U.S. in final
    2013 round-robin record: 3-1-0-0, 19 GF/8 GA

    To know enough about Team Sweden's potency is to know who's not on coach Rikard Grönborg's roster.

    The world junior championship hosts arrive in Malmö with the most tournament-experienced roster, with the returning player count up to 11 — nearly double Canada and the United States combined — following the Nashville Predators' decision to loan 19-year-old right wing Filip Forsberg. Gronborg's late cuts also include Dallas Stars second-rounder Ludwig Byström, who plays more than 20 minutes per game with Farjestad in the Swedish Hockey League. Top NHL draft prospect William Nylander didn't even get a sniff of the evaluation camp, although 17-year-old Anton Karlsson has made a case to be in the final 22.

    Suffice to say, Team Sweden should stack up as a favourite. It looked locked in while handling Group A's Team USA (4-2) and Canada (3-0) during pre-competition games.

    Read More »from World junior championship: For stacked Team Sweden, the stars have aligned
  • Since antagonism outsells earnestness every day of the week, it might not be the worst for the profile of women's hockey that teams Canada and USA had their second line brawl in 10 weeks on Friday night.

    The teams had a tussle during a game in Burlington, Vt., in mid-October. During the last minute of their pre-Olympic game in Grand Forks, N.D., with Team USA comfortably ahead 4-1, Team USA's Monique Lamoureux checked Canada's Brianne Jenner heavily into the boards. There was retaliation from Canada and then Team USA's Hilary Knight came flying in to confront Canada's Melodie Daoust. A full-scale fight broke out; 10 fighting majors were meted out.

    "[A Canadian] took a cheap shot, hit one of our girls in the head with her elbow," U.S. forward Hilary Knight said on NBC Sports Network. "We don't like that."

    Read More »from Canada, U.S. women’s hockey teams have line brawl for second time in 2½ months (VIDEO)

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