Neate Sager

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Neate Sager is a blogger for Yahoo! Sports.

  • Brian Stemmle slams Stanley Cup visit to Canada House, sparking Twitter furor

    Only in Canada could the Stanley Cup be such an argument sparker. All at once on Monday, the old chalice's arrival for an appearance at Canada House (it was taken to the USA House, too) became the crucible for a Twitter fight over whether it is cool to display the trophy or if it trivializes the efforts of the athletes who aren't millionaire NHL players. The ones whose sweat and toil isn't chronicled year-round by the sports networks, aside from for two weeks every four years, yet who also might be also be hockey fans who wanted a picture with the Cup.

    Olympians pose with the Stanley Cup at Canada House on Monday (CBC Olympics Twitter)

    Brian Stemmle, the alpine skier who represented Canada in four Winter Olympics, tossed a match into a pool of gasoline, and it was on.

    Read More »from Brian Stemmle slams Stanley Cup visit to Canada House, sparking Twitter furor
  • Canada's Justin Snith (left), Samuel Edney (in blue) and Tristan Walker commiserate after finishing fourth in the team luge relay (Jonathan Hayward, CP)

    Apparently, fourth-place finishers at the Olympics get a little recognition from the IOC. For some odd reason, many competitors' memory of being recognized for finishing between fourth and eighth in an event are foggier than the some of Sochi 2014 venues at this writing.

    There is a perception that competitors who just miss the bronze medal get nothing, except the experience. Last week, Canada's sore lugers had had four top-five results but the country's first medal in the event eluded their grasp. Alex Gough and Kimberly McRae finished fourth and fifth in women's singles, then Justin Snith and Tristan Walker were fourth in men's doubles. Finally, the relay team Samuel Edney, Gough, Snith and Walker also left with a hearts full of ache and heads full of what-ifs. Au contraire, they get something, sort of. It does hinge on big ifs. That might include the IOC having their current mailing address, along with the reliability of Canada Post.

    From Sam Borden:

    Few are familiar with the manner in which the International Olympic Committee is honoring the competitors who finish fourth through eighth at the Sochi Games ... The near-medalists — and a few not-so-near-medalists — receive a personally inscribed, autopen-signed, formal Olympic diploma.

    “It’s kind of like the one you get for participation,” said Mercedes Nicoll, a Canadian snowboarder who finished sixth in the women’s halfpipe competition at the Vancouver Games in 2010 and was given such a certificate. “It’s really nice. I mean, it’s not the same as medaling, of course. I know some athletes who win medals like to show them around to everyone, but I don’t do that. It’s a piece of paper. I think that would be kind of dorky.”

    Nicoll, who added that she was surprised — and touched — when she received her diploma, is seemingly a rarity among athletes in that she knows about the diplomas at all. Most athletes and officials queried said they were aware of the various other certificates the I.O.C. distributes — volunteers, committee officials and any athlete who makes a country’s Olympic team receive an embossed acknowledgment of their role in the Games — yet admitted ignorance when it came to the diploma. (The New York Times)

    Read More »from Fourth-place Olympians get IOC diploma, but showing it off might be ‘kind of dorky’
  • Canada looks for early offence in women’s hockey vs. Switzerland

    Natalie Spooner (right) and Canada have won their past two games without scoring in the first two periods (AP)

    Team Canada won its last two prelim games in women's hockey without benefit of scoring in the first 40 minutes, so it would follow that a quick start is imperative in Monday's semifinal vs. Switzerland (12 noon ET/9 a.m. PT, CBC).

    It would, as if it needs to be stated, take something approaching a minor miracle to end up with any outcome other than a U.S.-Canada gold-medal matchup on Thursday. Increasing parity aside ("The media makes a bigger deal about the U.S. and Canada going right to the final than anyone else does," Team USA's Meghan Duggan says), that's what they each want, deep-down. t was "unemotional" final in Turin eight years ago when Canada found itself playing Sweden in the final after a shootout upset of the Americans.

    There is a sneaking suspension that the U.S. did not put its best foot forward on Thursday. Meghan Agosta-Marciano and Hayley Wickenheiser each came through with multi-point efforts in the final 20 minutes of the 3-2 win. For Canada, that makes the priorities ahead of the showdown with the Swiss and goalie Florence Schelling, who had a 41-save shutout in a 2-0 quarter-final win over Russia on Saturday, fairly obvious. That can be easier said than done against a Swiss team whose M.O. is to make opponents make the first mistake.

    Canada fired 69 shots at Schelling during a 5-0 win on Feb. 8.

    Read More »from Canada looks for early offence in women’s hockey vs. Switzerland
  • Ter Mors acknowledges cheering fans after setting her 1,500 long-track record (AP)

    You might say Jorien ter Mors has a two-track mind.

    In the annals of Olympian versatility — only four athletes who have competed since 2000 have won medals in two disciplines — there might not be anything that tops the Dutch dual threat's feat this weekend at Sochi 2014. Ter Mors, merely by stepping on to the Adler Arena oval, broke new ground as the first woman to compete in short- and long-track speed skating during the same Games. Following her fourth in the women's 1,500 in short track on Saturday, ter Mors dusted the long-track 1,500 field by winning in an Olympic-record one minute 53.51 seconds on the much-criticized slow ice in Sochi.

    Ter Mors, 24, knocked off countrywoman Ireen Wust, the defending Olympic champion. Wust took silver in 1:54.09 for her third medal in Sochi, with Lotte Van Beek (1:54.54) and Marrit Leenstra (1:56.40) giving the Netherlands a podium sweep plus one.

    "I've seen some skating, but that was unbelievable," CBC veteran commentator Steve Armitage said after ter Mors' time went up. "To take four seconds off the leader's time?"

    Read More »from Jorien ter Mors’ Dutch double: first ‘dual threat’ women’s speed skater wins 1,500
  • Finland goalie Noora Raty quitting women’s hockey due to lack of pro league

    Noora Raty makes a save with Sweden's Cecilia Ostberg bearing down on her (Matt Slocum, AP)

    Talented, driven and trending toward photogenic, Noora Räty could be a standard bearer for the advancement of women's hockey — and instead, the formidable Finland goalie says she is quitting.

    Räty, a two-time NCAA champion with the Minnesota Golden Gophers, held both Canada and the U.S. to three goals during preliminary round play at Sochi 2014. Finland was fallow offensively, though, and was eliminated from medal contention on Saturday with a 4-2 quarter-final loss to Sweden. Following the game, Agence France-Presse ((hat tip: NBC Olympic Talk) reported the 24-year-old Räty is quitting women's hockey. Hours later, the goalie elaborated and explained in a statement released over Twitter — more of a passionate plea to get the puck game's power brokers to pay more than lip service to investing in high-level female hockey — that she will retire if she can't find a competitive league to play in next season. By her definition, that would mean a men's minor league team, since she does not believe there is any such women's-only option.

    Read More »from Finland goalie Noora Raty quitting women’s hockey due to lack of pro league
  • Denny Morrison wins Canada’s 12th medal of Sochi 2014, bronze in men’s 1,500

    Denny Morrison had not won an individual Olympic medal prior to the 2014 Olympics (AP)At the Adler Arena oval, it's now Denny Morrison 2, America 0, so there is that.

    The U.S. team's shedding of its 'skins' for more conventional speed skating attire failed to yield a medal in the men's 1,500 metres at Sochi 2014 on Saturday. Meantime, Fort St. John, B.C.'s Morrison continued his restorative run by winning his second medal of the Games, taking the bronze in what's considered the most demanding men's race and adding more to his comeback story. Morrison arrived in Sochi coming off an injury-filled two years where he was set back by a broken leg sustained in a skiing mishap.

    "This is something I've wanted to do at the Olympics for eight years now," Morrison told the CBC. "In Torino I wanted this and in Vancouver I wanted this. It's been a long road, a lot of persistence and it's finally paid off."

    Starting in the 12th of the 20 pairs, the 28-year-old Morrison took the lead after finding an efficient gear and clocked in at one minute 45.22 seconds. A 23.49-second opening lap propelled him onward into an almost sure medal position.

    [Related: Up to date medal standings]

    "My plan, and what I've found in many 1,500-metre races over the years, is I can't go out slow and conserve it and try to beat the other guy," added Morrison, who has given Canada medals in both the men's 1,000 and 1,500 m for the first time since Gaétan Boucher's double gold in 1984. "I have to go out my way. Go out fast and just hang on. Today I was able to hang on, just enough.

    "It's not quite as, whatever, as the last time," Morrison added when asked to compared the result to his silver in the 1,000, where he raced after teammate Gilmore Junio gave up the berth he earned in qualifying. "To race my best 1,500 in two years, since 2012, right here at the Olympics, I was beginning to think I couldn't even do it. But I always kept believing.

    Morrison's skate primed the crowd for a dramatic finish. In the fourth-last pairing, Poland darkhorse Zbigniew Brodka, a 29-year-old who had two podium finishes in the 1,500 in World Cup races this fall but no career wins, posted an even 1:45.00 to bump Morrison into silver position. In the last pair, the Netherlands' Koen Verweij also skated 1:45 flat, forcing officials to go to the next decimal place to decide the gold while Morrison was bumped to bronze. Brodka, who finished 27th in Vancouver, got the gold by three-thousandths of a second, 1:45.006 to Verweij's 1:45.009.

    Read More »from Denny Morrison wins Canada’s 12th medal of Sochi 2014, bronze in men’s 1,500
  • Jordan Bachynski's shot blocking has made him a NBA prospect (Ross D. Franklin, AP)

    Jordan Bachysnki is so long that some times it is really unfair. There could be no more apropos way for the Arizona State Sun Devils to seal their biggest home win in team history, a 69-66 double-overtime decision over No. 2 Arizona on Friday night, thank to have the human Canadarm block a potential game-winning shot.

    The Wildcats had a chance to take the lead in the final seconds of the second OT, but the 7-foot-2 Calgary native got his eighth block of the night, reaching up to swat away a runner in the lane. That caused a wild scene, with Arizona State fans prematurely storming the court. (You can't say they should have acted like they've been there before, since that is the highest-ranked opponent that ASU, known more baseball and football, has ever defeated at home.) It also gave the 19-6 Sun Devils the so-called signature win that tends to have some stickiness with the NCAA Tournament selection committee, which could give the record-setting, one-man swat team a chance to cap off his senior year by going to the dance.

    “No words can explain the joy that we feel right now,” Bachynski told azcentral. “That is huge for us … for our resume, for our goals of (reaching a) postseason tournament.”

    Read More »from Calgary’s Jordan Bachynski’s block seals Arizona State’s takedown of No. 2 Arizona (VIDEO)
  • Canada’s Charles Hamelin falls in men’s 1,000, now his medal hopes are halved

    Short track speed skating is no longer a new Olympic sport — it's been on the program for the seventh time — and suddenly, Canada is no longer winning.

    Whether there is a larger narrative, it's too early to tell, but the short tracker's medal count remains stuck on one after Charles Hamelin, who was on the cover Sportsnet magazine recently, crashed in the quarter-final of the men's 1,000 metres on Saturday. During a turn, the three-time Olympic gold medalist got his shoulders twisted. That caused Hamelin, 29, to lose his balance and sprawl out across the course, taking American contender Eduardo Alvarez out in the process.

    Charles Hamelin crashes in the men's 1,000 metres on Saturday (AP)

    "My right leg hit a crack in the ice, or I got off-balance," Hamelin told CBC. "I have to come back and be strong for the 500 ... that's what I will do. I will be ready to focus on the 500 metres.

    It marked two events in a row that a Hamelin has fallen and taken Canada out of medal contention. On Thursday, François Hamelin fell in the men's 5,000 relay semifinal and Canada failed to reach the final in an event where it has typically expected an Olympic medal.

    The ice has been an issue for several skaters, but Charles Hamelin refused to take that out. The racer was touted as a possibility to hit for the cycle in Sochi, but so far has a 1,500 gold from his first three events in the wildly unpredictable discipline.

    — David Langford (@DaveLangford52) February 15, 2014One Hamelin fell in the 5,000-metre relay. The other goes down in the quarters of the 1,000. Just like that, a different narrative.

    — Arash Madani (@ArashMadani) February 15, 2014

    Read More »from Canada’s Charles Hamelin falls in men’s 1,000, now his medal hopes are halved
  • Shani Davis pulls on his suit for practice on Friday (AP)

    When Canada speed skater Denny Morrison won silver in the men's 500 metres, it had a little something to do with the fact his contemporary Shani Davis was wearing a Blackberry Z10. Or its racing suit equivalent, brought to you by Under Armour with an assist from the good people at Lockheed Martin.

    The U.S., typically a long-track lodestar, has yet to have an individual even place in the top five at the Adler Arena oval, let alone on the podium. Davis faded to eighth in the 500 where Morrison medalled. The poor results are being chalked up to the Mach 39, the so-called "the world's fastest speed skating suit" actually dragging down skaters, hurting their times. Under Armour also saw its stock take a 2.4 per cent hit during trading Friday, although overall the apparel maker has done very well across the past 12 months. The Americans have requested to switch suits before the long-track meet resumes on Saturday.

    Here is Gizmodo, giving context to reports from the Wall Street Journal:

    The suit has a major design flaw that slows the skaters down. It seems that vents on rear of the suit, put in place to allow heat to escape, actually allow air to enter—in turn creating drag. That keeps the skaters a little more upright than usual, meaning they can't quite reach maximum speed.

    It doesn't take Olga Graf to know how heated it gets under those racing suits, so you can understand why they wanted to let the racer breathe, especially in the longer races.

    Read More »from U.S. speed skaters ask to ditch Mach 39 racing suits, which have dragged down Under Armour stock
  • Sarnia Sting’s Anthony DeAngelo, high-ranked NHL prospect, in OHL purgatory

    DeAngelo is NHL Central Scouting's 10th-ranked domestic skater (Aaron Bell, OHL Images)

    First Anthony DeAngelo was suspended by the Sarnia Sting, now he is suspended by the league?

    Greater minds can make inferences about the combo of circumstances — the Sting's Old Mother Hubbard's cupboard of a lineup, its current slide into the first overall slot for the OHL priority selection and its best player having been suspended since the start of the month. Tinfoil hatters would note that in theory that a team drafting No. 1 instead of No. 2 or No. 3 is more attractive to a potential buyer, but ix-nay on the anking-tay.

    The 18-year-old DeAngelo, an offensive defenceman who is NHL Central Scouting's 10th-ranked North American skater, has not played since Jan. 31 after being suspended for what was called disciplinary issues, although he's resumed practising. On Thursday, the story changed; TV Cogeco Ontario reported that the Sewell, N.J., native is under a league suspension. That came in passing during an 11-0 loss to the London Knights. The teams reconvene again on Friday in London, where (just kidding, but not really) the goal spread might resemble those usually seen during football season. (Knights minus 6½?)

    From Shaun Bisson (@ObserverShaun):

    ...Anthony DeAngelo is still not expected to return to the line up.

    “We're looking forward to some closure on this (on Friday), and we have been told that that is what we're going to get,” said [Sting coach Trevor] Letowski.

    “It's been hanging over our heads for a while and it's been a distraction. It's not an excuse for the product on the ice, but it's certainly been a distraction and we're hoping for some closure.” (Sarnia Observer)

    Read More »from Sarnia Sting’s Anthony DeAngelo, high-ranked NHL prospect, in OHL purgatory


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