Neate Sager

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Neate Sager is a blogger for Yahoo! Sports.

  • Roughriders’ Corey Chamblin collects CFL coach of the year honour

    Corey Chamblin is the first African-American to be named CFL coach of the year (CP)

    Moments after being confirmed as the best in his biz, Corey Chamblin flashed back on a prophetic conversation he had with Jim Barker during his first season in the CFL.

    Back in 2008, Chamblin, who on Wednesday collected the Annis Stukus Trophy as the cherry on the sundae of the Saskatchewan Roughriders' Grey Cup-winning season, was a young defensive backs coach with the Calgary Stampeders. As they prepped for the Grey Cup against the Montreal Alouettes, Barker offered a sage vote of confidence that tipped Chamblin toward staying in the league.

    "Even when I got to the CFL, I didn't think I'd be a head coach as early as I did," said Chamblin, 36, who won the coach-of-the-year award over the Stampeders' John Hufnagel and his Grey Cup opponent, Hamilton's Kent Austin.

    "Two people I would like to talk about there would be ['Riders GM] Brendan Taman, for thinking out of the box and giving me an opportunity to be a head coach [at the age of 35 in 2012]. The other is Jim Barker. I can remember, 2008 Grey Cup, sitting in the room breaking down film and he said, 'you'll be a better head coach than assistant coach. And if you decide to stay in this league and don't go to the NFL, you'll be a head coach.' I was like, 'Jim, you're crazy.' Jim and Brendan, I thought they were crazy but they know what they know and they saw what they saw in me.

    "I recall he [Barker] said, 'You remind me of a guy, [former Super Bowl-winning coach] Mike Holmgren, you're going to be a better head coach than you are assistant if you decide to stay in this league.' I took that and I think that was something that opened my eyes. I should start preparing myself."

    Read More »from Roughriders’ Corey Chamblin collects CFL coach of the year honour
  • Kootenay Ice’s Sam Reinhart has 5-point night (VIDEO)

    Sam Reinhart (right) is Central Scouting's fourth-ranked North American skater (The Canadian Press)

    For his next trick, Sam Reinhart should see if he can put a puck through the eye of a needle.

    It's relatively certain Kootenay Ice coach Ryan McGill would not tell his players, "Just focus on holding them to three and Sam's line will take care of the rest," but that's what happened on Tuesday vs. the Saskatoon Blades. The Reinhart-Zach Franko-Jaedon Descheneau line (#FreeJaedon) factored in all Ice scoring during a 6-3 doubling of Saskatoon. Reinhart, NHL Central Scouting's third-ranked North American skater, finished with one goal and four assists for five points. That included the primary assist on all of the goals by Descheneau, who had a six-point night in his own right.

    Read More »from Kootenay Ice’s Sam Reinhart has 5-point night (VIDEO)
  • Draisaitl is NHL Central Scouting's 2nd-ranked North American skater (CP)

    Leon Draisaitl has a nickname that deserves to go national, particularly after his big night on Tuesday: the Deutschland Dangler.

    The top NHL draft prospect was wholly worthy of that splendid sobriquet coined by Prince Albert Raiders play-by-play voice Drew Wilson, scoring a hat trick during a 5-2 win over rival Swift Current. All three goals, even an empty-netter that included a toe drag, were fairly outstanding.

    Read More »from Top NHL draft prospect Leon Draisaitl has sick hat trick for P.A. Raiders (VIDEO)
  • Hayley Wickenheiser is competing in her sixth Olympics (Nathan Denette, CP)

    Imagine there was a women's team sport at the Olympics one country had dominated for the past five games, with only four other nations splitting the silvers and bronzes in that time.

    There would be a consternation over whether it belongs in the IOC's programme. Yet women's basketball is in no danger of ever being dropped. (The United States has won the last five golds, but G8 nations such as France and Russia squeak on to the podium once in a while.) Now that Sochi 2014 is here, and media who ordinarily aren't around the women's game have to cover it, ergo, women's hockey is on thin ice, at least for purposes of narrative. Canada's flagbearer and veteran forward Hayley Wickenheiser gave an interview to The Globe & Mail on Wednesday where the choice quote was, "I always worry about the future of women’s hockey, mainly because of the fact that most of the world pays attention to the game only two weeks out of every four years."

    Taken one way, it reignites the debate that flared after teams Canada and USA steamrolled everyone in Vancouver four years ago. Taken another, it was simply a comment there has been improvement among European countries, but not enough to close the gap on North America. At least Russia coach Mikhail Chekanov understands what's at stake in having a women's team at the Olympics: "It will be very interesting for the girls to be among the great players, to talk to them, or just to take a picture with them ...The boys could talk to the girls and unload some of their emotional weight."

    (Never change, Russia. You're doing super.)

    Read More »from Canada flagbearer Hayley Wickenheiser: ‘I always worry about the future of women’s hockey’
  • Andrew Wiggins swishes 50-foot buzzer shot for Kansas Jayhawks (VIDEO)

    Wiggins is seen as a potential No. 1 or No. 2 pick in the NBA draft (AP)

    What a way for Canada's Andrew Wiggins to score his first bucket of the night on Tuesday.

    Granted, the fact a halftime buzzer-beater was the Canadian phenom's first basket during the Kansas Jayhawks' 69-52 win over Big 12 rival Baylor on Tuesday underscores why the 18-year-old potential NBA No. 1 pick's game is being picked over of late. Regardless, Wiggins made a leaping steal on an ill-advised lob pass by Baylor point guard Kenny Chery, a Montrealer. One, two, three dribbles and Wiggins pulled up and sank a 50-foot three-pointer. The steal and the shot created a five-point swing for the eighth-ranked Jayhawks.

    Just like it was drawn up. Check out the smile Wiggins permitted himself as he jogged to the locker room.

    Read More »from Andrew Wiggins swishes 50-foot buzzer shot for Kansas Jayhawks (VIDEO)
  • Portland Winterhawks top BTN Dynamic Dozen, thanks to 12-game streak

    Winterhawks' Brendan Burke was named WHL goalie of the week (Larry MacDougal, The Canadian Press)

    Time to paint a bird on everything in Portland, since the Winterhawks are atop the Dynamic Dozen.

    The 'Hawks are on a 12-game point streak which includes beating the Nos. 6, 10 and 22 teams in the ranking. Translation: they are good at hockey, but so are a few other teams.

    1. Portland Winterhawks, WHL (.587 RPI, +1.8 SRS, +2) — The Winterhawks have allowed just 17 goals during their present 11-0-0-1 skein where they've been operating with a full deck. The heartwarming part about Phoenix Coyotes-drafted goalie Brendan Burke harnessing the whirlwind by being named goalie of the week is that Burke absorbed some punishment during the Christmas blah period when Portland was without five of its regulars.

    By the way, not that Portland's pest parBrendan Leipsic wasn't already a scourge to the Seattle Thunderbirds, but he managed to push the bile even more by declining to fight Seattle's Keegan Kolesar last week. Kolesar was on the wrong end of a suspendable check by Leipsic during a game on

    Read More »from Portland Winterhawks top BTN Dynamic Dozen, thanks to 12-game streak
  • Henry Burris spurned Winnipeg to sign with first-year Ottawa on Tuesday (Mike Carroccetto for Yahoo! Canada Sports)

    An enduring friendship and the desire to finish his CFL career closer to the northeast U.S. led to Henry Burris picking Ottawa over Winnipeg. The fact the first-year Redblacks, for whom "expansion team" is a dirty word, were willing to commit to a three-year contract for a quarterback who will soon turn 39 years old likely played into it as well.

    In what will inevitably be taken as a telling moment about the state of both franchises, Burris has opted to sign with a first-year team rather than join the beleaguered Blue Bombers who finished a league-worst 3-15 in 2013. The veteran pivot who steered the young Hamilton Tiger-Cats' cubs to a Grey Cup berth last November ("we had the youngest team in the league on both sides of the ball, I was changing Pampers day in and day out," he quipped) is starting all over again.

    "Players across the league are talking about all the serious intentions of the Ottawa franchise," said Burris, who threw for a CFL-high 4,925 yards last season on a league-high 567 attempts. "Mr. [Jeff] Hunt and the [Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group] ownership group and all the qualities that group brings to the table. You want to talk instant accreditation it doesn't get better than that.

    "This move reminds me of when I went to Calgary with new local owners, John Forzani, took over. Look how successful that organization’s been. It’s no longer a dog-and-pony show out there. The same thing will happen here. You have a group who have come together to make the best entertainment product for the fans in Ottawa, who truly deserve it.

    "I know for me this will be my last contract," Burris added. "The way we wanted to do it was our way. To do it with the Redblacks was definitely the way to go. There’s no better way to close this thing out."

    Read More »from Henry Burris, on joining Ottawa Redblacks: ‘There’s no better way to close this thing out’
  • Charlie Graham has been a bright spot during Belleville's rebuilding season (Aaron Bell, OHL Images)

    The Belleville Bulls' reno vs. relocate saga is building to a head.

    What municipality is going to pour money into an arena that regularly has large swathes of empty seats and what team wants to stick around when the arena is part of the reason it's last in the Ontario Hockey League in attendance? Eleven months ago, Belleville owner Gord Simmonds stated that he had no desire to move the Bulls and was "convinced" the ageing Yardmen Arena would be upgraded.

    Ultimately, though, the eastern Ontario city has higher priorities going into a municipal election year, meaning no one wants to touch a political hot potato until a new council is seated in November. The Bulls have one more season on their lease with an option to renew for 2015-16 and '16-17, but Simmonds would like to see a commitment soon.

    Read More »from Belleville Bulls owner mulls OHL club’s future: ‘We don’t have an appropriate facility’
  • Curtis Lazar, Edmonton Oil Kings fly into February: CHL Hot & Cold

    Senators first-rounder Curtis Lazar and Edmonton have a 5-point lead in the WHL's Eastern Conference (Larry MacDougal, The Canadian Press)

    A Battle of Alberta II might be brewing, although its not the greatest sign for competitive balance in the WHL.

    The two big market teams east of the Rockies, the Edmonton Oil Kings and Calgary Hitmen, are 10 points clear of all the franchises who aren't owned by a NHL franchise. People being natural-born complainers, the two meeting once in the penultimate round of playoffs was a great launch point for nostalgia trip to Flames-Oilers series of yore. Twice means it's a frightening sign. That's just the way it works.

    Here is a look at who is flowing and ebbing entering the first full week of February.

    Read More »from Curtis Lazar, Edmonton Oil Kings fly into February: CHL Hot & Cold
  • Combing all corners of the country and the blogosphere for your junior hockey headlines ...

    WHL

    Portland handled Seattle 3-0 in a U.S. Division joust on Saturday, yet Thunderbirds goalie Taran Kozun says, "I think we have a really good contender for the Memorial Cup." Seattle did have its first double-digit win month in six years. (CBS Seattle, Portland Tribune)

    Bright spot of the WHL week? Victoria's diminutive defender Joe Hicketts scored an overtime winner in his second game back from a lengthy absence. (Victoria Times-Colonist)

    New Jersey Devils pick Myles Bell is the first Kelowna Rocket to have repeat 30-goal seasons since some dude named Jamie Benn. (Kelowna Daily Courier)

    Regina's mastery of rival Moose Jaw could help it win the Eastern Division. The Pats are 7-0 vs. the rebuilding Warriors and 20-26 vs. the rest of the league. (Regina Leader-Post)

    Central Scouting Service's Al Jensen breaks down the goalies available for the NHL draft. (The Pipeline Show)

    OHL

    London's road sweep puts it within seven points of league-leading Erie at the season's three-quarter pole. (London Free Press)

    Who falls into line behind Jakub Chychrun as the next best prospect for the OHL priority selection? (HockeyProspect.com)

    Read More »from Seattle shoots for the stars, smell of success for Drakkar: the coast-to-coast

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