Neate Sager

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Neate Sager is a blogger for Yahoo! Sports.

  • Jake Paterson withstands 60-shot London Knights barrage: Friday’s 3 Stars

    Paterson has stopped 89-of-90 shots over his last 120 minutes vs. London (The Canadian Press)

    No. 1 star: Jake Paterson, Saginaw Spirit (OHL)

    Too bad most of the knee-jerkers who inveighed against Paterson during the world junior championship after Canada's shootout loss to the Czech Republic didn't see him in action on Friday. The Detroit Red Wings third-rounder made 59 saves to help Saginaw upset the London Knights 3-1. The busy night included 29 stops in the final 20 minutes as the Memorial Cup-host Knights and their four NHL first-round picks went all out to break down the Paterson roadblock.

    Coming off a shutout vs. London last weekend, the 19-year-old Paterson robbed Max Domi a couple times in the first period and also rebuffed Ryan Rupert on a penalty shot, allowing the Spirit to take a 1-0 lead. He came up with a couple big saves early in the second before the Spirit counter attacked and Buffalo Sabres third-rounder Justin Kea buried a goal to put the Knights, already set back by an injury to goalie Anthony Stolarz, in a two-goal hole.

    Vancouver Canucks first-rounder

    Read More »from Jake Paterson withstands 60-shot London Knights barrage: Friday’s 3 Stars
  • Anthony Stolarz is a Flyers second-rounder (OHL Images)

    Stolarz was cut when a player's foot came down on his leg (Rogers Television image)Anthony Stolarz no doubt came into Friday's action hoping to reverse a recent slump, but that is likely the least of the goaltender's and the London Knights' concerns.

    During the first period of the Saginaw Spirit-Knights game, the skate of Spirit centre Eric Locke came down on Stolarz's leg during a goal mouth collision after Locke was shoved by Knights defenceman Dakota Mermis. According to media accounts, blood gushed from the wound, staining the ice. Stolarz's pads were taken off of him and he was stretchered off in front of a hushed crowd.

    (Update: Stolarz is out for four weeks.)

    The Philadelphia Flyers second-round pick is having a decent season for the Memorial Cup-host Knights with a 2.59 average and .925 save percentage.

    Stolarz is downplaying the severity:

    Read More »from Flyers goalie prospect Anthony Stolarz suffers grisly skate cut in London Knights game
  • Connor Chatham (left) and Ryan Hartman model Plymouth's Military Appreciation jersey (Peter Krupsky photo)

    On closer inspection, the Plymouth Whalers' Military Appreciation jersey stands out for the crowd.

    Many major junior hockey teams honour those who made the ultimate sacrifice, on or just before Veterans Day in the United States and Remembrance Day in Canada. This weekend, the Whalers are wearing jerseys as part of an initiative to celebrate veterans and to raise awareness for their continuing healthcare, which can sometimes be overshadowed.

    The Whalers' jersey's special HONOR - COURAGE - TEAMWORK - DISCIPLINE crest is matted against a depiction of three soldiers walking together, as if returning from a tour in combat. Very thoughtful.

    From the Whalers' release:

    On the ice, the Whalers will wear specifically designed camouflaged jerseys against the Sudbury Wolves and Windsor Spitfires. The jerseys will be auctioned off, with proceeds of the jersey auction, Whalers ticket sales over the weekend and 50/50 fundraisers to benefit the VA [U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs] Ann Arbor Healthcare System.

    Off the ice, veterans can receive valuable information about services, assistance and benefits earned for any veteran and their family in need from the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System.

    ... During Saturday’s game, former POW’s from World War II, the Korean War, Vietnam conflict and from the Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts will be acknowledged.

    Read More »from Plymouth Whalers pay poignant tribute to veterans with Military Appreciation jersey
  • Lloydminister Bobcats wear special Don Cherry uniform

    The Lloydminster Bobcats' Don Cherry uniform (@FriedgeHNIC)

    Just as their city straddles the Alberta-Saskatchewan border, the Lloydminster Bobcats' Don Cherry uniform straddles the line between garish and glorious.

    The Alberta Junior Hockey League team is hosting CBC's Hockey Night in Canada on Saturday as part of Hockey Day In Canada. The festivities will be distinguished about appropriately festive finery, with the Bobcats dressed to the nines in a jersey patterned after one of Cherry's distinctive blazers. The special touches include a flower on the left lapel, which is why captain Grant Baker (second from right) has his 'C' on the right side.

    Lloydminster's and visiting Sherwood Park's play-by-play announcers might have trouble reading the arm numbers, but other than that, pretty awesome.

    Don Cherry and host Ron MacLean also get a commemorative jersey as a keepsake.

    guess who these beauties are for!? sneak peak this am @cbcsports #CBCNN @cbchockeyday @LloydBobcats @2014HockeyDay pic.twitter.com/MXiTOzQOsS

    — carly agro (@CarlyCBCSports) January 17, 2014

    get a load of these beauties! will be worn by @LloydBobcats @cbchockeyday @2014HockeyDay pic.twitter.com/x4Gg6BoPhu

    — carly agro (@CarlyCBCSports) January 17, 2014

    Read More »from Lloydminister Bobcats wear special Don Cherry uniform
  • Clarke had 51 points as a 16-year-old with the Battalion (OHL Images)CALGARY — Blake Clarke finished this showcase event safe and sound, so everything else was gravy.

    "It's nice not to get hurt in this one — that was already better," Clarke quipped on Wednesday after his top-shelf snipe in the second period gave him as many goals in the CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game as he had in the entire first half of an injury-derailed first half of the season. "But scoring a goal was big. I just saw the D was a little bit far back on his gap and was screening the goalie. I don't think Ned [goalie Alex Nedeljkovic] saw it there.

    "It was big within the game and big for me."

    Clarke was labelled as an 'A' prospect by NHL Central Scouting coming into the season, but the Wildwood, Mo., native suffered a shoulder injury during USA Hockey's All-America Prospects Game in Pittsburgh at the beginning of the season. Clarke tried to play through his discomfort, but it caused his play with the North Bay Battalion to go into a tailspin. He took five weeks off to rest, then was unable

    Read More »from Saginaw Spirit’s Blake Clarke hopeful Top Prospects goal heralds second-half turnaround
  • McCann (left) and Josh Ho-Sang celebrate the game-winning goal (Jeff McIntosh, The Canadian Press)

    CALGARY — Buzzing The Net’s 3 Stars from the CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game, won 4-3 by Team Orr over Team Cherry:

    No. 1 star: Jared McCann, Team Orr / Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (OHL)

    The 'Hounds star was a fitting person to score the winning goal with 3:29 left, as he roofed a shot over Team Cherry goalie Alex Nedeljkovic to cap an exciting few minutes of end-to-end river hockey. McCann showed off his speed and intelligence for much of the night, turning in a solid two-way outing. He had three shots on goal in the second period when Team Orr wrested control of the contest and scored three times to take the lead.

    The Stratford, Ont., native's goal brought much of the crowd of 11,631 at the Saddledome out of its seats. Windsor Spitfires' Josh Ho-Sang carried into the teeth of the defence before making a nifty drop pass to McCann, who scored from the slot.

    Six of the game's seven goals were by Ontario league players. Ho-Sang (1G-1A) was among a handful of players who might have upped their draft stock.

    Read More »from Jared McCann scores decider for Team Orr, capping solid night: Top Prospects Game 3 Stars
  • Bennett is on the longest point streak by a Kingston player in more than 30 years (Aaron Bell, OHL Images)

    Of all the launch points for a Sam Bennett story, a play in a game 15 months ago where he didn't even earn a point seems a little esoteric.

    Yet here we are, on Thanksgiving weekend 2012 and a rare Saturday night home game in Kingston, Ont., where Fridays and Sundays have long been gamedays. The host Frontenacs were on what, looking back, was a paradigm power play in a season where they finished dead last in the Ontario Hockey League in cashing in extra-skater chances. A lot of well-executed perimeter passing, no chance to break down the Sudbury Wolves' penalty-killing box. The Wolves got a chance to lob the puck down the ice to relieve pressure when Bennett showed wherewithal well beyond that of a lithe 16-year-old playing his seventh game in the OHL. Subtly, he used the shaft of his stick to cut off the Wolves' clear. Kingston kept possession and scored.

    Hopefully that helps demystify Bennett, whom NHL Central Scouting was somewhat surprisingly anointed as its top domestic skater in its 2014 draft ranking. The Holland Landing, Ont., might not have the profile of other top draft hopefuls, since the 17-year-old wasn't considered for Team Canada and missed Wednesday's CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game in Calgary due to a groin injury. But to have watched him is to know Bennett has elite skill and is shrewd about pursuing his obligation to have the puck.

    Read More »from Kingston Frontenacs’ Sam Bennett being Central Scouting’s top prospect no shock to OHL peers
  • NHL draft tracker: Leon Draisaitl, Prince Albert Raiders

    Draisaitl may become the highest-drafted German player in hockey history (Larry MacDougal, The Canadian Press)Leon Draistaitl's choice to hone his game in Canada wouldn't have been worth it if he had never run into any doubts.

    The Prince Albert Raiders playmaker will cop to having had some during his first season away from home, when he began showing the promise of becoming the highest-drafted German in National Hockey League history. He's put that in his rearview mirror in Year 2 with Prince Albert, breaking out with 19 goals and 54 points over 35 games for the Raiders. Just like the basketball star Andrew Wiggins, there's an obvious story hook in a teen thriving at a game that's on the periphery of his country's sporting focus. Back home, the Cologne-born Draisaitl has been labelled "The German Gretzky."

    "The attention is starting to get more," says the 18-year-old Draisaitl, whose father Peter was a 20-year pro who competed in three Olympics and now coaches in the Czech Republic. "Obviously, Germany not a big hockey country. People care more about soccer and other sports. Hockey’s maybe on position three, four. It’s starting to come. The media’s coming more and more.

    "At the beginning, I had maybe not doubts but I was concerned who I was doing," adds Leon Draisaitl, who is NHL Central Scouting's second-ranked North American skater. "How my English was going turn out. Or how I was going to do on the ice. It turned out to be really good."

    Read More »from NHL draft tracker: Leon Draisaitl, Prince Albert Raiders
  • NHL draft tracker: Sam Reinhart, Kootenay Ice

    Sam Reinhart (right) and brother Griffin were the third brother combo to team up for Canada at the world junior (Frank Gunn, The Canadian Press)

    One narrative that's emerged with Sam Reinhart during his draft year is that he was born to be a hockey player, albeit not to the exclusion of the entire sports smorgasbord.

    Granted, the no-plan-B urgency that's all too common might not be the same when one is the son of a well-remembered NHL defenceman, Paul Reinhart. But it's helped the 18-year-old Reinhart, third in his parents Theresa and Paul's puck-chasing progeny, gain a sense of perspective about himself that's helped him keep the pressures of high-level hockey in perspective. Some sports parents could stand to take note.

    "Even now it gives us an opportunity to kind of get away and take a break," says Sam Reinhart, the Kootenay Ice captain who will wear the 'C' for Team Cherry during Wednesday's CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game at the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary, which was his father's NHL stamping ground for eight seasons in the 1980s during the heyday of the Battle of Alberta. "In the summer we're all active and into other sports. Tennis, we're soccer fans as well. We're not smothered by hockey at all — never were.

    "There's different philosophies on how to train in the summer. We feel even with a week of skating you can be back to top shape. Obviously skating will help. But you have to take some time to relax. Growing up, we were never big on spring hockey tournaments, getting on the best teams possible. Spring hockey was more for hanging out with friends."

    Read More »from NHL draft tracker: Sam Reinhart, Kootenay Ice
  • NHL draft tracker: Michael Dal Colle, Oshawa Generals

    Dal Colle is sixth in the OHL in scoring (OHL Images)

    Michael Dal Colle, the rangy Oshawa Generals left wing with the oh-so-high ceiling, has little trouble staying grounded.

    On the surface, Dal Colle has blossomed into a potential top-five NHL draft pick over the past season and half with the Generals. The 17-year-old boasts a rare combination of good size and acumen for protecting the puck and making skilled plays in very finite space. Dal Colle has also been galvanized by challenges in his home life. His older brother Jonluca, now 21, is autistic, which meant their parents, Gus and Wendy, were pulled in many more directions than even the typical hustle-bustle of a hockey family.

    "I look at my mom and she's a huge role model in my life having to deal with a child who's got special needs and having to deal with two other kids," says Dal Colle, who is NHL Central Scouting's fifth-ranked domestic skater. "It was hard on her but it's gotten better. You adjust to it. It just makes you better as a person. I grew up quicker than most kids, realizing you can't take anything for granted in life.

    "In the back of my mind, everything I do, all my goals, are for my family," says Dal Colle, whose sister Daniela played NCAA Division I hockey at Niagara University.

    Read More »from NHL draft tracker: Michael Dal Colle, Oshawa Generals

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