Neate Sager

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Neate Sager is a blogger for Yahoo! Sports.

  • The impact of Fitzmorris' check sent shards of plexiglass sailing through the air (Rogers Television)The impact of Fitzmorris' check sent shards of plexiglass sailing through the air (Rogers Television)

    In case of first game in a refurbished arena, break glass.

    On Friday, the Niagara IceDogs' Mitchell Fitzmorris and Ottawa 67's Travis Barron (unwittingly) offered a reminder of how much force is generated when two junior hockey players collide. During the second period, Fitzmorris, a gritty veteran forward on the IceDogs, finished his check on Barron after the 67's rookie made a pass at centre ice. The impact of Barron's shoulder striking the plexiglass sprayed shards to parts unknown. Fortunately, Barron was able to complete the game. It also did not appear that any of the rinkside spectators in the crowd of 4,713 at TD Place, which was hosting its first OHL game in 29 months, needed medical attention.

    Perfectly clean check, too. Talk about a job well-done by Fitzmorris, a 19-year-old winger from Ingersoll, Ont., who does a lot of grunt work for Niagara and doesn't get much glory, having scored only 11 goals in three-plus seasons in the Ontario Hockey League.


    Of all the things to

    Read More »from Niagara IceDogs' Mitchell Fitzmorris checks Ottawa 67's Travis Barron through the glass (VIDEO)
  • North Bay Battalion's Zach Poirier (Phil Ercolani, North Bay Battalion)North Bay Battalion's Zach Poirier (Phil Ercolani, North Bay Battalion)

    Call it fighting through, call it perseverance, or just call it a goal.

    At the outset of the season, 16-year-old Zach Poirier said his mother "taught me everything I know about hockey," but it's questionable how Karen Poirier or anyone could have imparted to the North Bay Battalion rookie how to regain the puck on the rush and score a sweet first career OHL goal.

    On Thursday, Zach Poirier electrified the North Bay Battalion fateful by going 1-on-3 against the Owen Sound Attack back line — generally not the most pragmatic strategy — and scoring in his fourth career Ontario Hockey League game.

    The native of Mountain, Ont., accelerated and backed up the last defender, Owen Sound's Santino Centorame. Centorame actually made a good play initially by poke-checking Poirier. But Poirier quickly tapped the puck out of the air to regain possession all while maintaining his speed, then deked Attack goalie Jack Flinn — who can fill at a lot of the lower half of the net, what with being 6-foot-8 — to complete the play.


    That was moderately awesome. Flinn and the Attack did get the last laugh with a 3-2 overtime win.


    Read More »from North Bay Battalion's Zach Poirier goes coast-to-coast for a superb first OHL goal (VIDEO)
  • The 6-foot-10 Wiltjer will play for Gonzaga this season after sitting out last year as a transferThe 6-foot-10 Wiltjer will play for Gonzaga this season after sitting out last year as a transfer

    Being off the court for a year apparently has fostered high hopes for Canadian basketball player Kyle Wiltjer — along with the ultimate H-O-R-S-E shot.

    The 6-foot--10 forward who is now at Gonzaga, made the college basketball world go gaga on Thursday by posting a video of a Stauskas-esque shooting display where he made 70-of-75 three-pointers in five minutes, with one ball and one rebounder. That will serve the former member of Canada's development national team and his Gonzaga teammates well in a game, sure, but how does that compare to setting the unofficial world record for the longest behind-the-back basket?

    The answer is in the eye of the beholder. Wiltjer performed just such a feat, and posted it, on Thursday. The previous record was apparently only 24 feet. 

    Current Boston Celtics forward Kelly Olynyk went from perimeter player to potential NBA player at Gonzaga after taking a redshirt year at the Spokane, Wash., school.

    Read More »from Canadian baller Kyle Wiltjer makes behind-the-back half-court shot in practice (VIDEO)
  • Tri-City Americans' Parker BowlesTri-City Americans' Parker BowlesNo. 1 star: Parker Bowles, Tri-City Americans (WHL)

    Bowles (1G-2A, +1) came up big-time to help Tri-City improve to 3-for-4 on its six-game Eastern Conference road swing with a come-from-behind 5-3 win over the Saskatoon Blades.

    The Blades, still seeking their first win under coach Bob Woods, started well with a 2-0 lead. The 19-year-old Bowles assisted on a Brian Williams power-play goal in the last minute of the first. After Saskatoon restored the two-goal edge, Bowles scored unassisted 8:48 into the second. Minutes later, the Kelowna, B.C. native won a faceoff, leading directly to a power-play tally by Parker Wotherspoon.  

    Tri-City made that stand up; backup goalie Evan Sarthou got the win while Winnipeg Jets netminding prospect Eric Comrie enjoyed a night off. It was the Tri-City franchise's first win in Saskatoon since 1996. Bear in mind that is only a 10-game span.

    No. 2 star: Chris Marchese, Windsor Spitfires (OHL)

    Marchese (2G, +2) added another instalment to his comeback

    Read More »from Tri-City Americans' Parker Bowles leads way in comeback over Blades: Thursday's 3 Stars
  • Konecny likened to Yzerman by coach: the coast-to-coast

    17-year-old Travis Konecny was named Ottawa's captain on Thursday (OHL Images)17-year-old Travis Konecny was named Ottawa's captain on Thursday (OHL Images)

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


    Will Calgary Flames first-rounder Morgan Klimchuk be with the Regina Pats for the duration of the season, or will the Pats opt to put more picks and players in the Sam Steel basket? (Regina Leader-Post)

    Montreal Canadiens third-rounder Tim Bozon was scratched in the Hamilton Bulldogs' AHL opener, sparking speculation that the Kootenay Ice are holding an overage spot for him, writes Gregg Drinnan. Meantime, the Edmonton Oil Kings have decided that Mads Eller and Edgars Kulda will continue as their two imports. (Taking Note)

    How long has captain Brett Stovin been part of the Saskatoon Blades? He actually played at the same time as Brayden Schenn, which feels like eons ago. (Saskatoon StarPhoenix)

    Nashville Predators third-rounder Justin Kirkland has kicked his production up a notch for the Kelowna Rockets. (Kelowna Capital News)

    Life in the U.S. Division: Seattle and Spokane are playing three

    Read More »from Konecny likened to Yzerman by coach: the coast-to-coast
  • Burakovsky had 41 goals and 87 points over 57 games in Erie last season (Associated PressBurakovsky had 41 goals and 87 points over 57 games in Erie last season (Associated Press

    It took André Burakovsky fewer than seven minutes to score his first NHL goal for the Washington Capitals, which is further indication he's moved beyond the Erie Otters.

    After the Montreal Canadiens' P.K. Subban was harried into a defensive zone turnover by Troy Brouwer on Thursday night, the 19-year-old Burakovsky one-timed a shot in characteristic fashion. And he treated the fans to a celebration reminiscent of a young Alex Ovechkin.

    Not bad for someone who just switched from left wing to centre, eh?

    Burakovsky — not for nothing you cannot spell his name without bury — tallied 41 goals and 87 points in 57 games during his only season in Erie, where he flanked a quiet playmaker by the name of Connor McDavid. He was actually fourth on the Otters in points behind two veterans, Connor Brown and Dane Fox, as well as McDavid. However, the point totals undersold how dangerous Burakovsky was in the offensive zone.

    He handled top-six minutes with the Capitals during the preseason and his

    Read More »from Andre Burakovsky, erstwhile Erie Otter, scores first NHL goal in first game (VIDEO)
  • Descheneau was drafted No. 124 overall by St. Louis in the 2014 NHL draft (The Canadian Press)Descheneau was drafted No. 124 overall by St. Louis in the 2014 NHL draft (The Canadian Press)

    No. 1 star: Jaedon Descheneau, Kootenay Ice (WHL)

    Descheneau is free from prospect purgatory now that he is a St. Louis Blues draft pick, but is now manacled to the burden of carrying an Ice team that is carrying on without Sam Reinhart, without Toronto Maple Leafs-drafted defenceman Rinat Valiev and without its best power winger, John Martin. Descheneau (3G-1A, +3) did everything he could on Wednesday, scoring on a solo effort and setting up Levi Cable (1G-1A) for tying goal in the third period before the Regina Pats prevailed 5-4.

    The Ice, which has just two wins in its first six games, allowed 47 shots and faced three 5-on-3 penalty kills on the night, weathering two. All that extra PK time in the second period seemed to catch up to it when Regina scored twice in the first 1:15 in the third. However, the 19-year-old Descheneau completed his sixth career hat trick by pulling past a checker at the Pats blueline and scoring with 15:08 left into the third to pare Regina's edge to 4-3. He then set up Cable in the slot for the tying goal with 4:08 to play.

    Adam Brooks
    ' second of the night on a shot that went in off the goalpost with 1:52 remaining gave the Pats the win. 

    Read More »from Kootenay Ice's Jaedon Descheneau nets hat trick in a heartbreaker: Wednesday's 3 Stars
  • Ottawa's refurbished TD Place will have no overhanging scoreboard (Stuart Bowden, Special To Buzzing The Net)Ottawa's refurbished TD Place will have no overhanging scoreboard (Stuart Bowden, Special To Buzzing The Net)

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


    In a matter of hours, Red Deer Rebels coach, GM and owner Brent Sutter will know if his club will host the 2016 Memorial Cup. (Vancouver Province)

    For the Regina Pats, captain Kyle Burroughs getting in fights is the ultimate double-edged sword. (Regina Leader-Post)

    Loves me some Troy Ward bon mots. The Vancouver Giants coach, on his team's start: "I had a dad who told me in the 1970s that you can live in a forest or you can live in a garden... People who live in a garden are pretty organized and pretty detailed. Everything is laid out. There are no weeds, no nothing. It’s spotless. Their life is clear. They know what they’re doing. You live in a frickin’ forest, there’s stuff everywhere." (Vancouver Province)

    Seeing Portland with a 1-6-0-1 record is just weird and scary, writes Chris Derrick. It's like when they changed what "it" was. (Spokane Spokesman-Review)

    Not to be a post-hoc prognosticator, but if Prince Albert Raiders goalie Nick McBride was making his sixth conseuctive start on Tuesday, than that increased the chance of him letting in what coach Cory Clouston called "three goals [that] were stoppable." (Prince Albert Daily Herald)

    Former Moose Jaw and Kamloops head coach Dave Hunchak appeared in court Tuesday on charges of drunk driving and dangerous driving. (Castanet, News 1130


    In the wake of Nikolay Goldobin decamping to Finland, Ryan Pyette asks the question about the value of keeping some of the best 19-year-old Canadian prospects in major junior: "When you're seeing some country's prospects getting advantages your kids don't and you're not winning as many world junior tournaments anymore, it's worth studying if the top end of this development model is still functioning properly." (London Free Press)

    Read More »from Flames carry torch for Connor McDavid, Memorial Cup decision due: the coast-to-coast
  • Bennett went No. 4 overall to Calgary in June (Matt Slocum, Associated PressBennett went No. 4 overall to Calgary in June (Matt Slocum, Associated Press

    There is little other way to look at Sam Bennett's situation, other than as the downside of the pressure on prospects to impress.

    The Calgary Flames seem likely to shut down their No. 4 overall pick in order for Bennett to have shoulder surgery, which would prevent him from being able to "skate for Team Canada at the world junior tourney" in December and early January. It was evident during the Ontario Hockey League playoffs that Bennett was playing hurt for the Kingston Frontenacs and wasn't at full capacity. It was known at the time that the crafty centre had a groin injury, which was why he sat out the world under-18 championship, but now he has been shut down due to a second ailment, the shoulder.

    It's pretty easy to frame Bennett's quotes — "I wanted to play. I'd do anything to make the team and to play in the NHL this year" — within a cautionary tale. Going directly to the league isn't the be-all, but one can't fault a player for wanting it.

    From Wes Gilbertson:

    Bennett said

    Read More »from Flames top pick Sam Bennett might need shoulder surgery, which would cost him the world junior championship
  • Goldobin had 94 points last season in Sarnia (AP)Goldobin had 94 points last season in Sarnia (AP)

    Not so long ago, there was a hue and cry about talented European players continuing their development in North America and not coming back. In that regard, then, what the San Jose Sharks have opted to do with 19-year-old first-round pick Nikolay Goldobin, assigning the skilled winger to HIFK Helsinki in the Finnish Elite League instead of sending him back to the Sarnia Sting like they would have to if he came from from Mississauga instead of Moscow, is actually a welcome development, in the big-picture sense.

    Or, put another way, there was less potential gain in having Goldobin, a 94-point scorer in the OHL, go back for another year of toe-dragging teenagers.


    Read More »from Sharks top pick Nikolay Goldobin joining Finland's HIFK, instead of going back to OHL


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