Neate Sager

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Neate Sager is a blogger for Yahoo! Sports.

  • Lawson Crouse, at 6-foot-3 and 198 pounds, is a projected power winger in the OHL (OHL Images)

    For Lawson Crouse, the timing and tide is right.

    The No. 5 overall pick in the Ontario Hockey League priority selection typically comes to a team which is hoping to make an incremental improvement on a modest result from the previous season. Crouse, the first wing selected last spring, is joining the Kingston Frontenacs right a point where they are expected to be an Eastern Conference challenger. The big-bodied forward with sneaky speed and good patience offensively, is joining a nucleus that includes the highly touted 17-year-old trio of centre Sam Bennett, defenceman Roland McKeown and wing Spencer Watson. Kingston played above-.500 hockey last season until the 68-game grind caught up to its youngsters after Jan. 1 and ultimately had to scramble to get into the playoffs.

    "We're coming out of a rebuild year, so this is going to be an important year for the team," says Crouse, who hails from Mt. Brydges, Ont., near London. "We have to show others that we're in the league and it would be nice to keep the train rolling this year. Hopefully we play as a team and things keep going our way.

    "Everything's just beginning for me," adds Crouse, who will report to coach Todd Gill's training camp at a strapping 6-foot-3 and 198 pounds. "I just have to keep working."

    Read More »from Kingston Frontenacs’ Lawson Crouse joining talent-laden young team: Making The Jump
  • Combing all corners of the country and the blogosphere for your junior hockey headlines ...

    WHL

    Former Sarnia Sting defender David Nemecek will have ample opportunity on the Saskatoon Blades' overhauled blue line. (Saskatoon StarPhoenix)

    With Kevin Constantine back as coach and a bevy of newcomers, perhaps the Everett Silvertips are ready to move out of what Nick Patterson calls "WHL irrelevance." (Everett Herald)

    In no-brainer news, the Edmonton Oil Kings have rewarded coach Derek Laxdal with a two-year contract extension. (Edmonton Journal)

    Malcolm Cameron never missed the playoffs as an ECHL coach, and his Regina Pats have missed the Eastern Conference playoffs in four of the past five seasons. Something has to give, eh? (Regina Leader-Post)

    Top bantam selections Dante Hannoun and Matt Phillips might help the Victoria Royals corner the market in stumpy, skilled forwards. (Victoria Times-Colonist)

    The legacy of Milan Doczy? Czech forward Robin Soudek, a Royals grad, is playing university hockey with the UPEI Panthers. (Charlottetown Guardian)

    OHL

    BTN favourite Sergey Tolchinsky has inked a NHL free-agent pact with the Carolina Hurricanes; how was he not drafted after a 51-point rookie year with the Soo Greyhounds? (NHL.com)

    Connor McDavid's rookie-of-the-year campaign with the Erie Otters and winning turn with various national junior teams has whetted the appetite for big shiny things: "Now, it seems like there’s a lot of pressure. I’ve got to be better than last year." McDavid's training this week with NHL players. Yikes. (Globe & Mail)

    Anyone betting on who puts up more points, No. 1 pick Travis Konecny with the Ottawas or No. 2 pick Dylan Strome with the Eries? Please keep in mind it's not about the points. (The Hockey News)

    Read More »from McDavid put to test, Tolchinsky fine with Carolina, Brandon Shea rejoins Remparts: the coast-to-coast
  • Jordan Boyd, 16, was laid to rest last SaturdayWhile the cause of Jordan Boyd's death is not yet known, what's paramount is to determine what safeguards can be erected to reduce the possibility of another teenage junior hockey player dying after going into cardiac arrest.

    [Previously: Boyd’s death sends shockwaves throughout hockey community]

    The 16-year-old Boyd was eulogized last Saturday after collapsing during workouts on Aug. 12 on the first day of the Acadie-Bathurst Titan's training camp. There are no easy answers, especially since the consensus appears to be that there are often almost no warning signs that a young person has hypertrophy cardiomyopathy (HCM), the underlying heart condition which the late Windsor Spitfires captain Mickey Renaud was found to have had after his passing in 2008. Ultimately, since no one in the hockey industry wants to see this recur, it's a safe bet new measures are likely in the QMJHL. Halifax Mooseheads GM Cam Russell expects as much.

    From Glenn MacDonald:

    “Our league is looking into the medical exams that we give our players,” Russell said in an interview Tuesday. “When you’re talking about your kids’ health, that’s a No. 1 priority for our league to look into.

    “Obviously with a tragedy like this happening, we’re looking to improve them. Unfortunately, it takes a tragedy to improve part of the process.

    “We have never put anyone on the ice without a full medical exam. It’s one of those things where you’re always looking to see what else you can do now when something like this happens. How can we improve it?”

    Read More »from Halifax Mooseheads GM Cam Russell expects improved medical testing in wake of Jordan Boyd tragedy
  • Knights in waiting game with Max Domi, Bo Horvat: the coast-to-coast

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

    WHL

    Nineteen-year-old forward Tyrel Seaman will not attend Brandon Wheat Kings camp due to the effects of a brain injury he sustained last November. (Brandon Sun, paywall)

    Sixteen-year-old forward Rem Pitlick, whom the Prince George Cougars selected in the '12 bantam draft, has committed to his home state's Minnesota Golden Gophers.

    The Canadian foreign service strike will keep Moose Jaw Warriors import Alexander Chirva from getting his visa in time to report to training camp on Sunday. (Moose Jaw Times-Herald)

    The entire Swift Current Broncos draft class have received advanced level media training from Shawn Mullin. (Broncos Blog)

    OHL

    The Memorial Cup host London Knights reckon it is about a 70 per cent chance that NHL first-rounders Max Domi and Bo Horvat each return to junior as 18-year-olds. Meantime, 16-year-old top pick Mitchell Marner's signing will be 'official' today. (London Free Press)

    Make that two former Ottawa 67's who will be OAs for the Windsor Spitfires: Steven Janes is headed to the Spits with the Owen Sound Attack for two priority selection picks. Remy Giftopoulos was the only returning 20-year-old on Windsor GM Warren Rychel's roster. (OHL)

    The Sudbury Wolves, having won the Junior Club World Cup last August, have some idea what to expect at the eight-team tournament in Omsk, Russia. Also, JFYI: now that he's a fourth-year player, it's Mat Campagna, not Mathew. (Sudbury Star)

    Read More »from Knights in waiting game with Max Domi, Bo Horvat: the coast-to-coast
  • Capobianco was one of 3 Oakville defencemen taken in the priority selection's first 20 picks (Aaron Bell, OHL Images)Kyle Capobianco should shuck the new-kid label fairly quickly with the Sudbury Wolves.

    Heading north to begin his OHL career also means getting an early start on the season since the Wolves are waving the Maple Leaf as the defending champion at the Junior Club World Cup in Omsk, Russia, which begins on Saturday. For Capobianco, an aspiring offensive defenceman, it's an icebreaker with his new teammates.

    "Competing overseas against the best [club] teams from Europe, it's the first chance for me to do that," says Capobianco, who was Sudbury's No. 7 overall choice in April's OHL priority selection draft. "You always hope that one day you could be on the [Canadian] world junior team, but I never expected this.

    "The guys [who helped Sudbury win the 2012 JCWC] have said it's a great experience and it really helped everyone get to know each other better and it helped them early on in the season, helped them gel more."

    Capobianco's points of emphasis for his yearling season with Sudbury include being choosier about when to rush the puck, along with showing he can be sturdy physically. After moving from the Toronto Marlboros to the Oakville Rangers for his minor midget season, progressed well in his decision-making. On the latter count, he came to the Wolves' camp at 6-foot-1 and 175 pounds.

    Read More »from Sudbury Wolves’ Kyle Capobianco makes his debut in Russia: Making The Jump
  • Combing all corners of the country and the blogosphere for your junior hockey headlines ...

    WHL

    A good old-fashioned competition for a job is shaping up between Everett's import picks, Walteri Hopponen and Ivan Nikolishin. (Everett Herald)

    The Seattle Thunderbirds' bright young hope, No. 1 overall pick Mathew Barzal, is trying to keep expectations for his rookie season within the realm of reasonable. (Vancouver Province)

    The Medicine Hat Tigers have secured a signature from their top bantam pick, David Quenneville. (Medicine Hat News)

    Some morning fun: Tigers captain Hunter Shinkaruk is quicker packing an equipment bag than fellow Vancouver Canucks first-rounder Brendan Gaunce. The Belleville Bulls captain had some zipper issues.

    The Vancouver Giants might have parted with Matt Bellerive too soon, since the forward is expecting a 30-goal campaign in Red Deer. (Vancouver Province)

    Edmonton Oilers prospect Jujhar Khaira is a very welcome addition to the Everett Silvertips, seeing how they scored a WHL-worst 171 goals last season. (Everett Herald)

    OHL

    Brendan Ross (@RossyYoungblood) ranks the league's top 50 prospects for the 2014 draft. (Dobber Hockey)

    Sean Lafortune looks at who the Saginaw Spirit have waiting in the wings, although high NHL picks J.T. Compher and Ian McCoshen are still committed to NCAA schools. (TheScout.ca)

    Newly hired Sarnia Sting assistant coach Derek DiMuzio has a unique background as a special education teacher. (Sarnia Observer)

    In case you wondered, new Belleville Bulls forward Jake Marchment is the nephew of former NHL defenceman Bryan Marchment. (Belleville Intelligencer)

    Read More »from Everett’s import surplus, youth movement in Shawinigan: the coast-to-coast
  • Steve Sumarah is guiding Carleton's re-entry into OUA football after a 15-year shutdown (SportsEh.ca photo)

    The spin-off of being the new kids is being able to speak of going from ground up to the Vanier Cup, without putting observers on the injured list with pulled credulity.

    That was the selling point when Carleton Ravens coach Steve Sumurah and his staff, five of whom were previously with new Ontario University Athletics rivals Ottawa and Queen's, started wooing recruits to be play for a team which is starting from square one. Since momentum to revive football at the Ottawa university gained critical mass in the late aughties, there's been a do-it-up-big blueprint. Get alumni sufficiently excited to vote with their chequebooks for the team's return and so the program can run on a model similar to Canadian university game's colossus, the Laval Rouge et Or. Hire a big-time coach and savvy recruiter in Sumarah. Get Nike to design the uniforms ("two helmets, four uniforms," Sumarah clarifies) in adherence of the look-good, play-good principle. Raid two nearby OUA schools for coaching know-how: offensive coordinator Jean-Phillippe Asselin was previously Ottawa's head coach, while defensive coordinator Ryan Bechmanis was with Queen's.

    "Really, we're selling concepts," Sumurah says. "Guys have bought in. To see the players and parents coming into the locker room saying, 'Wow, it's now real' really helped... They see the future as much as the present."

    As far as the latter goes, Carleton is hitting the ground running with a roster of an estimated average age of 18½ years old in a level of football where teams rely on fifth-year seniors who are typically 23 or 24. The essence boils down to whether their heralded recruiting class, many of whom will have to start right away, can get through the season without their confidence intact.

    Read More »from CIS Corner: Carleton Ravens reboot nears kickoff; ‘the amount we’ll have grown will be astronomical’
  • Duclair in centre of action, Otters pick up pivot: the coast-to-coast

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

    WHL

    Call off the search: Randy Hansch will take one step to the right and take over as Edmonton Oil Kings general manager. (Edmonton Journal)

    Latvian forward Rihards Bukarts will soon be winging his way to the Brandon Wheat Kings, who have also picked up 6-foot-7 defenceman Taylor Green, from the Seattle Thunderbirds. Green, 18, will soon be able to say he played with each of the Honey twins (T-Birds forward Connor, Wheaties goalie Curtis). (Luber's Lounge, Westman Journal)

    A nice story, and after this week, one is needed: former Brandon captain Shayne Wiebe rustled up enough equipment to outfit 20 minor hockey players in western Manitoba. (Brandon Sun, paywall)

    Twenty-two years after starring with the Oshawa Generals, former NHLer Mike Craig is back in blue and red as a Lethbridge Hurricanes assistant coach. (Lethbridge Herald)

    Regina Pats grad Matt Hewitt is carrying on with the UBC Thunderbirds. (New Westminster News Leader)

    OHL

    Pittsburgh Penguins-drafted goalie Matt Murray is bent on not repeating last season's late-year fade now that he's heading into his 19-year-old year with the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. (Sault Star)

    No shocker: the Saginaw Spirit released Dalton Young, the 20-year-old defenceman who was charged in connect with a home invasion and stabbing last week in Michigan. (Bay City Times)

    Hey, a trade: overage centre Michael Curtis crosses conferences to Erie, with 19-year-old Luke Cairns going east to the Belleville Bulls. So long as they're both near one of the Great Lakes. (Quinte News)

    Read More »from Duclair in centre of action, Otters pick up pivot: the coast-to-coast
  • Blue Jays farm team loses game on a walk-off intentional walk, really

    With the type of laugh-cuz-ya-can't-cry-anymore season the Toronto Blue Jays are experiencing, it is no shock one of their farm clubs would find a way to lose that you never knew was possible.

    During a doubleheader on Tuesday, the Jays' New Hampshire Fisher Cats lost on a 'walk-off intentional walk' — a wild pitch by Alan Farina on ball four of a free pass to the New Britain Rock Cats' Reynaldo Rodriguez. With runners on second and third base and one out in a 5-5 tie, Farina screwed up one of the most elemental plays in baseball, airmailing his throw out of the reach of catcher Jack Murphy.

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

    Of course the catcher would be named Murphy, since the Jays are run by Murphy's Law. Of course it would also happen against a farm team of Boston Red Sox, the AL East rival true Jays fans have the most bile toward.

    Read More »from Blue Jays farm team loses game on a walk-off intentional walk, really
  • Dylan Strome's older brother, Ryan, played in 2 world junior championships (OHL Images)

    The Erie Otters envision Dylan Strome and superstar Connor McDavid developing the telepathy of any great offensive tandem.

    It turns out the pair got started on their rapport rather early, long before the possibility of teaming up in the OHL was even started.

    "We bonded a little bit last summer at the All-State All-Canadians Mentorship Camp and got kind of close there," says Strome, whom the Otters selected No. 2 overall in this spring's OHL priority selection draft. "It was always in the back of our minds that we could be on the same team. We always got off on the right foot and we're pretty good friends.

    "It was weird how it all worked out. We got each other's number and started texting and then I got drafted there. We've played Sunday nights in this little summer league that some teams do and we've become close through that."

    Read More »from Erie Otters’ Dylan Strome raring to read off of Connor McDavid: Making The Jump

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