Neate Sager

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Neate Sager is a blogger for Yahoo! Sports.

  • Connor McDavid could have a new assortment of linemates (Terry Wilson, OHL Images) Connor McDavid could have a new assortment of linemates (Terry Wilson, OHL Images) 

    Starting from the top of last season's standings, it is time for OHL Burning Questions. For your consideration, the Erie Otters.

    Last season went like — The Otters emerged out of the OHL wilderness and morphed into a seeming goal-scoring machine with three of the loop's top four scorers, including that McDavid fellow with 99 in 56. All along, though, the goaltending and defence seemed like a pair of Achilles heels; Guelph verified those assumptions in the third round with a five-game win. 

    2013-14, by the numbers — 52-14-2-0, .779 point pct., 310 GF/170 GA. Third playoff seed, Western Conference. Lost 4-1 to Guelph in conference final.

    On the junior-or-pro bubble — Whither Andre Burakovsky? It seems unlikely, as Victor Fernandes pointed out, that the Washington Capitals would place a 19-year-old with high-end potential in the AHL, as is their wont since the 87-point scorer was drafted out of Sweden.  

    Drafted — Burakovsky (Washington Capitals, first round), C Kyle Pettit (Vancouver Canucks, sixth)..

    2015 NHL Draft watch — C Connor McDavid, obviously, but C-LW Dylan Strome has first-round buzz and D Travis Dermott is on some watch lists. One might as well mention 2016-eligible Alex DeBrincat; the former Boston University recruit had a four-goal effort in the preseason. Plus he was born the same day that comedian Chris Farley left us (Dec. 18, 1997). No I don't feel old, either.

    Read More »from Connor McDavid, Erie Otters are talented but dealing with turnover: OHL Burning Questions
  • OHL playoff MVP Robby Fabbri is likely to spearhead Guelph's offence (OHL Images)OHL playoff MVP Robby Fabbri is likely to spearhead Guelph's offence (OHL Images)

    Starting from the top of last season's standings, it is time for OHL Burning Questions. Here's the Coles Notes on the Guelph Storm.

    Last season went like — The Storm were the irresistible force, checking off all the boxes on the bona fide juggernaut application form — 50 wins, 100 points, 300-plus goals and going five-five-five-five through the playoffs en route to the franchise's first title in 10 seasons. Then it ran smack into an immovable object in the Edmonton Oil Kings with some man-children in NHL first-rounders Curtis Lazar, Griffin Reinhart and Henrik Samuelsson, who could each turn pro this season. It was a bit of a bummer finish.

    2013-14, by the numbers — 52-12-2-2, .794 point pct., 338 GF/189 GA. First, Western Conference. Beat North Bay 4-1 for J. Ross Robertson Cup; runner-up in Memorial Cup.

    Drafted — C Robby Fabbri (St. Louis Blues, first round); C Jason Dickinson (Dallas Stars, first), LW Tyler Bertuzzi (Detroit Red Wings, second), RW Justin Auger (Los Angeles Kings,

    Read More »from Guelph Storm vie not to fall too far, stay in contention: OHL Burning Questions
  • McDavid opens up, Boucher rides herd on winless Remparts: the coast-to-coast

    Connor McDavid with Team Canada at the 2014 world junior championship.Connor McDavid with Team Canada at the 2014 world junior championship.
    Combing all corners of the country and the blogosphere for your junior hockey headlines ...

    WHL

    Nice storyline for Saturday's Victoria-Vancouver opener: Giants coach Troy Ward is a former colleague of the father of Royals centre Tyler Soy. (Vancouver Province)

    Saskatoon coach Bob Woods, on adapting from being a NHL assistant coach to having the top job with the young Blades: "You can't take for granted that they know every little thing." (Saskatoon StarPhoenix)

    Our own Kelly Friesen tees up the Central Division. And the East Division.

    Fellow BTN'er Scott Sepich points out the one flaw in the Portland Winterhawks: the lack of an elite defenceman. (Cranbrook Daily Townsman)

    A 19-year-old stuck on the Winnipeg Jets blueline last season. Josh Morrissey has a few weeks to begin showing he can do the same. Meantime, his Prince Albert team is inching toward its goal for season-ticket sales; shouldn't it be easier when a team has had three NHL first-rounders in the last four drafts? (St.

    Read More »from McDavid opens up, Boucher rides herd on winless Remparts: the coast-to-coast
  • Talk about taking it upon yourself. Speaking for those who know of lacrosse but might not know lacrosse, who knew a goalkeeper could do this?

    Last Saturday, William Waesche, the goalkeeper for the McGill Redmen, had a chance to go for a run while clearing the ball during the first quarter of a Canadian University Field Lacrosse Association game vs. the Queen's Gaels in Montreal. 

    McGill Redmen goaltender William Waesche.McGill Redmen goaltender William Waesche.

    As if on a larf, Waesche ran the ball to midfield and then just continued going before finally wiring a shot into the net. It was the first goalie goal in Canadian university men's lacrosse, which is a club-level sport north of the border.

    Like the Streaming Sports Network-Montreal commentators said, it was all about the goalies — just not in the typical sense.

    That's a nice bit of brilliance from Waesche, a second-year Redmen lacrosse player (laxer? laxist?) from Greenwich, Connecticut. It helped inspire McGill to a 13-7 win.

    Read More »from Watch McGill's William Waesche become the first Canadian university lacrosse goalie to score a goal (VIDEO)
  • For a play that encompassses the sheer, unadulterated joy that is Canadian university sport — the while thrill-of-victory, agony-of-defeat deal — it's hard to outdo the Mount Allison Mounties' winning touchdown last Saturday against rival St. Francis Xavier.

    The Mounties drove for two touchdowns in the final three minutes 50 seconds to steal a 27-25 win from St. FX, going ahead on an absolutely Favre-ulous pass from Brandon Leyh to Josh Blanchard with 49 seconds left in the game. As the play started, Leyh had wide receiver Rodreke Joseph open down the middle of the field on a post route, but had to concern himself with shaking off two tackles in the backfield. Scrambling to buy time, resetting himself, the Mounties quarterback then threw a dart to Blanchard, whose end zone catch sparked euphoria along the Mounties sideline.

    Cancel my appointments. I am just going to watch this all day. There is an only-in-CIS moment for you.

    Those 40 seconds, of course, don't fill in all the build-up

    Read More »from Mount Allison's winning touchdown pass from Brandon Leyh to Josh Blanchard was ridiculous (VIDEO)
  • In the here and now, the Kitchener Rangers' Brandon Robinson is perhaps fortunate to have not suffered a more grievous injury. In the long run, the footage of the 18-year-old crashing face-first into the boards on Monday night while playing for the Detroit Red Wings rookie squad at the Traverse City, Mich., prospect tournament should give pause to wonder about whether those events are good for the overall health of young players.

    During the third period on Monday, Robinson collided into the boards, leading to a scary scene where the former OHL first-round pick lay motionless on the ice for several minutes. The good news is that Robinson, who on the cusp of his fourth junior season, is "moving well and talking," although he was to undergo X-rays in order to determine if he suffered a cervical spinal fracture.

    As best as one can tell, it was a freak incident. Robinson was trying to check a Wild defenceman when he hurtled over him and hit the glass. 

    It goes without saying the same play

    Read More »from Kitchener Rangers' Brandon Robinson has scary face-first collision with boards during NHL prospect tournament (VIDEO)
  • Ehlers scored 49 goals and 104 points in 63 games as 17-year-old in Halifax (The Associated Press)Ehlers scored 49 goals and 104 points in 63 games as 17-year-old in Halifax (The Associated Press)

    A small fortune might await the first Winnipeg Jets blogger who begins selling Slippery As An Ehlers t-shirts.

    Those who followed the Danish dervish's first North American season last winter with the Halifax Mooseheads were confident of Nikolaj Ehlers' gifts; many scouting services such as Hockey Prospect saw him as deserving of going higher than No. 9 overall, which is where Winnipeg snapped him up in June.Whether Ehlers can leapfrog over the 12 forwards the Jets have on one-way contracts must yet play itself out, but for now, one can simply enjoy the show that the 18-year-old put on during Jets' rookie team's shootout win over the Edmonton Oilers hopefuls on Monday in Penticton, B.C.

    Ehlers was drilled by a cross-check from the Oilers' Greg Chase early in the game. He came back with a vengeance, outshining the No. 3 overall pick Leon Draisaitl with two beauty goals punctuated by top-shelf rockets.


    Anyone else notice how none of the Oilers checkers seemed to want any part of

    Read More »from Winnipeg Jets top pick Nikolaj Ehlers, of QMJHL's Halifax Mooseheads, dazzles at NHL rookie tournament (VIDEO)
  • U of Calgary student union president Jarett Henry tangles with Alberta's Codie AbramsU of Calgary student union president Jarett Henry tangles with Alberta's Codie Abrams

    For many Canadian university football teams, getting students into the stands is a challenge. So Calgary Dinos have gone one step farther, namely by putting a student right on the field.

    South of the border, the Texas A & M Aggies have their 12th tradition whereby walk-on non-scholarship players are selected to play on the kickoff team at home football games. Those Aggies are actually on the regular roster. Since there's one more player on the gridiron in Canada, Dinos coach Blake Nill had to go one better, so his 13th man is actually plucked from the general student population.

    That led to U of C student union president Jarett Henry, a self-described "Netflix marathon athlete," running down on the first Dinos kickoff vs. the Alberta Golden Bears during the Sept. 6 home opener at McMahon Stadium. .

    Makes you wish CIS could waive its age cap just to let certain close to middle-aged alumni have the same experience of running down the field of their alma mater in front of thousands of

    Read More »from Calgary Dinos debut the '13th man,' putting student union president in on kickoff coverage (VIDEO)
  • Kingston Frontenacs' Reagan O'Grady hopes sacrifice pays off: Making The Jump

    O'Grady will be one of the OHL's youngest players (Brian Watts, OHL ImagesO'Grady will be one of the OHL's youngest players (Brian Watts, OHL Images

    Leaving home at an early age put Reagan O'Grady in the fast lane.

    The Kingston Frontenacs defenceman was all of 10 when he decided to leave the Lindsay, Ont., home of his parents Brendan and Lisa and live in the big city with his grandfather, Al O'Grady, so he could play in the powerhouse Toronto Marlboros minor hockey organization. At that age, O'Grady was convinced he needed a more competitive environment than what he could get in small-town Ontario; now the 6-foot-1, 187-pounder who's still three months shy of turning 16 has matured into a promising young defender.

    It was a lengthy process with my family and I to make the decision," recalls the 15-year-old O'Grady, whom the Frontenacs chose No. 15 overall in the Ontario Hockey League priority selection draft in April. "We had a rule in the Central Ontario Wolves [minor hockey organization] that you couldn't play up from your age group after a certain age and that was about to have a major effect on me.

    "I just was not sure I would

    Read More »from Kingston Frontenacs' Reagan O'Grady hopes sacrifice pays off: Making The Jump
  • Saginaw Spirit's Tye Felhaber focused on 'little things': Making The Jump

    Felhaber was taken No. 10 overall in the OHL priority selection draft (Saginaw Spirit photoFelhaber was taken No. 10 overall in the OHL priority selection draft (Saginaw Spirit photo

    Tye Felhaber is eager to show he is well worth the risk — and the brief wait — for the Saginaw Spirit.

    The 16-year-old centre was one of the last OHL first-round selections to commit, signing with the Spirit in August, but the pivot from Pembroke, Ont., has offered some early promise, scoring a goal in an exhibition win over Sault Ste. Marie last week. Felhaber, who had the blink-you-missed-it acceleration to go end-to-end during his minor hockey days, is out to expand his all-around game.

    "The pace of this league is fun, I'm definitely getting more comfortable with each and every game," Felhaber says. "I want to get better in all areas. I think I'm doing all the little things right.

    "The points will come in time. I just want to get better in the physical aspects of the game, getting stronger and winning physical battles. Just being comfortable with the speed."

    Felhaber had all the open ice he could ever want during his childhood since his father, Joey, made an outdoor rink every

    Read More »from Saginaw Spirit's Tye Felhaber focused on 'little things': Making The Jump

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