Neate Sager

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Neate Sager is a blogger for Yahoo! Sports.

  • Cummins' Axemen received strong support in the first CIS top 10 pollCummins' Axemen received strong support in the first CIS top 10 poll

    Now that is a counter play. On the whole, Atlantic University Sport football has struggled over the last half-decade to earn respect on a national level across CIS. But that is not the be-all, end-all of the university football experience; the Uteck and Mitchell Bowl national semifinals and Vanier Cup comprise but two weeks of a three-month season.

    No AUS team was ranked in the first CIS football top 10 poll of the season and no league member has competed in the Vanier since 2007. So that was obviously hot-button during the league's preseason news conference on Wednesday, but you have to love the way Acadia Axemen coach Jeff Cummins turned it around.


    From Chris Cochrane:

    “The reality at the end of the day is Calgary is going to win, Laval is going to win and Western is going to win,” Cummins said at the news conference.

    “They’ve got more money than anybody knows what to do with and they are going to continue to be getting more money than they know what to do with. There is a

    Read More »from 'Here, there’s parity': Acadia Axemen coach Jeff Cummins calls out other CIS football conferences for lack of competitiveness
  • Forward Connor McDavid skates during the Team Canada National Junior hockey team summer development camp practice in Brossard, Que., Sunday, August 3, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES/Graham HughesForward Connor McDavid skates during the Team Canada National Junior hockey team summer development camp practice in Brossard, Que., Sunday, August 3, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES/Graham Hughes

    In an ideal make-believe junior hockey world, Connor McDavid and his once-a-generation aptitude would only be associated with the Erie Otters, period, full stop.

    In 2008-09, the last time the Ontario Hockey League boasted the hands-down, coulda-gone-No. 1-a-year-earlier-too NHL draft prospect, John Tavares ended up going from the Oshawa Generals to the London Knights in a deadline deal following the world junior championship. A lot would have to happen for that history to repeat itself — and it should be topmost that Tavares reportedly wanted a change of scenery to play out his time in the OHL — but perhaps it shouldn't be dismissed totally out of hand. Over the Labour Day weekend, long-time league chronicler Mike Farwell gave voice to the scenario that could play out later this fall.


    Here is Farwell (@farwell_ohl), via The Pipeline Show (@TPS_Guy):

    "He is as dynamic as they come, as good a player as I've ever seen in this league. When you've got him on your team I think you're

    Read More »from Connor McDavid 'moving' in OHL trade certainly not out of realm of possibility
  • Oilers give Nurse obstacles: the coast-to-coast

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

    WHL

    What is happening in Lethbridge? You're going to have to be more specific. Reid Duke did come to camp, so there is that. (The Pipeline Show)

    Columbus Blue Jackets prospect Oliver Bjorkstrand might be offering a hint of a prolific year ahead in Portland, writes Dylan Bumbarger. (The Oregonian)

    Don't be that person who says John Paddock is off to a heckuva start in Regina with Malcolm Cameron's players. (Regina Leader-Post)

    The overarching concern in Victoria will be goal scoring, just so you know. (Victoria Times Colonist)

    Brandon Ralph, who was part of Edmonton's Memorial Cup winner, is aiming for a breakout season. (Fort McMurray Today)

    A definite should-read: what keeps long-time scout Graham Tuer going? (Kelowna Capital News)

    OHL

    The Edmonton Oilers have put some hurdles in front of Darnell Nurse in his bid to make the NHL as a 19-year-old, writes Jonathan Willis. (The Cult of Hockey)

    Mike Farwell tees up the Western Conference outlook in his inimitable style. The league champ has come out of the west for the last actually-we-stopped-counting seasons (eight and 12 of the last 13). (The Pipeline Show)

    Will 18-year-old Ottawa goalie Liam Herbst finally play a full season? (Ottawa Sun)

    Read More »from Oilers give Nurse obstacles: the coast-to-coast
  • Samuel Bennett pulls on a Calgary Flames sweater after being chosen fourth overall during the first round of the NHL hockey draft, Friday, June 27, 2014, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)Samuel Bennett pulls on a Calgary Flames sweater after being chosen fourth overall during the first round of the NHL hockey draft, Friday, June 27, 2014, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

    This might not end up being Sam Bennett's auld lang syne to his junior hockey days, then the Calgary Flames No. 4 overall choice certainly made it a good one. Just watch how routine the 18-year-old NHL hopeful made an end-to-end scoring rush look during his potential final time on the ice with the Kingston Frontenacs last Friday. After winning a puck a battle in the corner, Bennett peeled away from a check, gained the zone and finished off by tucking a shot under the goalie's blocker.

    That's pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty good.

     

    Of course, Bennett might have another year in Kingston ahead of him yet.

    From Mark Spector (@sportsnetspec):

    The Flames kept Sean Monahan last season after drafting him No. 6 overall from the OHL's Ottawa 67's. That was, however,  before Brian Burke took power as the club's president

    Read More »from Calgary Flames top pick Sam Bennett goes end-to-end for goal in OHL scrimmage (VIDEO)
  • Brandon Whitaker scoots for a 22-yard gain that set up the Alouettes' first touchdown on Friday (Paul Chiasson, The Canadian Press)Brandon Whitaker scoots for a 22-yard gain that set up the Alouettes' first touchdown on Friday (Paul Chiasson, The Canadian Press)

    Someone had to win; fittingly, the basement bowl that was also a showdown for second place in the CFL (L)East, turned on a blown coverage in the fourth quarter.

    The Montreal Alouettes played well enough to beat the Ottawa Redblacks 20-10 in Jonathan Crompton's first start on Friday, getting the late sealing touchdown in the fourth quarter just three plays after Ottawa finally managed its first offensive TD in 42 possessions.

    On the first play of the Als' possession after Ottawa scored with 6:06 left, Crompton found Duron Carter (five receptions for a game-high 127 yards) for a 48-yard gaineer down the right sideline after cornerback Jermaine Robinson had fallen to the Molson Stadium turf. The Als sealed the win on the next play when former Oregon State speedster James Rodgers (brother of NFL running back Jacquizz Rodgers) scored on a 17-yard run. That made it two games in a row that the Redblacks were burned by a rookie receiver running a fly sweep for a decisive touchdown.

    Montreal

    Read More »from Alouettes outlast Redblacks, with James Rodgers sealing win with first CFL touchdown
  • CIS football kicks off this weekend; 5 stories to follow in 2014

    Western University Mustangs quarterback Will Finch, right, hands off the ball to teammate Yannick Harou during first half CIS Mitchell Bowl football action against the University of Calgary Dinos in Calgary, Saturday, Nov. 16, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntoshWestern University Mustangs quarterback Will Finch, right, hands off the ball to teammate Yannick Harou during first half CIS Mitchell Bowl football action against the University of Calgary Dinos in Calgary, Saturday, Nov. 16, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

    Neither poor media coverage, the specter of the Vanier Cup becoming yet another Laval-a-palooza or serious questions about competitive balance can douse enthusiasm for the start of CIS football season.

    University football cannot be spelled without f-u-n for a reason. To the initiated who make time amid the NFL, NCAA and CFL seasons, the university game offers its own cast of characters. No one likes Laval, but they do respect how the Quebec City colossus has titled the playing field.    

    With the season getting underway on Monday with five games in Ontario, here's an idea of what to look for.

    Greg Marshall and the Western Mustangs look for their white whale — Quarterback Will Finch has been hailed as the best passer in the country after throwing for an OUA-record 3,047 yards; both he and much of the Mustangs' skill-position talent will still have a couple years together. Marshall arguably has a Western team that looms over the rest of the province just as much as his early-2000s

    Read More »from CIS football kicks off this weekend; 5 stories to follow in 2014
  • Travis Konecny ready for his close-up: the coast-to-coast

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

    WHL

    Loves me some comparisons between 16-year-old standout Tyler Benson and former Vancouver Giants stars. (Vancouver Province)

    Matthew Gourlie seems less than enamoured with the new league policy of dry-scraping the ice before regular-season overtime now that he has seen it in action: "It took nearly 12 minutes to do the dry scrape — two-thirds of a normal intermission — and they played 34 seconds of overtime." (Moose Jaw Times-Herald)

    Stray observation: the Regina Pats will have seven preseason games? Overkill much? Oh, and Sam Steel had four points in the first one. (Regina Leader-Post)

    Everett has signed its top bantam draft selection Jantzen Leslie, who certainly has a WHL name. (Everett Herald)

    The Swift Current Broncos are bundling a fan bus to a preseason game with a winery tour. The tippling comes before watching the team play. (Southwest Booster)

    OHL

    Ottawa 67's centre Travis Konecny is one of two 17-year-olds in the league being followed by a documentary crew for a feature called, most imaginatively, Draft Year. Who would be the other player? (Ottawa Sun)

    Could Friday be the last practice that Calgary Flames first-rounder Sam Bennett has with the Kingston Frontenacs? (Kingston Whig-Standard)

    Read More »from Travis Konecny ready for his close-up: the coast-to-coast
  • Tennant (left) is one of the top interior line prospects for the 2015 Canadian college draft (Jacques Boissinot, The Canadian Press)

    Well, that is why kicking is best left to the kicker, or if he's unavailable, the third-string quarterback who dabbled in it back in high school. The Laval Rouge et Or have put their names in the Canadian university football record books, but last week the perennial juggernaut's best down lineman, defensive tackle Brandon Tennant, added his name to the annals of strange injuries.

    The 6-foot-2, 309-pound Montrealer who's considered one of the top CFL draft prospects in Canadian Interuniversity Sport was dismissed from practice for being too late for coach Glen Constantin's licking. Tennant took out his frustration on an inanimate object, broke a toe and is now out for a month, which is nearly half of Laval's regular season.

    "I hit a garbage can with my foot and the garbage can won," Tennant said, according to Le Journal de Montreal. "It was not my smartest move. At first we thought it was only a bruise, but it is more serious."

    Read More »from CFL draft prospect Brandon Tennant breaks toe kicking garbage can, will miss nearly half of Laval Rouge et Or’s season
  • Remparts have a shake-up: the coast-to-coast

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

    WHL

    Why yes, Saskatoon Blades hopeful Parker Smyth is former NHLer Ryan Smyth's nephew. (Saskatoon StarPhoenix)

    Lethbridge's goalie of the future, Stuart Skinner, spent the entire summer in Toronto on the Gary Roberts training program. Whatever it takes, man. And how about that Jordy Bellerive? (Lethbridge Herald, Global News)

    Slovak forward Kristian Fertelak has signed in Victoria: "I play the Canadian style." (Victoria Times-Colonist)

    Dallas Stars second-rounder Brett Pollock will have to pick up the slack in Edmonton if Curtis Lazar makes the Ottawa Senators. (Edmonton Journal)

    Can hard-luck kid Ty Schultz finally crack Medicine Hat's lineup? (Medicine Hat News)

    There is a backup goalie battle brewing in Calgary. (Calgary Sun)

    To honour the late Ethan Williams, the Moose Jaw Warriors gave the gate receipts from their intersquad game to a suicide prevention charity. (Moose Jaw Times-Herald)

    Seven major junior players have bee named to USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game. (JuniorHockey.com)

    OHL

    Peterborough Petes left wing Nick Ritchie could stay with the Anaheim Ducks for nine games in the fall, writes Allan Muir. (SI.com)

    Niagara coach-GM Marty Williamson, on the decision to move Logan Brown to the Windsor Spitfires: "We felt he would probably start on our fourth line and try and work his way up and the agent said that was basically unacceptable. There was another team that had him projected to get more ice time." (St. Catharines Standard)

    Undrafted Kitchener Rangers 25-goal scorer Darby Llewellyn has a rookie camp invite from the Detroit Red Wings.

    Meantime, since they've had trouble scoring for two seasons, the Rangers improved the scoreboard. (Waterloo Record)

    So Sonny Milano signed in Plymouth but hasn't started contract negotiations with the Columbus Blue Jackets. (NHL.com)

    Read More »from Remparts have a shake-up: the coast-to-coast
  • Patterson was London's backup at the past two Memorial Cup tournaments (Aaron Bell, OHL Images)

    Chances are that, if Jake Patterson had toiled for an off-the-beaten path team instead a flagship franchise such as the London Knights, his choice not to subject himself to the vagaries of the market for overage goalies might have escaped notice.

    However, the 20-year-old Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., native, did play for London, he apparently did decide not to play and it does fall under a discomfiting pattern. That makes it worthwhile to talk about it. At the start of each season, there is a trickle of major junior players who "caught up in the 20-year-old game and its uncertainties, with each team being allowed to keep only three of them." It seems to apply especially to goaltenders, since the prevailing rule of thumb is that a 20-year-old goalie has to be a drop-dead No. 1 (or someone who can play until he drops).

    It's just worth wondering why it has to be that way. It's well-known that goalies mature later than defenceman and forwards, yet they still fall under the same overage rule instead of being exempt.

    Read More »from London Knights’ Jake Patterson retiring at 20 a reminder CHL pushes goalies through the system too quickly

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