Wild’s Yeo meets with NBA coach for shortened season advice

On Monday, Minnesota Wild head coach Mike Yeo dropped in on a Timberwolves practice to pick the brain of head coach Rick Adelman.

Why? He wanted to learn more about running a shortened training camp — and there’s no better person to ask than Adleman, a veteran of two NBA lockouts.

Here’s more, from the Minnesota Star-Tribune:

[Yeo] chatted with Rick Adelman for about 20 minutes after practice, picking his brain on, among other topics, how to plan and prepare a team to play a condensed, lockout-shortened season.

Adelman has done it twice, most recently with last season’s 66-game sked.

Yeo will get his chance, if the NHL and its players pull their heads out and reach a new labor deal before it gets too late.

Yeo called Adelman’s advice “helpful and insightful.”

“The chance to speak to a person like that with experience and his success, it’s great for a coach like me,” Yeo said.

Last season, NBA training camps opened on Dec. 9 and the regular season started on Dec. 25.

As for the preseason, teams played two exhibition games — between Dec. 16-22 — giving coaches and players roughly two weeks to prepare for the regular season.

As mentioned above, Adleman’s gone through this twice. He was coaching the Sacramento Kings during the 1998-99 NBA season, which was limited to 50 contests (and a similarly condensed exhibition campaign.)

It’ll be interesting to see if other NHL coaches follow Yeo’s lead, because few have experience with the shortened season.

Just one active bench boss was a head coach in 1994-95 (LA’s Darryl Sutter was in Chicago) — meanwhile, the likes of Adam Oates, Dan Bylsma and Kevin Dineen were still playing during that time.

Video: Rick Nash scores 20th goal in sprawling style

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Rick Nash has his critics stemming from his playoff struggles in the past, but for those who support him, moments like these are satisfying.

Why? Because you’d be absurd to discredit how hard he tries when Nash scores goals like he did for the New York Rangers against the New York Islanders on Wednesday.

Nash went all-out for his 20th goal of the season, sprawling after scoring against Thomas Greiss. It’s quite a sight, and Getty Images really was on top of that one.

via Getty Images

The Rangers may need more from him tonight, however, as the Islanders just went up 3-2. Watch the remainder of the contest on NBCSN.

Leafs pass Bruins for third in Atlantic after gutsy win against Columbus

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It wasn’t pretty – especially if you’re disgusted by that Roman Polak hit – but the Toronto Maple Leafs keep generating big wins as a playoff return looks increasingly likely.

Toronto managed a 5-2 win against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Wednesday, passing the Boston Bruins for third place in the Atlantic Division:

Maple Leafs: 83 points in 72 games
Bruins: 82 points in 73 games

This leaves the currently in-action New York Islanders four points behind the Bruins for the final wild card in the East.

The Maple Leafs aren’t just grabbing key points; they’re doing so against some strong opponents who’ve had plenty on the line, too. They beat a Metro contender in Columbus tonight, the Bruins on Monday, grabbed an OT point against Chicago on Saturday and handled the desperate Lightning last Thursday.

This game was all about William Nylander‘s brilliant start:

And also Toronto surviving a long penalty kill after that Polak hit:

Nazem Kadri‘s 30th goal really put the game out of reach, helping Toronto nab a significant victory.

The Blue Jackets can wallow in this defeat and Oliver Bjorkstrand‘s injury, either, as they turn around to face the Washington Capitals in a big one tomorrow.

Tortorella was irate after Roman Polak boarded Oliver Bjorkstrand

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John Tortorella was left enraged after Roman Polak delivered a dangerous boarding hit on Oliver Bjorkstrand, and he probably wasn’t too pleased after the Columbus Blue Jackets failed to make Toronto pay for Polak’s misdeeds.

Polak received a game misconduct and boarding major for the hit, but the Blue Jackets failed to score on a lengthy power play. Tortorella played to script, as cameras caught him expressing his anger at the situation.

First, take a look at the hit:

Next, behold Tortorella’s anger:

Again, Columbus couldn’t capitalize on its opportunities, so that didn’t make things any better.

Right now, the Maple Leafs lead the Blue Jackets 3-2. If Toronto ends up winning, this will stand as one of the game’s pivotal moments.

It’s far from the only exciting moment, however, with these goals and big hits also standing out.

Video: Josh Ho-Sang’s creativity gives Islanders a shot in the arm

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Honestly, after 10 games, the question shouldn’t be “can Josh Ho-Sang stick with the Islanders full-time?” Instead, the feeling is … what took so long for him to get this chance?

For all the grumbling about Ho-Sang sporting number 66, he’s provided serious bursts of brilliance and creativity for the Islanders, whether he’s been supporting or even setting up John Tavares.

The video above is some really good stuff, as it walks through his confident comments – and undeniable uncertainty – during the night he was drafted, all the way through him getting his chance with the Isles this season. Some of the best stuff comes from Doug Weight, who raves that Ho-Sang is a “five out of five” from an offensive standpoint.