Oates: Wilson has ‘conquered junior’ so won’t represent Canada

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Tom Wilson rarely plays more than 10 minutes in a single Washington Capitals game, but according to head coach Adam Oates, the big 19-year-old forward has nothing to gain from representing Canada at the upcoming World Juniors.

“For me, Willie’s an NHL player,” Oates said. “He’s conquered junior. Nothing against that tournament at all, [but] I think he’s moved past it.”

Wilson, not surprisingly, echoed his coach’s thoughts.

“It’s obviously a dream to play for your country but my priority is here in Washington,” Wilson said. “I think [the Capitals] had in mind what they wanted. I’m not really going to dwell on it.

“I’m wishing those guys the best and it’s going to be a great tournament, but I’m happy to be here.”

Wilson was drafted 16th overall by the Caps in 2012. He spent last season with the OHL’s Plymouth Whalers, for whom he scored 58 points in 48 games.

But one thing he never got to do was play for Canada at the World Juniors; he was one of the last cuts from the 2013 team that finished a disappointing fourth in Russia.

“After I was cut, so many [NHL] alumni were tweeting at me saying, ‘Hey, listen. I got cut back in the day two or three times,'” Wilson said.

“That was a goal of mine when I got cut — to make them kind of almost want me that much more this year and not have me available and beg for me. There was a lot of motivation to do that.”

Related:

Wild’s Dumba lone NHLer named to Canada’s World Junior camp

Oates doesn’t think NHLers belong in Olympics

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.