Josh Ho-Sang has had coaches that have helped teach him the defensive side of the game. Coaches like Bridgeport Sound Tigers Coach Brent Thompson preach play away from the puck, but a new face on the New York Islanders coaching staff can help Ho-Sang when he has it.
That's Scott Gomez, who Doug Weight brought onto his staff on May 30. Gomez scored 756 points (181G, 575A) in his 1,079 game career, and knows a thing or two about distributing the puck.
"I think a guy like Scotty who played with so much vision and so much grit and enthusiasm and he brings that enthusiasm to the ice," Ho-Sang said of Gomez. "I love to pass and so did he and so I think something he's working on with me and Matt, obviously scoring goals is just as important as passing and just ways to incorporate both sides into your game, play away from the puck."
Though early, Gomez and Ho-Sang have had meetings together and were putting in some extra time together during Wednesday's drills, specifically doing some one-on-one work in the corner. The idea is that Gomez and a creative playmaker like Ho-Sang - who had 10 points, but showed tremendous skill and potential in 21 games - can relate to each other and speak the same language on the ice.
Video: New York Islanders open 2017 Mini Camp
"They've hit it off already," Weight said. "They've had a couple meetings about the way to play the game and Scott sees the game at a high level. He has a great mind for the game, he loves the game and he really relates good to the players."
Gomez's resume - including nine 40-assist seasons in 10 years and two Stanley Cups - carries weight with the young Isles winger. Not that - new assistant coach - Luke Richardson's 1,417 games don't, but Gomez can help Ho-Sang - who had 210 assists in 256 junior games - further develop his passing and vision.
"It's really awesome to have two coaches who were elite players in the NHL. Not every team can say that," Ho-Sang said. "He's trying to get me to think the game, not like him, but he's trying to pull me out of some of the habits that I have."
Weight said it feels like a natural fit between Ho-Sang and Gomez and that he'll want the new coach - who played in the league as recently as 2015-16 - to bond with the young players.
"I think it'll be one of his roles will be having relationships with young players, whether it's Matt Barzal, Josh Ho-Sang, Anthony Beauvillier, the list goes on. We have a lot of young talent and I think he'll be integral for that."
Ho-Sang said Gomez has injected some energy onto the ice at Islanders Mini Camp.
"He'll skate by me, give me a rib shot and say smile, just stuff like that," Ho-Sang said. "That's what you need on a coaching staff and that's what you need in the dog days of the season that aren't as fun as when you're on a hot streak. You need a coach like that to pull you out of it and he's one of those guys who cares about players and you can tell that from the couple of days that I've spent with him.
"I don't know how many guys have actually met him, but when they do they are going to love him.