Welcome to the Wednesday edition of The Cooler, where this winter has a lot of us on edge, man. Let’s get to it:
*Iowa men’s basketball coach Fran McCaffery, whose temper tends to boil over and plays right into his “very angry high school principal from a 1980s movie” appearance, was reportedly extra angry Tuesday in the aftermath of a 90-70 loss at Ohio State.
After a game in which both McCaffery and his son Connor, an Iowa guard, were assessed technical fouls, the head coach — according to the Toledo Blade — followed a referee down a hallway at Ohio State’s Value City Arena and shouted profanities at him.
One of the utterances included the word “cheating” and a compound expletive of the worst kind.
When asked about the incident postgame, McCaffery simply said, “Can’t talk about that,” according to the newspaper.
Iowa is still firmly in the NCAA tourney picture, but a 20-point loss to the Buckeyes won’t help its seeding on Selection Sunday.
*Ryan Donato had two more assists for the Wild in its impressive 3-2 comeback win over Winnipeg, including a nice power play setup to Jason Zucker in the slot for the tying goal with 1:27 left in regulation.
Donato has six points in four games with the Wild. Perhaps more impressively: he has not been on the ice for any goals by Wild opponents in those four games, and Minnesota has won all four.
It’s a small sample size, but Donato’s puck possession metrics are quite good — as they have been throughout his short NHL career — and it’s interesting to see how the Wild has deployed him differently than the Bruins did.
Boston almost always put Donato on the ice for offensive zone starts (75 percent of the time this year), while the Wild has been closer to 50/50 with offensive/defensive zone starts (with a little less, 47.2 percent, actually coming in the offensive zone).
That might be a better way to utilize Donato’s speed, since if his line can gain possession in a defensive zone start, a good breakout could lead to open ice and a line rush.
*The Vikings picked up the option on Mike Zimmer’s contract, extending him through 2020 and putting to rest at least any lame duck status entering this season.
To celebrate the occasion, Vikings GM Rick Spielman made some word soup down at the combine.
“I don’t think, from our ownership through our entire organization, that we don’t believe in Coach Zimmer, and that he is the right head coach for us going forward,” Spielman said.
I … I … think that’s a good thing?