In a playoff series where one of the story lines is that St. Louis Blues coach Mike Yeo and assistant Rick Wilson are going against their former team in the Wild, another is that two of the most identifiable New Jersey Devils in history are coaching against each other for different franchises.
Hall of Fame defenseman Scott Stevens is Bruce Boudreau's chief lieutenant and Hall of Fame goalie Martin Brodeur, one of St. Louis' assistant GMs, is the Blues' interim goalie coach.
Brodeur is the Devils' all-time leader with 1,259 games, 688 wins, a 2.24 goals-against average and 124 shutouts. Stevens ranks fourth in Devils' lore with 956 games, fifth with 337 assists, ninth with 430 points, fourth with 1,007 penalty minutes and first with a plus-282.
"The funniest thing, we're at the draft in Buffalo last year, me and Scotty — you know, Scotty had just got the job here — are having breakfast and [longtime Devils GM and now Toronto Maple Leafs GM Lou [Lamoriello] walks by, so of course he comes and sits down," Brodeur said, laughing. "We're sitting there, and it dawns on me, Lou's in Toronto, Scotty's in Minnesota, I'm in St. Louis.
"It's like, 'You think years ago we would have thought this was going to really happen?' Crazy things happen sometimes. Everybody's kind of gone their own way, but we always have the Devils at heart because of what we accomplished there."
Stevens said it is odd going head-to-head against Brodeur in a playoff series for two different organizations.
"You spend so many years playing with him and won [three Stanley Cup] championships and had a lot of special years, so it is a bit awkward," Stevens said. "But he's doing something he loves staying in the game — and trust me, me too."
Playing the game
Before addressing the media Friday morning, Boudreau grabbed NHL series manager Kay Whitmore to address a couple of minor concerns about the officiating in Game 1.
The series manager's multifaceted role is to be the liaison between the coaches/general managers and the officials, as well as work the video goal judge room in concert with the NHL Situation Room in Toronto.
Whitmore, an NHL executive largely responsible for approving goalie equipment and working the Toronto war room, is assigned to the entire Wild-Blues series, while six former referees and another league executive are assigned to the seven others.
"It's just trying to manage the situation," Boudreau said. "We'll say something if we lose for the most part. Then when they lose, they'll say something. It becomes a game almost. They're here to overlook the game. And hopefully when they go in and they evaluate the referees, the referees take notice."
Boudreau called the Game 1 officiating "adequate."
"There's a couple little tweaks that I asked them to look at," Boudreau said. "One of the questions is: What are they going to call on face-off interference? What are their standards so we know what the standards are and we can abide by it?"
Looking for more physicality after the Wild had a franchise-record 52 shots in Game 1, Yeo dressed rugged defenseman Robert Bortuzzo, who missed the last five regular-season games with an injury, in Game 2 Friday night.
"We believe there's many parts of our game where we could be a little bit firmer, and that's both with and without the puck," Yeo said. "So we're not all the sudden going to start running around like a bunch of idiots out there. We have a structure that we need to make sure we stay in … but we just have to get a little bit firmer in that game."
Blues defenseman Carl Gunnarsson said, "We could probably be a little more dirty, nasty, a bit more angry out there."
Added defenseman Joel Edmundson, "Even though he just came off injury, he'll still lay some guys out."
Blues rookie forward Zach Sanford also will make his playoff debut, replacing Jori Lehtera.
•Boudreau, once fired by George McPhee as the Washington Capitals coach, endorsed McPhee's hire of Gerard Gallant as the first coach in expansion Vegas' history. Of course, it included a Boudreau mic drop. "It was a great hire. But I think George makes a lot of good decisions," Boudreau said, before grinning, "except for one or two times."
•Edmundson was bombarded with texts after his Game 1 overtime winner. "[Former teammate Kevin Shattenkirk] texted me," Edmundson said. "He always talks about the offhand one-timer. He kept telling me not to do it. So he said, 'What did I tell you about that offhand one-T?' I guess it worked this time."
•It's expected that after playing for Iowa on Friday night, Alex Stalock will be recalled to serve as third goalie for the rest of the postseason.
•Boston University's Jordan Greenway, a Wild prospect, will play for the United States in the world championships. Luke Kunin might join once Iowa's season ends this weekend.