The Fuse: We've Got a Series in the East, Vegas Takes Another Step, and Congrats to the Folignos

By Rob Mixer on May 17, 2017 at 5:30 am
Craig Anderson

Don Wright - USA Today Sports

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Around these parts, we’ll do our best to give you everything you need to know about the Columbus Blue Jackets. We’ll also fill you in on the stories you may not have heard about (or those you didn’t think you need to know about), the social media buzz around the league, along with a few random nuggets for good measure.

Think of it as your morning coffee with a shot of hockey talk.

 EVEN-UP IN THE EAST: Probably the most predictable thing about the Ottawa-Pittsburgh conference final is that it would be a low-scoring series. The Senators live to jam up the neutral zone and make gaining the offensive zone with control one of the world’s most arduous tasks; the Penguins prefer to carry into the zone with speed, make plays, and use their abundance of skill to come at opponents in waves.

So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that we have a 2-1 game and 1-0 game under our belts in the first two dances of the series. And you know what? That’s not the worst thing, but it would be a lot better if the Senators kind of loosened up their neutral zone 1-3-1 structure.

It’s a sloooooooooooooooog to watch them. I mean, yikes. The game slows to a crustacean’s pace and offense is a miracle when you get it. It has to drive the Penguins insane, and that’s fine by Ottawa, but for those watching at home it’s a less-than-favorable matchup.

Senators coach Guy Boucher was asked (for some reason) if Game 2 was hard to watch. He replied that he wasn’t watching it – he was coaching it.

Brilliant.

 VEGAS HAS AN AFFILIATE: Clearly, you all were waiting for this. The Vegas Golden Knights have their first-ever AHL affiliate and it’s the Chicago Wolves, formerly affiliated with the St. Louis Blues.

Things are about to start heating up around the NHL’s 31st club with the expansion draft on the horizon, then the Golden Knights’ first-ever NHL draft the next weekend. As you’ll recall, they were awarded the No. 6 pick in the draft after one of the weirdest draft lotteries in recent memory, with two outside-the-bottom-10 teams (New Jersey and Philadelphia) leaping up into the top two spots.

The Blues announced that they will send players to Chicago (AHL) but that Vegas will be the Wolves’ primary affiliate.

 THEY'VE GOT THE BLUES: Mike Yeo took over for Ken Hitchcock midway through the season and following his first official season as Blues head coach, it appears he’s leaning in to make the coaching staff decisions on his own.

St. Louis fired assistant coaches Rick Wilson, Steve Thomas, Ty Conklin and Ray Bennett on Tuesday afternoon, basically letting everyone go who was brought in by Hitchcock last summer and even prior to that. Yeo was tabbed as the Blues’ “coach in waiting” last summer and scheduled to step in after Hitchcock retired after 2016-17, but the Blues’ underachieving led to his dismissal and Yeo taking over earlier than planned.

It was speculated by Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman that both Craig Berube (former coach of the Philadelphia Flyers and current head coach of the AHL Chicago Wolves) and Darryl Sydor (a former assistant under Yeo in Minnesota) could be candidates to join the Blues coaching staff next season.

The Blues are still without a goalie coach for Jake Allen after announcing Martin Brodeur, their assistant GM, would no longer be lending his expert advice to the club’s goalies and instead focusing on his managerial career.

 CONGRATS, CAPTAIN: Cheers to Blue Jackets captain Nick Foligno and his wife Janelle, who welcomed their third child into the world on Tuesday morning. Son Hudson joins big brother Landon and eldest sister Milana in the Foligno clan. Mom and baby are said to be doing well.

 ICYMI: My guy Jeff Svoboda took an in-depth look at Josh Anderson's rookie season, which was nothing short of impressive ... It was a tough end to the year for Ryan Murray, and his future may be unclear in Columbus ... Our No. 1 moment of the Blue Jackets season? Like we were gonna pick anything other than the 10-goal night against Montreal.

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