As the Boston Bruins finished off their season on Sunday against the New Jersey Devils, many speculated the team would fly back to Boston and prepare for their first round match up against the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday. Well, guess again.The B’s were informed they would be hosting the Red Wings on Friday night leaving even more time for their team to heal up and get some rest.
Daniel Paille suffered a tough blow in the home season finale against Buffalo that has left him questionable for Game 1, but with the veteran forward almost having a week to recover with no concussion symptoms, it may be for the best. Also, as the team set out to practice on Tuesday, a number of players were held out due to a sickness going around the Bruins dressing room. Patrice Bergeron, Loui Eriksson, Chris Kelly, Daniel Paille, Matt Bartkowski, Kevan Miller and Andrej Meszaros all missed practice with the flu.
Right now the Bruins need all the rest they can get and playing on Friday doesn’t hurt them. It can only help them. Tuukka Rask understands what the team is going through and doesn’t mind the Friday start time.
“I don’t think it’s going to hurt,” Rask said after practice on Tuesday. “You know, it’s good to get a couple days of practices in and be ready to play.”
We saw what rest did for the B’s during the regular season and after the Olympic break where they rattled off 12 straight victories to run away with the Atlantic Division, and eventually the Eastern Conference. Players like Zdeno Chara, Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci and Loui Eriksson can afford to rest a little more as they participated in Sochi while Jarome Iginla thinks he can benefit from a few extra days off.
When asked if this is the freshest he’s felt with the Olympic break and another week layoff heading into the playoffs Iginla nodded his head in approval.
“That’s fair to say,” said the 36-year old veteran. “I think last year was more with moving and the emotions, but it was exciting. Also, last year was a condensed season and the push down the stretch, like I said moving and trying to get accustomed to the new team and that’s what players go through, but it’s nice to not have to go through that this year. It’s nice to be settled and I keep saying it, playoffs didn’t go that bad last year until the last series. But like I said, it’s very nice to take that extra day to get completely healthy or whatever, I can’t wait.”
That being said, Adam McQuaid and Dennis Seidenberg are still working hard to try and make it back later on in the playoffs. The further the B’s go, the better chance one or maybe both of these guys come back although Peter Chiarelli said at his press conference Monday morning the team isn’t counting on Seidenberg to be back.
The B’s essentially went start to finish as the best team in hockey. They had back-to-backs, the Olympic break, four games in seven nights in different cities while they also had four days off in between games a few times. Nothing seemed to slow them down.
The days off before Friday’s tilt with the Red Wings definitely benefits the Bruins as players overcome sicknesses and little bumps and bruises in order to be 100 percent as they chase the best trophy in sports – Lord’s Stanley Cup.