Bruins in a relaxed frame on the way to Cup final
Photo courtesy NHLI via Getty Images
Rest, or rust?
Is it best, or bust?
The Eastern Conference champion Boston Bruins will let us in on the answer to those questions when the Stanley Cup final finally gets underway sometime in the near future.
(That sometime was finally determined this past week as being May 27th.)
So, having studied mathematics extensively in grade school and high school, I can tell you this: By the time the puck drops on that May 27th, the Bruins will have been away from playoff competition for a total of 11 days.
Eleven days is one helluva holiday. (In case you missed it, Boston put the Carolina Hurricanes on permanent vacation with their series-sweep clincher back on May 16th).
If you buy into the theory that too much time off is detrimental, you might sell that idea on the basis of Boston’s goalie, Tuukka Rask.
Rask is a Conn Smythe favourite at this point, and let’s face it, he was the main reason the Bruins buried the Hurricanes, night after night. He also outplayed Toronto stopper Freddy Andersen in Round 1 and was excellent against Columbus.
He’s rolling right now and when you’re this hot as a keeper, you want to get out there as frequently as possible.
Eleven days between games is not ‘frequent.’
If your thinking ‘rests’ on the other side of the ledger – rest at this point being beneficial – there likely wouldn’t be a debate coming from the likes of Zeno Chara, Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron, Torey Krug and David Krejci (and you might not get one from Rask either).
The B’s went through a tough seven-game set with Toronto then faced the surprising Columbus Blue Jackets.
The sweep versus Carolina was the right tonic for a club that relies heavily on its veterans (Chara, Bergeron et all).
Either for, or against, rest, here’s how the coach sees it.
“We have a plan of how we’re going to go through the week balancing practice with days off,” Boston head coach Bruce Cassidy told Masslive.com. “We’re going to meet with the veteran guys. We’ve talked about scrimmaging. Will we do it at night? Prepare like a game. We’ll talk to some people outside the organization. I won’t get too specific with that.”
What is undeniable is that Big Zee can use the time off.
The former Senator (hey, remember when Ottawa fan?) was/is ailing and the extra time off increases his chances of playing in the final.
"We have a lot of time to make the absolute right decision to give him the proper time to get over something that's been nagging him. And we'll cross our fingers that will be the case. But we're confident it will be," Bruins general manager Don Sweeney said to NHL.com this past weekend.
"I'm not living in how or where (Chara) feels. I expect he'll be fine," Sweeney added. "But I'm not going to sit here and make a proclamation in terms of promises. I do believe that time will be used effectively, and he'll be fine. But sometimes those are out of your control."
One thing retains its certainty and that’s that this corner continues to predict another Stanley Cup trophy for the Boston Bruins . . . rust or rest regardless.
NEWS, NOTES AND NOTIONS: Much has been said and written about the rise of San Jose’s Logan Couture in these playoffs. Ottawa junior hockey followers have understood his character and fortitude for a long time. Back in 2006, Couture was battling mono and yet still managed to play in the 67’s first five games that year. He missed the next 10 before returning. “Just looking at having him back in the room, everybody knows how good he can be for us,” 67’s coach and GM Brian Kilrea told the Ottawa Sun. “We’re getting our penalty killing back and when you put him on the power play, you know the puck is going to find him.” . . . You might not be a fan but I’m sure you’d love him on your team. And plenty of teams had their chance. Brad Marchand wasn’t drafted by the Bruins until pick No. 71 in the 2006 draft. If you’re wondering, the Senators picked Nick Foligno (28th overall) and Erik Gryba (68th) ahead of Marchand . . . The Leafs selected Jiri Tlusty (13th) and Nikolai Kulemin (44th) that year . . . Montreal drafted David Fischer (not of Six Feet Under fame, 20th), Ben Maxwell (49th), Matt Carle (53rd) then Ryan White (66th) instead of Marchand . . . You could make the argument that Marchand was a lot better than the first overall pick – Erik Johnson by the Blues – and guess what? You’d win that argument.