Game 6 between the Colorado Avalanche and Minnesota Wild ended with angst, pushing and shoving. It also ended with in a Wild victory, which pushes the series to the ever-entertaining Game 7 on Wednesday in Denver.
Meanwhile, back in our fair Second City, the Chicago Blackhawks are waiting. More importantly, they’re resting. Considering the physical, draining and competitive series off which they’ve just come, that’s a good thing.
The Blackhawks will be watching with the rest of us on Wednesday night when the Avs and Wild settle their differences and series. They took Monday and Tuesday off, healing the bumps and bruises and clearing the mind for a bit. Following their elimination of the Blues on Sunday, players were fine with the break.
“That was a physical series,” said Bryan Bickell, who was credited with 35 hits in those six first-round games. “Hat’s off to them; they threw everything they could to get us off our game and get separation. But for us to capitalize on the little things, to get our rest now and see who (our opponent) is going to be, it’s crucial to get rest now.”
It’s also not necessarily about healing any aches and pains. Four of the Blackhawks-Blues games went to overtime, including the Game 1, which went to triple OT. That’s a lot of hockey for a six-game series, so this provides a chance to rest the lungs and legs.
“At the end of the day, I think it’s always nice to get some rest, just be smart and know that every series is different,” Duncan Keith said. “We certainly feel confident right now, but no matter what happens, if we get a few days off here, we’re going to have to use it to our advantage and be ready to play as soon as puck drops next time.”
Ah, about preparing for the next time. There’s no way of simulating a playoff game, obviously, so the Blackhawks will try to bring the right amount of energy when they resume practice on Wednesday.
“We’ll need a couple practices there to keep that pace going,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “This group here, they’d rather just play. But after this series, there’s nothing wrong with taking a few days off to enjoy it. At the same time, let’s be excited about where we’re at.”
Yes, you wonder about potential rust with so many days in between games. Hey, you worry about what you can control, and you can’t do much about the length of your potential opponents’ first-round series. The Blackhawks will just do their best to make sure they’re ready for whomever they face.
“It’s really good to get some rest. It’s always nice to get a little in the playoffs,” Corey Crawford said. “But I’m sure we’re going to be eager to start the next one.”