Despite what Alain Vigneault said to the contrary, it was not ideal for his Canucks to begin round 2 of the Stanley Cup playoffs less than 48 hours after they had closed out round 1. Though they showed no signs of fatigue in the opening game of the series, they were listless in game 2, after which Vigneault all but admitted that his team may have relished some time off after all. Heading into the two-day break before game three, he conceded, “the series against Chicago was physical and emotional and we’ll be able to re-charge our batteries and get going here.” In other words: so tired.
In the postseason, the choice between rest and no rest will always be rest. It’s the greatest intangible in the playoffs, where injuries and fatigue are played through, undisclosed, and accrued with regularity.
Consider the Canucks and their many secret boo-boos: Sami Salo’s out with something. Henrik Sedin is clearly bothered by something. Mikael Samuelsson is playing through something. Tanner Glass hasn’t been the same since late in the regular season, when he was in and out of the lineup with bruised ribs that likely haven’t healed. Jannik Hansen’s chippy play has been somewhat unnoticeable lately, which is unlike him. Alex Edler’s strong return from back surgery has suspiciously tailed off. There’s no way in Hell Ryan Kesler isn’t marked up beyond all reason.
Likely, all the other remaining teams have similar aches and pains, but only Vancouver runs the risk of being without time to recuperate, especially after last night’s results.
Tampa Bay closed out Washington in four games. Boston took a 3-0 strangehold on Philadelphia. San Jose did the same to Detroit. Even if the Canucks win game 4 tonight, Friday night sweeps for the Bruins and Sharks would mean Vancouver-Nashville could be the only unfinished series by the time the puck drops for game 5 Saturday.
No one — save the Tampa Bay, San Jose and Boston organizations — wants that. Not the Canucks, who now run the risk of being the only team to begin the Western Conference final (if indeed they make it there) without a smattering of day’s off, and not the NHL, who would be without an NBC game this weekend. This will likely make the league somewhat eager to begin the next round, meaning the Eastern Conference final could begin before the Canucks are done with their semifinal. If that happens, the Canucks may be looking at another unreasonably short turnaround in order for the West to keep pace.
Tags: Canucks, injury, Predators, rest
Dirk Hoag Marc Torrence of Predator blog On the Forecheck is calling Game 4 one bar short of a must win for Nashville, but it’s just as important to Vancouver, who now, more than ever, need to get this series finished as soon as possible.