BOSTON –- With the Bruins and Penguins in a holding pattern until the end of the week as the Western Conference playoff series sorts itself out, the Black and Gold are getting some well-deserved rest.
Perhaps most importantly, Boston’s three banged-up veteran defensemen -- Dennis Seidenberg, Wade Redden and Andrew Ference -- are getting extra time to heal with Game 1 set to start on either Thursday or Friday in Pittsburgh.
It's also a chance for the Bruins to exhale after a frantic last three months. The B's ended a stretch of 45 games played in 85 days with their Game 5 victory over the New York Rangers last weekend.
It seemed as though the further they distanced themselves from the regular season's grueling schedule, the stronger they became.
“The rest is obviously important. We’ve been through a grueling schedule there for quite a while. To have that opportunity is good,” said coach Claude Julien. “We’ll still have lots of time to practice, but this time of year rest is extremely important. Everybody needs the rest, I guess. It’s good for the whole team.”
The team was off for both Sunday and Monday, aside from Andrew Ference, Wade Redden and Jaromir Jagr, who all skated on the Garden ice on the morning of Memorial Day.
They will get back to practice on Tuesday morning at Ristuccia Arena, which should give them ample time to ramp up again for the Eastern Conference Finals. The schedule also puts both Boston and Pittsburgh in a place where the rest/rust balance is the same for both hockey clubs.
One of the main beneficiaries of the rest will undoubtedly be Zdeno Chara, who had to do yeoman’s work in the five games against the Rangers with Seidenberg, Ference and Redden missing for most of the series. Chara was averaging an amazing 29:12 in the 12 Stanley Cup playoff games for the Black and Gold, and he topped 30 minutes of ice time twice in the series.