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Sharks view rest between rounds as a positive

By Dave Lozo - NHL.com Staff Writer

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Sharks view rest between rounds as a positive
The Stanley Cup Playoffs get to be a grueling journey the deeper you go, so the San Jose Sharks are happy to have a few days off -- and potentially even more -- as they wait to discover who their opponent will be in the Western Conference Finals.
SAN JOSE -- No one is going to complain about a little extra rest in the middle of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The San Jose Sharks are proof of that.

After dispatching the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday night, the Sharks enjoyed what was basically a second day off in a row Monday, showing up at their practice facility for just a team meeting and workouts. They won't return to the ice as a team until Tuesday, and could be staring at 6-8 days off before the Western Conference Finals.

A week can seem like an eternity in the playoffs and can be just as helpful as it can be harmful. Is there such a thing as too much rest?

"I think some people can look at rest as a bad thing, as far as not being prepared for the next game, but I'm all for it," defenseman Dan Boyle said. "I think it's important down the stretch. These games of hockey are tough. I think rest is important."

"It's a fine line that we walk right now," coach Todd McLellan said. "We'll err on the rest side yesterday and today. Tomorrow we'll get back to work. When we do practice again, we won't know who our opponent is, so we'll spend a lot of time just on our game, not worrying about other teams' tendencies."

The reason for the long layoff and unknown opponent is because the Western Conference Semifinal between the Blackhawks and Canucks will see a sixth game Tuesday night. Chicago had a chance to win the series Sunday, but Vancouver's 4-1 victory extended the series another two days. If the Canucks can force a Game 7, the West Final might not start until Sunday.

As far as the Sharks are concerned, they're in no rush for that series to end.

"I'm just hoping they go to seven games, beat each other up, and we'll take the winner," Boyle said.

"Triple overtime every night would be ideal," McLellan said, "but I don't know if that's going to happen."

You'll have to pardon the Sharks if they aren't worried about a drop in the level of play that has won them seven of their last eight playoff games. After taking out the Colorado Avalanche in six games in the first round, the Sharks had to wait four days before the start of their series against Detroit.

The Sharks were sharp in jumping to a 3-0 series against the Red Wings, the two-time defending Western Conference champions who were the bane of San Jose's existence for years.

No one who talked to reporters Monday showed a hint of panic about this unplanned vacation from the playoffs.

"We're a confident group in here right now," Devin Setoguchi said. "We just knocked off a really good hockey club. We're riding a pretty good confidence level. Obviously we know the next step is going to be a lot tougher than it was against Detroit."

The only line tougher to straddle than the one between rest and rust is the one between confidence and arrogance.

"Confidence is real important. Arrogance is a death wish," McLellan said. "You cannot cross the line. We've earned the right to feel good about ourselves. We've earned the right to feel confident in the game that we're playing, but as soon as it crosses the line you're in deep trouble. That's the responsibility of us as coaches and the leaders in the locker room, and I feel real good about the locker room right now. The guys are doing and saying the right things. So I don't believe we'll cross that line."

Whether it's rest or rust, arrogance or confidence, or playing Vancouver or Chicago, leave it to Sharks captain Rob Blake to put this time off into perspective.

"I don't think we really concern ourselves too much with that," Blake said. "I think we're more relieved we beat Detroit and didn't have to fly out yesterday."

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DLozoNHL


Quote of the Day

I just think about how much it hurts. The feelings aren't going to go away, probably never. It's just something that sticks with you for a long time.

— San Jose forward Logan Couture to The Canadian Press on the Sharks' first-round loss to the Kings after taking a 3-0 series lead