|Senators defenceman Tom Preissing says too much time off during the playoffs could be a double-edged sword.|
by Todd Anderson
After a week of rest the Ottawa Senators will finally be back on the ice for game action when they visit the New Jersey Devils on Thursday at 7 p.m. to start the Eastern Conference semifinals.
The series resumes for Game 2 on Saturday at 8 p.m. and will return to Ottawa for Games 3 and 4 on Monday, April 30, at 7 p.m. and Wednesday, May 2, at 7 p.m. If necessary, Game 5 will be in New Jersey on Saturday, May 5, at 8 p.m., Game 6 will be in Ottawa on Monday, May 7, at 7 p.m. and Game 7 will be in New Jersey on Wednesday, May 9, at 7 p.m.
When the series kicks off on Thursday, it will be a full week between games for the Senators, who knocked off the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-1 in Round 1. They're looking forward to getting back into action.
"It's been trying. We're anxious to go," captain Daniel Alfredsson says. "Practice is kind of boring for us right now. This time of year you don't want to practise. You want to play games. I can't wait until Thursday."
Senators defenceman Tom Preissing, who skated in 11 playoff games in each of the last two seasons with the San Jose Sharks, says there are a couple of ways to look at the extra rest.
"When you have this much time off, it's a double-edged sword," Preissing says. "You like to have that kind of break and at some point in the playoffs you need that kind of break, but it's hard to not play for a week."
After eliminating Pittsburgh last Thursday, the Senators were given the next two days off. The coaching staff has improvised to keep the players attentive since daily practices resumed last Sunday.
"Their job is to do drills with little tweaks and keep our interest peaked throughout," Preissing says. "We're pretty antsy. It's probably tough for them, too."
Head coach Bryan Murray agrees he and his staff are just as anxious as the players.
"I wish we were playing tonight," Murray said this morning. "I think the guys are tired of me. I think they're ready to play, but we have no choice."
Murray says practice tomorrow will last 35 to 40 minutes, and he will give the players the option of skating on Thursday morning.