Like everyone else in the Bay Area, and the country for that matter, Sunday was a day to celebrate Mother’s Day and to enjoy family time. Thanks to their quick finish of the Detroit Red Wings in five hard-fought games, the Sharks earned that right as well.
“Mother’s Day was good, better than jumping on a plane,” said Captain Rob Blake. “It was a good day off yesterday. An early wake up with the kids and whatever they wanted during the day. I had to give my wife a little bit of a break. We took in an Iron Man movie. It was good. I had a little nap halfway through, but other than that it was good. The kids enjoyed it.”
“I just sat at home,” said Devin Setoguchi. “It was Mother’s Day so I spent it with my mom. It was more of a rest day and just relaxing.”
“It was Mother’s Day,” said Sharks Head Coach Todd McLellan. “Grandma was in town, mum was there, so it was a real special day to have the whole family together. It was early to bed for everybody. I think we’re all drained right now and the lights were out very early. Back to school and back to the real world today.”
McLellan coached in four rounds with Detroit two years ago, so he knows the balance of rest and keeping the team groove going.
“It’s a fine line that we walk right now,” said McLellan. “There is a fine line between keeping the edge and recouping. Right now recouping is the most important part. We’ll error on the rest side, both yesterday and today. Tomorrow we’ll get back to work. We won’t know who our opponent is, but we’ll spend time just on our game. We’ll see what happens Tuesday night.”
The players are taking what’s handed to them with regards to the opportunity to let some beat up bodies and minds heal.
“Your rest comes yesterday and today,” said Blake. “We came in and got a little workout and a sweat. Tomorrow we’re back on the ice. The coaches have been through this before and they know how to have us prepared.”
“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,” said Dan Boyle
. “These games of hockey are hard to play and I think rest is important (down the stretch). Our crowd is so good, the energy is so good, it shouldn’t be hard to get back into it.”
San Jose had a similar long break after the Colorado series.
“You need the rest at this stage of the playoffs,” said Blake. “You use it to your advantage, but you still want to have your edge for the next series.”
San Jose not only gets a break from the physicality of the games, but from the travel as well. Detroit is three time zones away and that makes a difference on the body.
“When you start flying across the country every second day, it takes a lot out of you,” said McLellan. “I don’t think people really understand that. That we have to do it fewer times than anybody else left in the playoffs bodes well for us. There are a lot of other factors as well.”
The Sharks players are watching the remaining series, but there is a little extra attention being paid to the Chicago-Vancouver series. There is a little bit of prescouting going while the television is on.
“It is good to see what they do on the power play and how they kill penalties,” said Niclas Wallin.
If Chicago and the other series can wrap up as soon as possible, there is a chance the Sharks series starts earlier, but that is not what the Sharks are thinking about.
“We want it to go as long as possible so we can get our rest and they have to keep battling it out,” said Setoguchi.
“Triple overtime every night would be ideal, but I don’t know if that is going to happen,” said McLellan. “What we do control is how we prepare and how we get ready. When the league tells us we’re going to play, we play.”
“I’m just hoping it goes seven games,” said Boyle. “Beat each other up and we’ll take the winner. We’ll see what happens.”
“We are a confident group and we just beat a really good hockey team,” said Setoguchi. “We’re riding a pretty good confidence level. We know the next step is going to be tougher than against Detroit. That is just how it is. Every playoff series gets turned up another level. They are the number two and three seed teams. It’s going to be tough and we need to be focused and ready to go.”
“They are a team with a lot of wins and a lot of Cups,” said Wallin about Detroit. “We’re going to be playing a new team and we can’t think about that now.”
Wallin was feeling fine two days from his return to the lineup.
“I felt good, it’s been a long couple of weeks,” said Wallin.
For Wallin, it was a big commitment from McLellan and the coaching staff to say they wanted him in the lineup while the team was having a great series without him.
“It’s always a tough decision for a coach to throw you back in a game like that,” said Wallin. “I really appreciate what he did.”
Wallin said there really aren’t any worries moving forward.
“I’m good to go now,” said Wallin. “I waited a long time for that game so another two, three, four days doesn’t matter.”
Wallin was brought in to be a steadying force on the blueline in the postseason, so not being able to step out there was difficult.
“It was very frustrating,” said Wallin. “There were a lot of phone calls from moms, dads, the wife. It gets to the point when you stop answering the phone calls. This is what you do and what you play the whole season for, these kinds of games. It is one of those things you have to deal with. My mental strength is pretty good and you just keep fighting.”
Sharks elder statesman and 40-year-old Captain Rob Blake was asked if he was feeling older or younger as the playoffs went on.
“I feel young today, ask me that after seven game, I don’t know,” joked Blake.
Since falling in Game 3 to Colorado, the Sharks have gone and impressive 7-1.
TICKETS ON SALE TUESDAY
Tickets for the first two games of the 2010 Western Conference Finals to be played at HP Pavilion at San Jose (Games “I” and “J”), will go on sale to the general public on Tuesday, May 11 at 10 a.m. Due to the limited number of tickets available, individuals will be allowed to purchase up to two tickets TOTAL – One ticket to two games OR two tickets to one game.
The HP Pavilion Ticket Office will be utilizing the pre-numbered wristband system for all purchases. Wristbands will be handed out from 8-9 a.m. The drawing to determine the numbered wristband, which becomes “first” in line, will take place at 9:30 a.m.