(MCT) CHICAGO — The Blackhawks and Red Wings got a somewhat unexpected extra day of rest, thanks to the NHL playoff schedulers. It might be too much of a good thing for both, depending on your perspective.
Dispatching a first-round foe in five games theoretically provided the Hawks an advantage over a team wearied by a seven-game slog and a potential game two days later. But a Wednesday start means the Red Wings get an extra day to recover while the Hawks will go five days between games.
"We're all professionals," Hawks defenseman Duncan Keith said. "To be ready on Tuesday or to be ready on Wednesday shouldn't make a difference."
But does the Wednesday-Saturday setup for Games 1 and 2 negate the supposed advantage for making quick work of a first-round opponent?
"It's the way it is," Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "They're coming off a real tough seven-game series. It was fun watching it. It was a heck of a game (Sunday) night. But that's where it is. We'll deal with it."
Friendly enemies: The last time the teams met in the postseason in 2009, Marian Hossa helped the Red Wings advance to the Stanley Cup Final by eliminating the Hawks in five games in the Western Conference finals. Hossa signed a 12-year free-agent contract with the Hawks not long after.
"I know lots of guys (on the Wings) and also guys retired on that team too," said Hossa, who still gets booed by some fans in Detroit whenever he touches the puck. "The friendships are going to have to go on the side. They're going to play hard and I will have to play hard. You can be friends, but when the puck drops, you just try to play your game."
Stalberg stalled: Another practice, another day for Viktor Stalberg spent in a white jersey, typically reserved for injured or soon-to-be-scratched players. Quenneville said the winger is healthy, so Stalberg's spot in the lineup might be in jeopardy for Game 1.
"We'll see," Quenneville said, when asked if Stalberg might miss the series opener.
One-timers: Michal Handzus didn't practice on a "maintenance day" Monday, but Quenneville expects the veteran center back Tuesday. ... Quenneville hopped into a puck-protection drill and slashed and hacked at his players, smiling all the while. "I used to be better," the 13-year defenseman cracked. "Our guys are good."