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HARTLEY’S HART ATTACK – (Too much rest not the best?) June 10th, 2022 EDITION 892

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The Colorado Avalanche will lose the first game of the Stanley Cup Final.

Sure that is a bold statement to make and it may end up not being true.

Even though the Avs will be on home ice against the New York Rangers or Tampa Bay Lightning, they will be coming off an extended layoff.

Colorado swept Edmonton 4-0 in the Western Final with the last game on Monday, a 6-5 victory for the Avalanche in overtime.

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I am sure players on the Avalanche will appreciate the rest and maybe there is a chance Nazem Kadri returns from injury at some point in the championship series because of the lengthy break.

There are recent examples of teams with too much of a break struggling in Game 1 of the next series and if this trend continues Colorado will indeed lose its next game.

Tampa Bay Lightning.  Tampa completed a second-round sweep of the Florida Panthers on Monday, May 23rd. The two-time defending Stanley Cup champions did not play again until nine days later (Wednesday, June 9th) a 6-2 loss to the NY Rangers in the opener of the Eastern Conference Final.

Edmonton Oilers. There was not a huge delay but still enough time off to lose sharpness compared to playing every second or third day. The Oilers on Thursday, May 26th beat Calgary in overtime 5-4 (still a painful memory for Flames fans) to win the series in five games. Edmonton waited five days (Tuesday, May 31st) before starting the Western Conference Final in Denver, an 8-6 loss to the Avalanche. As we are all aware, that win against Calgary would be the last one of the season for Edmonton.

St. Louis Blues. The Blues knocked out the Minnesota Wild with a convincing 5-1 victory on Thursday, May 12th but suffered a loss in their next game, five days later on Tuesday, May 17th to Colorado by a 3-2 score in overtime.

Note: The Avalanche swept Nashville on Monday, May 9th, and did not play again until eight days later (Tuesday, May 17th against the Blues). Okay, they beat St. Louis 3-2 in overtime (somebody had to win after a layoff) but were not impressive in doing so.

Now an example from the WHL:

Edmonton Oil Kings. The Oil Kings beat the Winnipeg Ice 7-1 to win the Eastern Conference Final in five games on Friday, May 27th. At the time, Edmonton was a perfect 7-0 on home ice in the playoffs, however, that would change. After a week break, the Oil Kings lost their next game on Friday, June 3rd by a 2-1 score to the Seattle Thunderbirds in Game 1 of the championship series.

To be fair, the extended rest does not always mean a sluggish performance the next game. The Oil Kings doubled the Red Deer Rebels 4-2 on Wednesday, May 11th to complete a 4-game sweep and then nine days later won their next game on Friday, May 20th, 5-4 in overtime against the Ice in Winnipeg.

For good measure an example from the NBA:

Golden State Warriors. The Warriors knocked out the Dallas Mavericks 120-110 on Thursday, May 26th to capture the Western Conference Final in five games. The Warriors did not play again for another week and ended up losing to the Boston Celtics 120-108 in Game 1 of the NBA Finals.

Sure there are many more examples showing an extended break could either hurt or help a team.

In Colorado’s case, the amount of time between games will be substantial especially if the Rangers and Lightning need a 7th and deciding game on Tuesday (June 14th).

Tampa leads 3-2 and will be on home ice in Game 6 Saturday.

While one can argue either way, teams like the continuity of playing every second or third day.

This is not so much about momentum but more about tempo, flow, and the value of routine.

The Rangers haven’t had a break, needing seven full games against both Pittsburgh and Carolina, and if they win this weekend are in for another seven against Tampa.

One concern is will they run out of gas?

Possibly, but the underdog Rangers, who are 5-0 in the playoffs when facing elimination, always have a chance with 26-year-old Igor Shesterkin in the net, regardless of how many days off he gets between games.

FROM THE QUOTE RACK:

The Los Angeles Dodgers, with an all-time high payroll of $310 million, will pay $47 million in tax to MLB. For the uninitiated, $47 million is more than the entire payroll of either the Baltimore Orioles, Oakland A’s, Pittsburgh Pirates, or Cleveland Guardians.

*Comedy writer Janice Hough of Palo Alto, California www.leftcoastsportsbabe.com

New York Mets shortstop Francisco Lindor missed a recent game after smashing a finger in a hotel-room door. A grand slam it wasn’t.

*Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times http://www.seattletimes.com/author/dwight-perry/

Tommy Pham of the Cincinnati Reds was suspended by MLB for slapping Joc Pederson of the San Francisco Giants. Tommy said later that Joc had him between a rock and a hard place.

*Contributor Bill Littlejohn of South Lake Tahoe, California

In Case You Missed It:

A church converted to a house was up for sale near Portage la Prairie, Manitoba. Among its amenities: is a room with a pew.

*Western Canadian comedy writer RJ Currie www.Sportsdeke.com

Hartley Miller is the news and sports director/supervisor plus morning news anchor for 94.3 the GOAT and Country 97fm. He also is the radio color commentator for P.G. Cougars’ home games. Hartley has been on the Prince George airwaves since 1979 and is the author of You Don’t Say (sports quotes).

 

 

 

 

 

 

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