NHL Playoffs: Long Break Will Help the Vancouver Canucks
With the strange scheduling in the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Vancouver Canucks and Los Angeles Kings do not play Game 5 of their opening round series until Sunday evening in Vancouver—a whole four days after Game 4 on Wednesday night. This break is going to be very beneficial for the Vancouver Canucks.
Last year in the playoffs, wear and tear killed the Canucks by the Stanley Cup Finals and injuries to key players like Dan Hamhuis hurt them in the long run. The Stanley Cup Playoffs are an intense thing to go through and there is no player that ever finishes a series at 100 percent health.
Players that have been beat up so far this series, including Sami Salo, Ryan Kesler, Henrik Sedin and Alex Edler, could definitely use the time off to recharge for the big push they must have to comeback in this series. Not to mention Daniel Sedin gets some extra days of recovery from his concussion between Game 4 and 5.
Not only does the break provide significant rest for the tired and injured bodies on the Canucks, but it also allows head coach Alain Vigneault to hone in on the team's holes and fill them in. For example, until Game 4 the Canucks' power play was an atrocious 0/14 and minus-2. These few days off give Vigneault time to go over the power-play structure and positioning to get his team back in the groove.
In addition to working on the Canucks special teams, general tinkering can be done on these off days. These little adjustments include working on board play, breakouts, and crowding the net.
This break also gives Daniel and Henrik Sedin more time to readjust to one another so that they can dominate the Kings in Game 5 as they did in Game 4. If anything, the break makes the Sedin Twins more dangerous and more likely to control play over the Kings as they did Wednesday evening in L.A., increasing the Canucks' chances of victory.
Lastly, the long break between games gives Vancouver a time to bond together and become more comfortable with one another. Sure they played 82 games together, but that is nothing compared to the brotherhood that must be created during the playoffs, making sure everyone is on the same page and has the same goal in mind—winning the Stanley Cup.
John Bain is a Bleacher Report Featured Columnist. Follow John on Twitter: @JohnBainSports
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