Rest versus rust.
Any time a team wraps up a best-of-seven series early, there are pros and cons.
“For me, at my age, I'd take rest 10 times out of 10,” said 33-year-old Barons team captain Josh Green. “The key is when you practice you have to work hard. If you don't there's a risk you get lackadaisical and you're not at your best when Game 1 comes around.”
The Barons will have eight or nine days off between series after eliminating the top seeded Texas Stars in five games. Oklahoma City swept the three games at the Cox Convention Center by a combined 16-4 score.
In the other Western semifinal, Grand Rapids leads Toronto 3-2 with Game 6 and 7 (if necessary) in Toronto.
If OKC plays the Griffins, the series starts Friday in Grand Rapids.
If OKC plays the Marlies, the series starts Saturday in Toronto.
Since the Barons gained momentum by winning three home games 4-0, 7-3 and 5-1, is there some concern they could lose momentum?
“Both can be true,” said goaltender Yann Danis. “Rest is always good. We've played a lot of games, a lot of tough games. We just have to make sure we have that intensity when we practice and not go through the motions.”
The Barons played 76 regular-season games and have played 10 playoff games.
“It definitely helps to get our rest,” said rookie defenseman Taylor Fedun. “It's not that long a break. We have a lot of veteran guys and a great coaching staff. They know what the proper balance is.”
Coach Todd Nelson gave players Friday and Sunday off.
“Time away from the rink is very important. We're staggering the days off,” Nelson said. “I think the guys will be itching to play and will be really hungry going into Game 1.”
In the weekend-heavy American Hockey League, players are accustomed to lengthy layoffs.