Boston Bruins gather around the Prince of Wales trophy, spoils for winning the Eastern Conference finals on Thursday in Raleigh, North Carolina. Now the Bruins are in the midst of 10 days off while waiting for the start of the Stanley Cup final. AP Photo/Gerry Broome

The wait continues.

The Stanley Cup final won’t begin until next Monday night at TD Garden in Boston. The Bruins will finally get back to work, playing in a game for the first time since they swept away the Carolina Hurricanes last Thursday.

Their domination in the Eastern Conference final allows them to rest up for the winner of the San Jose-St. Louis matchup that continues in the Western Conference. It was a welcome break after the Bruins had played 17 playoff games in just 35 days. They will be well-rested for the start of the Stanley Cup final.

Could they be too rested?

In the NHL, recent history tells us that teams getting less rest have had more success in the Cup final. Each of the last five Stanley Cup champions had won a seven-game series in the conference finals. In four of those five years, the team that won it all had less rest than their opponent in the Stanley Cup final.

The Boston-Carolina series was just the third sweep in the conference finals in the last 10 years. The last team to do it was the Bruins in 2013, when they swept the Penguins to get back to the Stanley Cup final for the second time in three years.

They lost that series after a five-day rest.

This time around, the Bruins will sit around for 10 days between series. It will give players like Zdeno Chara a chance to heal and be ready to go when the final begins. But could it derail the momentum the Bruins have been riding for more than a month?

“I think there are so many different momentums,” said Bruins general manager Don Sweeney. “The series is spread out in the final. You’ve got days in between and two days for travel. It’s game-by-game, shift-by-shift, and guys need to live in the moment.  I think we recognize that.”

No one is suggesting the Bruins should’ve lost a game or two to the Hurricanes. You never want to let an opponent back into a series and the Bruins made quick work of a worthy opponent. That’s a good thing.

Meantime, the Sharks and Blues have been beating each other up night after night in the West. You’d think the survivor of that series will stagger east to open the Stanley Cup final in hostile territory. There’s no doubt the Bruins will be the favorite in the first game, and the series.

That’s all good, but we can’t help but think back to 2007, when the Colorado Rockies stormed into the World Series as the National League champs. Colorado had won 14 of 15 regular season games to get to the postseason, then went 7-0 in two NL series sweeps.

They waited nine days while the Red Sox and Indians battled through an epic seven-game American League Championship Series. When the World Series finally began, the Rockies were overmatched by a superior Boston team, and the Red Sox won their second championship in four years.

Any magic the Rockies had going for them disappeared during that seemingly endless wait for the World Series.

The difference between that baseball team and this hockey team is that the Bruins didn’t need any magic to advance through the Eastern Conference. They’ve been the better team in each series, and have gotten better as the playoffs have gone on.

So while this is a long wait, and while it may be a little challenging to regain the edge they had through the first three rounds, they will be the better team on the ice when the Stanley Cup final begins.

And I’ll take a better, well rested team every time.


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