SAN JOSE, Calif. — The Hawks aren’t complaining. They will take the extra days to rest and heal the leftover bumps and bruises from the first two rounds of the playoffs with the Western Conference finals against the San Jose Sharks starting Sunday.
“It was a very competitive series [against the Vancouver Canucks in the semifinals],” Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said Thursday after practice. “As you go along here, you got to take advantage of days off and get refreshed and excited for the next round.
“Certainly, we could have been playing tomorrow and we were ready to go either way. It’s nice to get on the ice [Thursday] and the guys had some good energy.”
The Hawks were off Wednesday as they traveled from Vancouver to San Jose. The Sharks held an optional skate on Thursday.
The Sharks last played on May 8, eliminating the playoff-savvy Detroit Red Wings in five games.
Game 7 between the Boston Bruins and Philadelphia Flyers is Friday night and HP Pavilion isn’t available on Saturday. So Sunday was really the only option for the Hawks and Sharks to start.
“I wish we were playing [Friday] to tell you the truth and just to be honest,” Sharks coach Todd McLellan said Thursday. “But it’s not. There’ nothing we can do about it. With that being said, I’m glad we won in five. … There is a lot of pros that come with ending a series earlier. One of the cons is obviously having to wait a little bit longer.”