Despite an early lead, the Bruins lost the first game of the Stanley Cup Finals early this morning during the third overtime period. For those of you not totally familiar with hockey, that means that the Bruins and the Blackhawks played the near-equivalent of two regulation length games, for a contest that spanned more than five hours and took place on two different days.
There was some speculation that the two days off in between each game were somehow excessive, but as one of the scores of fans who were up until the wee hours of the morning, I personally might need two whole days to recover. I was never good enough at hockey during my short failed high school playing career to truly understand how exhausting it is to play for an entire game. Indeed, I think I could count the number of shifts I played in two years on one hand - my field hockey prowess didn't translate well to the ice.
In any case, hockey has to be one of the most physically demanding team sports, combining the physical stamina required for basketball (but with the added challenge of skating rather than walking), with the hand-eye coordination of baseball (with the additional restraint of a huge layer of protective gear), with the brute force of football (only hockey hits can happen at much higher speeds). The whole thing is insanely intense, and two days to recuperate from last night's marathon game is only unreasonable if you think they deserve three or more.
I also think that the two days off will prove helpful for the Bruins in terms of momentum - by Saturday evening, Wednesday's loss will seem like ages ago. Any momentum that the Blackhawks might have derived from such an exciting OT win will have pretty much dissipated, and though the Bruins will be playing one game down, they will have had time to shake it off. They'll come back and win on Saturday, and go on to win the Stanley Cup.