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The long wait is on for the Bruins and Penguins

Posted by Eric Wilbur, Boston.com Staff  May 28, 2013 09:31 AM

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Itís Tuesday. There wonít be hockey in Boston for more than another week.

In related news, the Red Sox will play seven times in three different cities before there is once again hockey played in Boston.

From a physical standpoint, the news that the Bruins and Penguins possibly wonít kick off the Eastern Conference final until Saturday in Pittsburgh comes as a welcome development. Thatís four more days for the likes of Tuukka Rask, Zdeno Chara, and Patrice Bergeron, who will go mano a mano against Sidney Crosby in the faceoff circle a full week after the Bruins dispatched the Rangers.

Saturday is June 1, by the way.

Of course, thatís also four more days for hockey rust to settle in for the likes of David Krejci, Rask, and Torey Krug, who you hope doesnít suddenly realize by Saturday that heís not supposed to be doing this. Four more days of rejuvenation for the potent Pittsburgh attack, scoring 4.27 goals per game during these NHL playoffs. (The Bruins are second Ė 3.17.)

For us? Holy hell, four more days?

The NHL has yet to officially release the schedule for the Eastern Conference final, but Hockey Night in Canada reported last night that the series will begin Saturday, in part thanks to Chicagoís comeback win against Detroit in Game 6 Monday night. Those two teams will play a Game 7 Wednesday night in Chicago, while the Sharks and Kings go the distance in Tuesday in Los Angeles. Theoretically, if the NHL waited for both Western Conference series to end before giving the green light to Boston and Pittsburgh, the Bruins and Penguins could have started on Thursday at the earliest.

So, why not? Thank Danny Wood.

A Thursday-Saturday schedule in Pittsburgh would have had the Bruins and Penguins playing Games 3 and 4 in Boston next Monday-Wednesday. But that canít happen because the New Kids on the Block are playing a pair of shows at the TD Garden next Sunday and Monday. Therefore, if the two teams started Thursday in Pittsburgh, there would be two off-days in between Games 2 and 3. Doesnít seem like that big of a deal, but itís likely the teams, league, television, and fans would probably rather wait the extra two days to start rather than endure a two-day break after some level of momentum has kicked in.

If the league sticks to an off-night in between each game, the series will go until June 13 if it were to go seven games. The Bruins beat the Canucks in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup final in 2011 on June 15.

Youíll recall the NHL had similar trouble scheduling the Bruins-Lightning final that same year both because of the ongoing Celtics-Heat playoff series, and the St. Pete Times Forum had Toy Story on Ice booked for a stretch during the series. If the Bruins had home-ice this year, odds are the series would begin on Thursday as it would avoid any conflict with the New Kids, and Game 7 would potentially land on June 11, the day before the Rolling Stones are scheduled to play at the Garden for the first of two nights.

And so, Saturday it is; four more days of rest for the particulars, four more days of anticipated torture for the rest of us.

Whenís Buchholz pitching anyway?

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About the Author

Eric Wilbur is a Boston.com sports columnist who is still in awe of what Dana Kiecker pulled off that one time in Toronto. He lives in the Boston area with his wife and three children. Comments and suggestions for the best Buffalo wing spots are encouraged.

Contact Eric Wilbur by e-mail or follow him on Twitter.


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