Back-to-backs no beast of burden for Hawks
May, 31, 2013
By Staff | ESPNChicago.com
Paul A. Hebert/FilmMagicThe Stones have wished the Hawks well during their shows at the United Center.Chicago Blackhawks chairman Rocky Wirtz said Friday he doesn't think opening the Western Conference finals with back-to-back games -- thanks to the Rolling Stones -- will have a negative impact on his team.
The Hawks host the Los Angeles Kings in Game 1 on Saturday and Game 2 is Sunday while the Stones have shows at the United Center on Friday and Monday.
"I don't think it matters, as far as the players are concerned," Wirtz said on "The Carmen & Jurko Show" on ESPN 1000. "I think they would just assume have the games. I think the waiting around can be much tougher. And if you ask the players, I think they would just assume have back-to-back.
"They're in terrific shape. Knock on wood, we're very healthy as a team, and I think you always have bumps and bruises, but basically it's not going to hurt at all."
NHL vice president of scheduling Steve Hatze Petros wasn't quite as relaxed. He described the Stones as the "bane of my playoff existence." He explained the back-to-backs had to be this weekend to avoid potential cross-time-zone back-to-backs later in the series.
The Stones also played before the Hawks eliminated the Detroit Red Wings in Game 7 of the semifinals on Wednesday, and the ice apparently held up.
"The ice probably isn't going to be great, but that's for both teams," Hawks forward Viktor Stalberg said. "There's not much we can do about it. I don't think anyone in here really talks about it, to be honest. Nothing we put any focus on or anything like that. We just know that's the way it is. We're just going to play the same way we have. If we get a weird bounce here or there, so be it.”
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, there have been 12 playoff series open with games on back-to-back days since 1990, and the home team has swept both games seven times.
The Stones have wished the Hawks well during their shows, and guitarist Ronnie Wood actually tweeted a pic of himself in a Hawks jersey.