GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (May 5, 2014) — The Grand Rapids Griffins were loose and in good spirits at the team’s practice Monday morning at Van Andel Arena – and they had every reason to be.
A series-clinching win on Friday got the defending Calder Cup champions an extra day of rest before their Western Conference semifinal series against the top-seeded Texas Stars starts on Thursday.
Well, at least the players got a day off.
“I went to a dance recital, a First Communion, and a hockey game – so I don’t know if Saturday was kicking back,” head coach Jeff Blashill said with a smile Monday, “But for the guys, they got Saturday off. I think it’s been enough of a balance of rest and staying in the mode of competing – which is real important this time of year.”
The fourth-seeded Griffins won three of four meetings with the regular season champion Stars – scoring at least four goals in every game.
A lot of people think these are the top two teams in the West – and the winner of the series would be the favorite to win this whole thing.
“I think Toronto and Chicago would disagree,” Blashill said. “I can tell you the four teams left are all great teams. I know this series – we obviously could have finished easily in the two-seed. We’ve been two of the top teams all season long, along with Chicago and Toronto. It should be a great, great match-up.”
Game 1 of the Western Conference Semifinals starts Thursday at 8:30 p.m. Eastern. Games 3, 4, and 5 of the series will be back at Van Andel Arena. Tickets for those games are on sale now at griffinshockey.com/buytickets.