Rest. It’s a growing trend around the landscape of sports. From “load management” in the NBA to “squad rotation” in soccer, even golf had to put in new rules to keep players from skipping too many tournaments in a season. Cautious approaches make sense, but they are also frustrating for the people paying to watch the games.
In the NHL, rest has not really become part of the vernacular for head coaches, and certainly not for players.
We haven’t done it other than maybe late in the year. Would I do it in the middle of January? Probably not. First of all, players don’t want to come out of the lineup even when they’re hurt, so there’s dealing with that part of it. -Bruce Cassidy
Last year, down the stretch the Golden Knights continued plugging along with their full roster as they chased down the top spot in the Pacific and Western Conference.
They were, however, missing the captain, who sat out the latter portion of the regular season recovering from his second back surgery in nine months. Mark Stone found his way right back into the lineup for the first game of the playoffs and proceeded to play 22 straight en route to being the first Golden Knight to lift the Stanley Cup.
His health is paramount to the team’s hopes to repeat and everyone knows it. That being said, there’s no expectation of scheduled days off for the 31-year-old.
We don’t have a distinct plan saying ‘he’s going to get next Wednesday off or next this and that.’ It’s kind of a fluid situation and he has to be honest with the trainers and they’ll be honest with me and we’ll judge accordingly. We’re not going to overtax him in preseason that’s for sure but if he’s healthy he needs to play and get his timing. -Cassidy
Stone played three preseason games last year including the final two on the schedule. He then played in 43 straight to open the year before missing the final 39.
He says he feels as good as he has in years coming into camp this season, which means, if there’s a game that counts and Mark Stone is available to play, you can expect #61 to be in the lineup.