The rumors were flying over the weekend that if Detroit ended up winning Game 7 of its series with Anaheim, a Blackhawks-Wings semifinal matchup would begin Tuesday night at the United Center.
In theory because the Red Wings would be arriving from California after Sunday's late-night clincher in what was a grueling series -- while a well-rested Hawks team would be waiting to pounce.
Well, all that went out the window Monday morning when the league announced the series opener between the two storied rivals would commence Wednesday night at 7 p.m. instead.
So now which team has the advantage?
"I don't think it matters," Hawks captain Jonathan Toews said following Monday's practice. "Maybe we'll have a more of a break than we really need to be ready for Game 1, but on the other hand, maybe they'll be just in the flow of things and cruising right out of Game 7.
"We've got to be ready to bring our best -- regardless of the situation. They're going to be hard to play ... and we have to be the same."
Since their series-clinching victory over Minnesota on Thursday, and by the time they open with the Wings, the Hawks will have gone a full six days without playing a game.
That's an eternity in the hockey world, especially during this dramatically condensed season following the protracted lockout.
"Eh, that's the way it is," Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "They're coming off a tough seven-game series. It was a heck of a series. It was fun watching it."
As for the rest of the Hawks' series with the Wings, the exact days and times were to be announced after Monday's first-round Eastern Conference series finally concluded.
"As we go along here, we still don't know exactly how it's going to be played," Quenneville said. "We'll deal with it."
Since winning Game 5 over Minnesota, Quenneville dealt with it by giving the Hawks two of the next three days off before picking up the pace this week heading into Wednesday's opener.
Hawks goalie Corey Crawford doesn't view the delay between games as a cause for concern.
"I don't think so," he said. "Sometimes a team might come out slow off a layoff -- and other times it really depends.
"That's why we've been preparing ourselves to have that pace in practice to make sure we're ready when it starts."Copyright © 2014 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.