BLOOMINGTON — The best way for the Bloomington PrairieThunder to prepare for the start of the Central Hockey League playoffs, says coach Jason Christie, is to stay off the ice.
Christie gave his tired hockey team the day off Monday, and Tuesday will be a light non-skating workout as the PrairieThunder tries to refresh its legs after finishing the regular season with seven games in nine days.
The team will return to regular practices Wednesday before opening the best-of-5 first-round playoff series against the Fort Wayne Komets at 7:05 p.m. Saturday at U.S. Cellular Coliseum. Game 2 is at 3:05 p.m. Sunday at home.
“We had such a tough schedule,” Christie said Monday. “It’s definitely good to have a couple of days to just kind of regroup here.”
Bloomington went 3-3-1 in its final seven games with two of those victories against Fort Wayne.
“We can’t look at our season just as it being the last week,” Christie said. “We know what kind of guys we have; we just have to bring what got us here to the playoffs, and that’s a tenacious group.
“We’re going against a skilled, veteran club that knows how to win.”
Playoff roster set: Christie submitted his 19-man playoff roster to the CHL Monday.
Forward Brodie Sheahan and defenseman Keith Rodger were on the playoff roster after being activated from the injured-reserve list. Sheahan has been out with a concussion since Feb. 24, while Rodger, a former Komet, has been recovering from a bad shoulder. He played in Sunday’s shootout loss to Evansville.
Defenseman A.J. Bozoian was waived.
Teams can carry 19 active players and dress 18 during the postseason. There is no injured reserve list for the playoffs, but two amateur players plus an emergency goaltender can be added.
Colorado’s Nelson named MVP: Colorado’s Riley Nelson earned the CHL’s most valuable player award as announced Monday.
The 33-year-old center finished fourth in the league in points with 93 (34 goals, 59 assists) and was first in plus-minus rating with a career-best plus-40, while playing in all 66 games.
Nelson received votes on 25 of 60 ballots. Missouri’s Robby Nolan was second with 15 votes.