Sure "rust" can be an issue...but the "rest" actually helped the Wings get healthy, so there was a big benefit to having 9 days off.
I can see that. My only question is that if 9 days rest helped Mule and Z to heal, but was that at the expense of the entire team's playoff capacity as a whole? (And I don't mean that as a rhetorical question.)
Let's look at two extremes for a second.
Somewhere between one day off and one month off there are two extremes that are detrimental to any team's playoff capacity. A single day's rest after a grueling series could be absolutely disastrous for any team. Likewise, an entire month off would not just be "somewhat detrimental", but downright disastrous. I think you would be hard pressed to find an athlete from any endurance sport who would argue that to the contrary. For example, my nephew is an MMA fighter. If he goes three days without training or fighting, he thinks he's screwed for at least a week.
So I am really only asking a three part question, one that I think is universal, and not specific to any team, but to average NHL players in general:
How little is too little rest, at one end, and how much is too much rest at the other? Then, somewhere between those two points, what is the optimal window? That's it. It may not be easy to answer, but that does not mean there aren't any specific answers to be had, because we could at least qualitatively identify the extremes.
Many fans described the Wings' Game 1 play using different synonyms for "lethargic" (implying physical limitations), while twice now in this thread that same play was referred to as "passive", which implies a mental state, obviously meant to infer that it was a kind of deliberateness on the parts of the players, and therefore within their control -- like a strategic move, of sorts ("Trying more to 'weather the storm' than increase our lead."). It didn't look that way to me, but if that is true, then I find that very sad for the Wings. If that is true, then Babcock has every reason to be angry at the majority of players on the team (all but, what, three?) for not "deciding" to flip that [purely mental] switch, and for essentially giving the Sharks' defense most of the night off!