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It’s Bye Week For The Chicago Blackhawks
- Updated: February 15, 2017
If you’ve been wondering where the Chicago Blackhawks are this week, your brand new Blackhawks team writer is here to remind you. Until Saturday night, when Chicago hosts the Edmonton Oilers, the team won’t be seeing the ice in a game or practice scenario.
Well, if you recall, back in 2015, the NHLPA negotiated for this mandatory 5-day “bye week” in exchange for accepting the NHL’s All-Star Game changes that brought about the 3-on-3 tournament format. Now, a little more than a year later, we have our first ever NHL bye weeks.
So what does this bye week mean? It’s pretty similar to the NFL, with one major difference. Unlike the NFL, where teams still hold team workouts and practices during the off week, NHL teams are basically on a hockey blackout. That means no mandatory workouts, morning skates, or practices.
So, for the next couple of days, Chicago Blackhawks fans have very little to look forward to on the hockey front, unless you’re planning on watching the Minnesota Wild in hopes of witnessing a loss or two.
Bye Week Blessings
Fear not, though. This bye week should be viewed as a positive. In such a condensed schedule, one where teams see quite a few six-games-in-nine-days scenarios, this mandatory rest period is quite necessary, especially for veteran players.
If you’re hoping for 38-year-old Marian Hossa to continue playing stellar hockey and staying healthy for the last 27 games of the season and on into the playoffs, you should welcome this time off. Same goes for the defensemen on the back half of their careers like Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook. The major skaters are getting a long rest during the second half of the season and that’s important for a team hoping to make a deep playoff run.
It’s also helping the young guys and the salary cap. Chicago has sent Gustav Forsling, Tanner Kero, Vincent Hinostroza, and Nick Schmaltz to the Rockford IceHogs for a few reasons. First off, these young players still need ice time and they’ll get it with a couple of tilts in the AHL. Second, these roster moves made it possible to activate defenseman Michal Rozsival off the injured reserve list. Finally, these moves save about $18,000 per day that the players are gone and could grab nearly $477,000 in cap space for the trade deadline, which could be a difference maker if the Blackhawks decide to go shopping.
Bye Week Blues
These bye weeks aren’t being viewed as all sunshine and rainbows, however. There are a lot of nerves surrounding teams in regards to that first game back after the break. Because of the lack of team ice time for five days, teams seem to look a bit off when they come back from the extended rest period. Of the nine teams that have taken their bye weeks, the combined record in the first games back is 3-5-1.
It’s a small sample size and that record could heavily sway considering there are still 21 teams that haven’t played that first game after the bye week, but it’s certainly a topic of concern among NHL teams.
Regardless of the arguments for and against this new system, the rest for Chicago is necessary, even if it does result in a bit of a slow start after the break. With the Blackhawks back in action the night after the bye week ends, the team will be permitted a single practice on Friday, February 17 after 4 PM local time.
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