The Blackhawks are back from their week-long break and most of them had a nice tan to show for it after getting some sun in warm locations. It was some much-needed time off for everybody.
The objective was to shut the brain off for a bit and unplug from the game, but it can be hard to do sometimes, especially if you're a player like Max Domi, whose future over the next few weeks is uncertain.
"It's impossible to completely block it out, but that's the goal," Domi said. "You try and go on a full five-day hiatus from hockey. You're not watching it, you're not thinking about it, but it really is impossible, so you are still at some degree but much less than the day-to-day, 82-game regular season. It's nice to recharge the batteries both physically and mentally and come back and you feel a little bit fresher."
The March 3 trade deadline is now 23 days away, and the Blackhawks have quite a few trade chips that could be on the move. Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews are obviously the headliners, but Domi is having a pretty solid season himself.
Domi is tied for first on the team in goals (14) and points (35), ranks second in assists (21) and is among the league leaders in faceoff win percentage (55.8). He's on pace for 23 goals and 58 points, which would be his personal best since the 2018-19 season when he had 28 goals and 72 points with Montreal.
Domi could be a very attractive piece for a playoff contender. He's been in the NHL for eight seasons and has already played for five different teams. It could soon be six.
At some point though, Domi would prefer long-term stability. But he doesn't want it to just be anywhere.
"Yeah, if it's the right fit," Domi said. "Obviously I've been on shorter term contracts and sometimes that's just a little bit of, a combination of trying to figure out if that's a spot for you or whatever it might be. I've said it from Day 1: I love it here.
"We'll see what happens but that's part of the business — the unfortunate part of the business — but it is what it is. I'm just trying to be present, where my two feet are and help this team in any way I can."
Domi doesn't have any no-trade protection, so even if he wanted to stay in Chicago long term, it's no guarantee he will be here beyond the trade deadline. The Blackhawks have to do what's best for the organization and recoup some future assets if there are enticing offers for Domi.
The win-win scenario would likely be: Domi is traded at the deadline and then re-signs with the Blackhawks over the summer if the two sides see a long-term fit together. I pitched that hypothetical to Domi, and he wasn't ready to let his mind go there.
"Honestly, there's so much time from now until then," Domi said. "Like I said, I just try and focus on day to day because if you start thinking down the road, it kind of drives yourself insane.
"A lot could happen from now until then, and I'm sure when we have to make the decision, we'll make the right one. That's kind of up to my agent and my family will be part of that decision, so we'll see what happens."
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