Blackhawks

Blackhawks have no problem with implementation of 'bye week'

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Blackhawks have no problem with implementation of 'bye week'

SAN JOSE, Calif. – The NHL will be implementing a “bye week,” during which a team would get several off days in a row, next season. As far as the Blackhawks are concerned, that would be a good thing.

The possible “bye week” was reported several days ago by various outlets, including TSN’s Pierre LeBrun. According to LeBrun, players would be completely off during the five-day bye week, which would fall sometime between January and the end of February. Teams could only practice on the fifth day if they have a game on the sixth day, but that practice would have to be after 4 p.m. local time on that fifth day.

[MORE: Blackhawks searching for consistency, prep for sizzling Sharks]

The players are fine with that.

“I’d always welcome more rest,” said Duncan Keith with a laugh. “There have been spurts this year where we’ve had time like that, which has been good. But a bye week is a nice thing to add.”

Coach Joel Quenneville is one to always give the Blackhawks ample time off; he’s not a big practice guy, and even when the Blackhawks do practice the sessions usually last between 30-45 minutes. Still, in the midst of an 82-game season – and for the Blackhawks, longer than that with recent postseasons – a specific break would be nice.

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“It’s good if you treat it the right way, right? I think all of us, as players, would probably welcome a few more days off,” Patrick Kane said. “Here in Chicago, we’re fortunate with the amount of days we get and things the organization does as far as giving us the ability to get away from the game a bit. But for those extra [five] days – it’s a long season, especially for a team like us that’s gone far the past few years – it would be good to get away for a few days and get your mind off hockey. So if you use it the right way, it could be an advantage.”

Blackhawks release 2018-19 schedule

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USA TODAY

Blackhawks release 2018-19 schedule

Uncap those markers and start circling your calendars, Blackhawks fans. The 2018-19 season is officially out.

The Blackhawks will kick off their 91st campaign in franchise history with a road contest against the Ottawa Senators on Oct. 4 at 6:30 p.m. The home opener is set for Oct. 7, with an Original Six matchup against the Toronto Maple Leafs at 6 p.m.

The Blackhawks have 14 back-to-back games, and the longest road trip of the season is three, which takes place five times over the course of the season; the longest homestand is four games, from Dec. 12-18.

The biggest highlight of the season will be the Original Six Winter Classic Showdown between the Blackhawks and Boston Bruins on Jan. 1 at Notre Dame Stadium. It will be the sixth outdoor appearance for Chicago, and fourth in the Winter Classic.

The Blackhawks will also square off with the defending champion Washington Capitals on Nov. 21 at 6 p.m., and welcome them to Chicago on Jan. 20, set for NBC's Game of the Week at 11:30 a.m.

Here's a look at the full schedule:

Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman: 'We expect Corey to be back'

Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman: 'We expect Corey to be back'

Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman said that the team expects goalie Corey Crawford to be back next season around training camp. Bowman also mentioned that Crawford might speak about his status himself during the Blackhawks Convention.

“What I said at the end of the year was still the case now, which is we expect Corey to be back,” Bowman said in a Thursday afternoon conference call. “We don’t have any reason to think that’s not going to happen.”

According to Bowman, Blackhawks players, including Crawford, already have their eyes set on next season.

“At this point in the summer, all the players are preparing for next season,” Bowman said. “Corey’s in that same preparation mode.”

Crawford is nursing what has been labeled an upper-body injury by the team. The two-time Stanley Cup winner was put on the shelf for the rest of the season back in late December, and he has not seen the ice since he skated in a February practice.

“Nothing has changed,” Bowman said. “We expect him to be back and ready to go in training camp.”

The Blackhawks have chosen to keep any groundbreaking news with Crawford under wraps, which the organization has done with other player injuries in the past. Bowman spoke about his vagueness in this situation.

“We’ve never gone into specifics about injuries,” Bowman said. “I realize this probably gets more attention because he’s our starting goalie and he won the Stanley Cup.”

Fans will have to take a wait-and-see approach, because it is unlikely that there will be a significant update regarding Crawford’s health before the season gets closer to its start.

Last season, Crawford only appeared in 28 games, posting a record of 16-9 with 782 saves before going down for the rest of the year.