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.
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.
[NBC SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]
“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.”