Monday, February 20, 2017

Will The Bye Week Actually Benefit The Blackhawks?

By Randy Holndoner (@bhawkschatter)

The bye week was introduced this year to help alleviate a long 82-game season for teams.  It was to give a minimum of five days off to rest and prepare for the rest of the grueling season and two months of post-season.

Teams coming off of their break so far, are 3-12-4.  The Chicago Blackhawks lost to the Edmonton Oilers Saturday night at the United Center, 3-1.  With that said, they did not play awful and they outshot Edmonton, 39-22.  They just couldn't come up with the win.

They bounced back Sunday as they handled the Buffalo Sabres, 5-1, in Buffalo.  They play a huge game against the Minnesota Wild Tuesday night in Minnesota, who they trail by seven points in the Central Division.  Including that game, they still only play 3 games in the next 8 nights.  Including their bye week, they played just 8 games in 24 days.  A game for every 3 days.

So how does the rest of their schedule look then?  Come March 1st, they begin a marathon to the end of the regular season.  They play their remaining 20 games of the regular season in just 39 days.  A game for every 1.95 days.  Of those, 6 of their last 8 games are on the road.  From October - January, they played 52 games in 112 days.  A game for every 2.15 days.

So based on that logic, why would the league make teams, in this case, the Blackhawks, play their most crucial, "must win" games, in the shortest amount of time leading up to the playoffs?  How is this supposed to help them?  When playoff time comes along, they will have to fight hard to rid a team early, (hard to do in this league) in order to catch any break.  If the playoffs were to start today, the Blackhawks would be playing the St. Louis Blues.  The Blues ousted them in the first round of the playoffs in a 7-game series last year. 

I understand what they are trying to do.  And yes, the teams should get a break at some point.  But considering they have had anywhere from 2-4 months off, between seasons, why wouldn't the league put the busier part of their schedule at the beginning of the season?  Easier said than done, I know, but since this is an experiment, I think they need to tweak it a bit in order to make it more effective.  Enter the new wild card next year in the expansion team, Las Vegas Golden Knights.  This provides an odd number of teams in the league.  Who knows what that will do to the schedule as well.  

Lets hope the league thinks this through a bit more and more importantly, keeps the safety and health of the players at the top of their priorities, instead of trying to find a way to generate more revenue.


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