The NHL will work in a five-day "bye week" next season as part of the negotiation with the NHL Players' Association to sign off on the All-Star format changes announced this week, according to sources.
In an important gain for the players, which they got in return for accepting the three-on-three All-Star Game format, the league will build in a five-day bye week for each team into their schedule between Jan. 1 and Feb. 28 next season, sources told ESPN.com.
Players will be completely off with no practice during this break. There will be practice permitted after 4 p.m. local time on the fifth day if there is a game on the sixth day; otherwise no practice will be allowed on the fifth day.
The league and NHLPA are staging a World Cup of Hockey next season, which could prove to be a taxing workload for the top players involved. But the break is seen by the union as beneficial to all players given the grind of the NHL season.