Everyone ready for an NFL-style bye week to come to the NHL? Because it’s coming next season.
Everything is always a negotiation between the NHL and NHL Players’ Association when it comes to many of their events, and the All-Star Game is certainly a great example.
It has been well publicized that as part of accepting the 3-on-3 format proposed by the NHL, the players wanted the Friday night player draft axed.
But another key item gained by the players in these negotiations was some extra time off in the grinding regular-season schedule, a source told ESPN.com.
The league and the NHLPA have committed to building a "five-day bye week" for each team into the schedule next season. The league will schedule one for each club between Jan. 1 and Feb. 28 next season.
Players won’t have to report for practice until after 4 p.m. on the fifth day if they have a game on the sixth day, a source said. If the players don't have a game on the sixth day, they would have the entire fifth day off.
For the NHLPA, I think this was important on two fronts:
1. To get a break for their top players in a World Cup year, notably since some of those same players will also be participating in the All-Star Game. Besides, it’s not always easy to convince some of the star players to show up for All-Star weekend given the grind of the season, so getting a new break next season will help in that regard as well.
2. It’s just as desirable for the rest of the 700-plus players at large, too, even those who never play in All-Star Games. Take the Olympics for example. All players love Olympic participation because it allows those who don’t partake -- the vast majority of the membership -- to rest during that break. Hence the same philosophy here with this new, five-day bye week starting next season.
So there you go, the NHL is going NFL-style with a bye week in the second half next season, and players will be grateful to rest their weary bones during it.