Few things have made NHL teams grumble more this season than the advent of the new five-day "bye" weeks which go into effect for all 30 clubs in the second half of this season.
Many a coach and team executive has complained about the impact it has had on the already compressed schedule. Well, get used to it, it appears.
Sources within both the NHL and NHL Players' Association say the five-day bye weeks are part of the discussion again as both sides finalize the Los Angeles All-Star Game negotiations (the NHLPA got the five-day bye week last year as part of the Nashville All-Star format agreement).
Now, if the NHL ends up participating in the 2018 Winter Olympics next season, that two-week break would stand instead of the five-day bye week, a period in which players can't practice either -- they're away from the rink for five days, period.
However, should the NHL pull the plug on South Korea, and we'll perhaps know more this week on that subject at the board of governors meeting in Palm Beach, Florida, then the five-day bye week would very likely return as part of the 2017-18 schedule, sources on both sides confirmed.
The players value a break in the second half to rest their weary bones ahead of the stretch run. Heck, it's why 700 players love Olympic participation even though only an elite minority of them get to play in the actual tournament. The rest of the players just love the break itself.
But some coaches and GMs feel the five-day bye week just further compresses an already crazy schedule while also further limiting practice time.
Don't forget the players have CBA-mandated days off every month as well.
It's particularly tougher on Western teams with more rigorous travel schedules.
The five-day "bye'' weeks aren't pleasing everyone, but it appears they're here for another season if there's no NHL in South Korea.