The NHL is approaching All-Star Weekend, which also means all 31 teams will take their annual bye week soon. All teams are required to have a five-day break in the second half of the season.
Added as a provision to the collective bargaining agreement in 2015, the bye week was awarded in return for the players’ agreement to change the All-Star game to its current three-on-three tournament format. Players will be completely off-duty during these breaks, with no team practices allowed.
This season, the earliest breaks for teams start on Jan. 18, while others’ breaks start as late as Jan. 23 and last through the end of the month. All teams’ bye weeks bookend All-Star Weekend with 17 teams’ byes coming before and including the event in St. Louis (Jan. 24-26), while the other 14 teams’ breaks include and follow.
Here is everything to know about the upcoming breaks for NHL players:
What is the NHL’s bye week structure?
While the NHL utilizes the same “bye week” term the NFL uses, it’s not quite the same. In the NFL, two teams may not be playing on any given week: in the NHL, all NHL teams receive five guaranteed days off sometime in the latter half of January as part of a 2015 addition to the contractual bargaining agreement. This change was implemented in the 2016-17 season and always falls in the second half of the season.
This season, 17 teams have bye weeks that lead up to and include All-Star Weekend in St. Louis (Jan. 24-26), while the other 14 teams’ breaks include and follow the weekend in order to give teams a maximum possible amount of time off. The first bye weeks start on Jan. 18; a few teams will be off as late as Jan. 31.
What are players doing during their bye weeks?
Players certainly won’t be playing hockey in any official capacity during their official bye weeks, given the rule that no team practices are allowed during their time off, but Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston reported on Saturday that Toronto Maple Leafs players William Nylander, Kasperi Kapanen, Jake Muzzin and Frederik Andersen are going on a golf trip to Augusta National in Georgia.
Other players, such as Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin, are maximizing their time off by opting to skip the All-Star Game. This action earns Ovechkin a one-game suspension for not attending All-Star Weekend even after he was named Metropolitan Division captain, but in all reality, it just makes his vacation a little bit longer.
Some players who were up for All-Star Weekend’s Last Men In vote owned up to a similar thought process: Detroit Red Wings forward told the Detroit Free Press he likes the days off more than he would like being in the All-Star game.
When is each NHL team’s bye week?
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