In an interesting wrinkle to the negotiations that have brought us to the upcoming 3-on-3 All-Star Game, a part of the agreement between the NHL and the NHLPA is reported to include five-day bye weeks for every NHL team in the 2016-17 season.
The NHLPA negotiated, as a part of that agreement, that each team will get five days with no games or practices, according to a report from ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun. The bye week will take place for each team at some point between January 1 and February 28.
LeBrun goes into some detail on how the bye week will function:
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.
The new bye week will be in addition to the three-day break players get over Christmas and the All-Star Weekend.
The NHLPA was looking to get the additional time off for a number of reasons. The year can be a grind and some time off in the middle helps everyone. The All-Star Break is nice, but the league’s best players have little motivation to participate since by playing they’re losing their chance to rest their bodies.
Adding in the bye week as a part of the agreement to keep the All-Star Game in place helps make it a little easier to swallow for players.
It’ll also provide some welcome relief for the league’s top players in a year that will kick off with the return of the World Cup.
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Dustin Nelson is the News Editor for The Hockey Writers. He’s a contributor to Hockey Prospectus, Hockey Wilderness, and writes a column for Rotowire. He’s also written for Gone Puck Wild, Wild Xtra, InDigest, Electric Literature, The Rumpus, Tiny Mix Tapes, Prefix Magazine & other publications. Have a tip? Email him at dlukenelson[at]gmail[dot]com.