The Chicago Blackhawks stayed out of their skates on Tuesday, opting for an off-ice workout after being completely off on Monday.
They’ll enjoy these rest/light practice days while they can because very soon, their schedule is going to get very hectic.
Starting with Thursday night’s tilt against the Phoenix Coyotes, the Blackhawks will play 10 games in 17 days to wrap up November. That includes that lengthy circus trip that will keep them on the road from Nov. 18-30. So while this early part of the week has been light, the Blackhawks won’t complain.
“These days here are going to be important,” Johnny Oduya said. “It’s nice to not skate today, to get in the gym, do some work and get back on the ice tomorrow. This is an important couple of days to get some rest, focus and get back at it.”
The circus trip isn’t new to anyone on the Blackhawks roster. This is the time of year when they have to buckle down, stay as fresh as possible and get ready for the onslaught of games. The Blackhawks have fared well on the road this season (5-1-1), so that’s not a concern. But keeping their energy level up will be pivotal, and these days come in handy for that.
“Looking on our schedule here, going forward, it’s going to be pretty intense,” Niklas Hjalmarsson said. “So these days when you don’t have to get on the ice, it’s going to mean a lot when you have those back-to-back games and three (games) in four nights. It’ll be an advantage for us.”
UP AND DOWN
The Blackhawks’ penalty kill took a hit – make that two hits – in allowing the Edmonton Oilers two power-play goals on Sunday night. Coach Joel Quenneville was admittedly not happy with the outing, especially with the team’s kill coming off a 6-for-6 performance against the Dallas Stars the previous night. But players say they’ll keep working at it.
“Except for the start it’s been OK,” Oduya said. “You don’t expect it to be perfect every night, but there are some things. There’s always room for improvement.”
Michal Rozsival is “doing better,” according to Quenneville, after taking a puck to his mouth on Sunday night.
“He lucky where he got it. It didn’t cause severe damage,” Quenneville said.
As for whether Rozsival plays/is available for Thursday night’s game against Phoenix, Quenneville said the team will re-evaluate after Rozisval practices tomorrow.