Quenneville, Hawks working out right mix of rest and practice

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Quenneville, Hawks working out right mix of rest and practice

The Blackhawks practice schedule has been pretty quiet lately.

Actually, since starting the regular season on Jan. 19, the Blackhawks havent had one. Instead, theyve used those precious days between games to rest, to recuperate and recharge for their following game.

Guys dont mind having days off, coach Joel Quenneville recently said with a smile.

Yes, those days off are nice to have. But considering this hectic 48-game season, theyre more of a necessity than anything. The Blackhawks just wrapped up a slate of six games in nine days during which, any off day in between was truly an off day. When the Blackhawks take the ice on Tuesday, itll be their first practice since Jan. 18, the day before their season began.

The players have obviously relished those rest days with this schedule. And in one way, its not so bad: they usually like playing games over practices, too.

I dont mind this at all, actually, forward Viktor Stalberg said recently. Theres not too much down time but time flies by, playing every other day. Its been exciting so far.

Its not a bad thing, Stalberg said. But we want a practice in there at some point.

And that will come Tuesday. But thats mainly because this is the first time the Blackhawks have had two days in between games. When that happens, there may be more of a chance to practice; but even in those cases, rest may take precedent over on-ice work.

Weve got a pretty good idea, Quenneville said about the practicerest schedule. With a lot of travel days, if youre practicing and then rushing to get on the plane, you may be better off staying away from the rink instead. We dont have a lot of planned practice days based on how were starting, and we could even see fewer as we go along.

Still, as great as the Blackhawks start has been, there are going to be bumps in the road and kinks that need working out. When that happens, the Blackhawks will be reviewing things on film and implementing the changes in morning skate or as soon as they can in the game.

Were playing a lot of games, and everything we need to correct we can go over it in video and put it to good use right away, Jonathan Toews said. We need that attention to detail but we dont have time to practice things. So when its time to correct our mistakes, we have to be diligent about it and be as prepared as we can.

The Blackhawks know theyll need some practices during this sprint-like season. But they know theyll need rest more. With the way the schedule plays out in the early going, theyll likely be doing more of the latter than the former.

There are not a lot of breaks as we go along, Quenneville said. In an 82-game season, one day off (a week) was usually the norm. This year, if we need to stick an extra one in there, well do that.

Blackhawks sign defenseman Michal Kempny to extension

Blackhawks sign defenseman Michal Kempny to extension

Michal Kempny was in and out of the Blackhawks lineup last season but he’ll likely get a bigger opportunity this coming season. On Saturday, he was assured of coming back to get that chance.

Kempny and the Blackhawks agreed to a one-year extension, the team announced on Saturday morning.

“Michal’s style of play is an asset to our defense,” general manager Stan Bowman said in a statement. “He is the type of player who will continue to improve now that he has transitioned to the National Hockey League. We look forward to his continued development on the ice for the Blackhawks.”

Kempny was part of a very crowded blue line last season — he was one of eight defensemen at the start of it — and played 50 regular-season games. He recorded two goals and six assists in those contests but did not play in the Blackhawks’ four postseason contests. With Johnny Oduya and Brian Campbell likely not returning, however, Kempny should get a bigger opportunity this season.

The 26-year-old Kempny also had two goals and an assist in eight games for the Czech Republic team at the 2017 World Championship.

Blackhawks announce plans for NHL Draft Fan Fest

Blackhawks announce plans for NHL Draft Fan Fest

With exactly a month to go until Chicago hosts the 2017 NHL Draft for the first time ever, the Blackhawks and league announced Wednesday their plans for Fan Fest held outside the United Center on June 23 and 24.

A handful of Blackhawks players and alumni will be in attendance and made available for photo opportunities, as will the Stanley Cup. Fans will also be able to explore the NHL Centennial Fan Arena, "a 53-foot museum truck with an innovative interior featuring more than 1,000 square feet of interactive digital displays, original video content, one-of-a-kind historical memorabilia, unique photo moments and a social media wall," according to the press release.

A full list of activities, special guest appearances and schedule will be posted at a later date.

Friday's events will run from 3 to 9 p.m. while Saturday's festivites will go from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Parking Lot C, north of the United Center.

Additional passes for the weekend will be made available to the public starting June 9. For more information, visit chicagoblackhawks.com/fanfest.