Question 1: The bye week is absolutely a good thing despite leaving us NHL fans pondering on what to do for five days. However, with the Blackhawks on such a hot streak it could affect the level of play negatively or positively.
For the sake of the players, it’s a great thing. We will just hope the ‘Hawks can keep up the momentum.
The results speak for themselves, and both players are leading by example which is so necessary with such a young group of guys.
Question 1: Results so far indicate that teams coming off a five-day bye week are at a disadvantage, having to shake off rust while facing an opponent playing at full tempo. Mid-season downtime should be scheduled at the same time for all teams to put everyone on equal footing. Adding a couple days to the All-Star break or the Christmas break would fit this model.
Alternatively, the schedule could be decompressed a bit to avoid scenarios like the Blackhawks having to play seven games in 11 days from March 9-19.
Question 2: Corey Crawford. If it comes down to the extended performance of one player, it has to be the goaltender.
Just like he carried the ‘Hawks for much of the early season, if Crow can play at a consistently high level down the stretch, he is fully capable of stealing some games when the rest of the team might falter. The Blackhawks could ride hot goaltending deep into the playoffs.