The NBA could look to the Blackhawks when it comes to resting players
Instead of resting players for big games, the Blackhawks use regular off days and optional practices to keep their big names fresh.
Several NBA teams have started resting players and most of them have been criticized for it. Fans are unhappy that they spend big money to go to a game only for LeBron James not to be there. TV networks are upset that the Golden State Warriors are sitting players on a big Saturday night when ratings should be high.
The Blackhawks are currently in a similar situation as, say, the Cleveland Cavaliers. Big name players, consistent playoff success, and yet the stars seem to play whenever they can. Different sport, yes, but both play similarly laid out 82-game seasons. So how does coach Joel Quenneville balance having players that play so much during the regular season yet bring it at such a high level during the playoffs?
One of the things that Quenneville has been known to do is to have optional morning skates and optional practices. During a recent stretch of 10 games in 17 days, the team only had one mandatory practice.
While resting players during games is something that has never seemed to be something Q considers, Trevor van Riemsdyk told the Chicago Tribune that players have to make use of the time off they’re given. It’s on them to get the rest they need and to take breaks at times.
The bye week gave the Blackhawks several consecutive days off in February, but that also meant a condensed run toward the end of the season.
For the Blackhawks, it seems like they have found a pace that works. Keeping their players on the ice for fans, but also giving them lots of rest in between games. LeBron has every right to sit out in meaningless games if he wishes, but the NBA would like to find a balance so the TV networks, the players, the fans, and everyone else involved is happy with the result.
If the Blackhawks started resting players like Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Marian Hossa, and/or Duncan Keith during the regular season, what would your reaction be?