With the NHL lockout now officially upon us, fans and writers alike have begun scrambling to attempt to find the positives in the third work stoppage of the Gary Bettman era. For the Chicago Blackhawks, there aren’t really collective positives, but for a few players, the lockout could actually play into their favor.
As far as bigger names on the roster go, Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa should be able to take advantage of a short lockout. Toews may go over and play in Europe, but could be better served to work out here and make sure he is at absolutely 100 percent after concussions the past two seasons.
Hossa is in need of extra time perhaps more than anyone. He’s still recovering from that brutal hit in the postseason, courtesy of Raffi Torres. He was expected to be ready for training camp, but given the dire state he was in following the hit, an extra month or two would probably do him some good.
Young players could also benefit from a bit of extra time before the season begins, assuming that one is going to take place. Brandon Saad could have benefited from some time in Rockford to start the year anyway. Now he doesn’t really have a choice. He has big potential and will get a bit of extra seasoning to start the year.
Really, though, young players as a group should be able to take advantage of this. Kids like Andrew Shaw, Ben Smith, and Brandon Pirri, among others, will already be playing by the time training camp could roll around. That should allow them to carry some momentum into training camp.
The Blackhawks obviously did not enjoy the deep run into the playoffs that some teams did, which means this lockout won’t do much to give them extra rest. They’ve already had plenty. But for a select few on this roster, they have a bit of extra time to recover, work out or get some extra playing time under their belt before the season rolls around, hopefully by November.