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Red Wings enjoying the advantages of an extended bye break

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News

Detroit — The Red Wings are basically shut down, off work, out of the office, for a week.

After Wednesday’s loss in Minnesota, they dispersed to destinations all over (mainly warm), with Tyler Bertuzzi the lone Wings’ player headed to St. Louis for the All-Star Game.

Justin Abdelkader

With their bye week tacked on to the end of the All-Star break, the Wings don’t gather for practice again until Thursday, when they’ll hit the ice at Madison Square Garden.

This is the second year the NHL has attached the bye week to the All-Star break — one half going before the break, the other half afterward.

Before, the bye would be at different parts of the schedule.

This way, said forward Justin Abdelkader, works much better.

“If you ask all the guys in the room, to have the extended break, it feels like you’re on vacation,” Abdelkader said. “You can go and it doesn’t feel like you’re coming right back. Sometimes, before, you’d go somewhere, and if it was a 3- or 4-day break, it didn’t feel like much of a break because you’d feel like you’d be traveling back and forth (quickly).

“If you ask guys, this way is better.”

But that are ramifications for this kind of schedule.

This season’s schedule is more compact with few breathers, with three-games in four-nights, and back-to-backs quite common.

“The schedule can be tough,” Abdelkader said. “With the consecutive nights, and 3-in-4s, and it’s been busy. But they’d (players) much rather have this kind of break."

But don’t count coach Jeff Blashill as a huge fan of the extended bye week.

The way the schedule is devised these days, because of the bye week, there’s precious little time for quality practices and travel is much more intense.

“The season has been so condensed,” Blashill said. “You get no practice time and play every other day. The travel is crazy, you go back and forth and back and forth, especially in the East.”

Blashill would rather have the bye week days sprinkled in during the regular season, to alleviate the logjams that were prevalent in November’s schedule, and upcoming in February.

“It would make it a little better,” Blashill said.

Still, Blashill likes the fact teams are now playing against other teams that have been similarly on break, coming out of the schedule.

“It’s a little bit different than it used to be, in the sense that you used to have to come back and play a team that wasn’t on break, and that was a huge disadvantage,” Blashill said. “The NHL’s done a good job of at least pairing the break groups together, and you come back and play a team that’s in the same boat.

“You get to practice a little bit earlier also (two hours earlier), so you get into the city a little earlier. Those are all positives.”

ted.kulfan@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @tkulfan