When people think of the benefits of a short NHL lockout, most relate it to older players. A short season means these aging stars can still keep pace with the young guns in the league.
However, there are a lot of benefits to teams without a surplus of aging talent. The Chicago Blackhawks are one of them.
A short season comes with a lot of positives. Every team in the league can find something good about a season affected only mildly by a lockout.
Although the Blackhawks find themselves with a team that can easily handle a full 82-game schedule, playing in less games throughout the year also benefits them greatly.
So, here are the 10 reasons why a short NHL lockout would be beneficial to the Chicago Blackhawks.
If the NHL season is in fact shortened due to a lockout, it will make things a lot easier on Chicago sports fans.
If the lockout runs for a couple months, baseball season will be over and football season will be slowly winding down. All those Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox and Chicago Bears fans will have to look elsewhere for sporting events.
In steps the NHL.
This is not to suggest that the Blackhawks are struggling to get fans, because they are not. The team actually led the NHL in total and average home attendance in the 2011-12 season. What it does suggest, however, is that, with less teams competing for fans, the Blackhawks may be able to add to their following.
A short lockout would mean the Blackhawks season starting at the best time possible instead of the usual time, when they would have to compete with the other major leagues.
An NHL lockout won't mean the American Hockey League will stop running. Brian Petrovek, the managing owner of the Portland Pirates AHL franchise, reinforced this to Paul Betit of the Portland Press Herald:
We as a league are run independently and expect full rosters and to obviously operate a complete, full uninterrupted season, much like we've done in the past.
Young Blackhawks players will still have the opportunity to hone their talents playing in Rockford for the Icehogs.
Players such as Brandon Saad and Brandon Pirri already have a good shot to make the starting day roster of the Chicago Blackhawks. They will have an even better chance if they come into camp after already starting the season with the Icehogs.
This opportunity will give them time to reacquaint themselves with the game. Getting their feet back and readjusting to the speed of the game will give them an advantage going into a Blackhawks training camp.
The United Center is called the 'Madhouse on Madison' for a reason. It is home to some of the best fans in hockey—fans that get involved in the game and fans that are passionate about their team.
If the NHL suspends play for a few months it will not hurt the Blackhawks like it may other teams. The fans will come back hungry to see their Blackhawks fly. After all, they bring in the moat fans in the NHL, according to last years stats on ESPN.
Most likely, the team will put together another good season, which will also help improve the fans morale at the United Center.
Once the shortened season gets under way, the fans will be back in a heartbeat to support the team and make it tough again on visiting teams.
There has been a lot of talk in the media surrounding big name players traveling to Russia to play in the KHL. However, let's not forget that there will still be high level professional hockey being played in North America.
The AHL is going to run fully operational this season, and that means many Chicago Blackhawks could be playing in Rockford.
Don't be surprised if players such as Brandon Bollig, Jimmy Hayes and Andrew Shaw lace it up for the Icehogs.
Also, players who would normally have to pass waivers to travel between the AHL and NHL could make the switch if they wanted to. In an NHL lockout, the waiver process is non-existent.
With the Blackhawks out of business, the Icehogs will be the only alternative for many fans to get their hockey fix.
The Chicago Blackhawks are a very talented and deep team. However, they tend to rely on their star players for the majority of their needs. Players such as Jonathan Toews, Marian Hossa and especially Duncan Keith log a lot of minutes.
Their top players play in all situations—even strength, the power play or the penalty kill. These players always seem to be on the ice.
Keith was second among NHL players last season in ice-time, playing an average of 26 minutes and 53 seconds per game.
A shortened NHL season will allow Blackhawks players (not just Keith) to have high energy all season long. They will not have to be put through the rigors of 82 regular season games.
Of course, players have been training all summer to make sure their bodies are ready for this upcoming season. However, would it hurt them to keep working and make sure they are 110-percent for next year?
If there is a short lockout, players will not be jumping at the chance to play in Europe. They may stay at home first and see how it all plays out. In the mean time, however, they are going to need to keep busy to stay in game-shape.
Players go into each offseason knowing what they need to work on. Take young Marcus Kruger. He wanted to get stronger and faster in the offseason. Whether or not he was able to accomplish that remains to be seen.
Nonetheless, extended time to train gives the players the chance to work on what they need, or, possibly, to look into something they did not have time for during the summer.
In the grand scheme of things, this is what it's all about: making money.
A lockout of any kind means the players will not have to be payed. That alone saves the Chicago Blackhawks a huge amount of money. Although it would not save the team the full extent of each players contract, it would still be a substantial amount.
No matter what, a team that has money is secure. The Blackhawks have money and have shown they are willing to spend it. Trying to bring in the best talent available shows confidence to the players and to the fan base.
If ownership has money, then they will try to spending on making the team better. And that is a good thing.
Last season was not good for the Chicago Blackhawks staying healthy. They unfortunately had numerous players who went down with the injury bug.
The injury that stands out is the concussion suffered by Marian Hossa.
The injury came on a big hit by Phoenix Coyotes forward Raffi Torres that knocked Hossa out of last years playoffs. Although it seems like Hossa will make a recovery in time for this season, a shortened season due to a lockout would play in his favor.
Having extra time to get these players back into game shape is something that a shortened season would be able to help with.
A short lockout will give Chicago Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville some extra time to sit down and think about how he wants to handle this year.
Special teams, goaltending and overall defense have to be on the top of his agenda.
Having some extra time off gives Quenneville the chance to see young players that he may have to bring into his system. He will not have the commitment to manage the bench of the Blackhawks.
Although goaltending seems to be set, Quenneville is going to need to find something that will bolster the struggling power play and penalty kill. The addition of Michal Rozsival may help the struggling both.
Hopefully he uses his time wisely and finds something that will work, because these are key areas the Blackhawks need to improve upon.
Above all else, a short NHL lockout means there will be a season. There will not be another empty space inhabiting the Stanley Cup as there is the 2004/05 season.
The Chicago Blackhawks are coming into this season as one of the top dogs. That means the expectation is for them to win the Cup. After two seasons not making it past the first round of the playoffs, they need to return to playing the kind of hockey they did during their Cup winning year.
Without a season they will not be able to do that. However, with a season, even one that is shortened, the Blackhawks have another shot at winning the Stanley Cup.
Winning a cup has to be the team's only goal this season.