Blackhawks welcome rest, announce new ECHL affiliate

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With a gap between games from Sunday to Thursday, the Chicago Blackhawks are taking advantage of a rare late-season rest by taking the last two days off from practice, as CSNChicago.com’s Tracey Myers notes.

The Blackhawks expect to provide an update on Jonathan Toews on Wednesday, as his injury might not be very serious, but they might give him a breather anyway. Banged-up winger Bryan Bickell believes that he can play in that next game against the Minnesota Wild on Thursday.

Myers believes that this time off could indeed be helpful for the defending champions, who seem to be limping a bit toward the final stretch:

The break comes at a good time, really. The Blackhawks, mired in a three-game losing streak, have looked tired as of late. We’re guessing that, because they’d never say that. But let’s face it: the Blackhawks have played a lot of hockey over the past two seasons, with little respite. That goes double for the Blackhawks’ 10 Olympians.

In other Blackhawks news, the team announced that they’ve reached a five-year ECHL affiliate agreement with the Indy Fuel, a team that will debut in the 2014-15 season.