The NHL is still locked out, and the Chicago Blackhawks remain inactive during this time. Some players are overseas honing their craft, while many are just hitting the various practice rinks to try and stay sharp. But one aspect of the organization is still chugging along: the AHL affiliate Rockford IceHogs.
As noted by CSN Chicago, the IceHogs and their players aren't getting a chance to make the Blackhawks roster this season, but play in the AHL will continue. Usually, players in the AHL have their sights set on making it to the NHL with strong play in the minor leagues, but now, they'll simply focus on winning within their own league.
But as noted in the piece, it could serve to give these players a big advantage if and when the NHL comes out of its lockout. Players from the AHL could hit the ground running, so to speak, and teams might be more open to bringing them on board sooner rather than later. It's an interesting dynamic given the way things usually work.
The players are just concentrating on what's in front of them, and there's plenty of quotes in the piece from players who are simply keeping themselves aware of the lockout, but not necessarily focused on it. They've got a job to do and, for now, that job doesn't include worrying about the lockout.