Chicago Blackhawks rookie forward Connor Bedard took a big open-ice hit in the first period in Monday's 4-2 loss to the New Jersey Devils and did not return.
The Blackhawks announced Bedard would miss the rest of the game before the second period. He played four shifts and 3:05 of ice time on the night.
After the game, Chicago coach Luke Richardson didn't give much of an update on Bedard.
When asked about Bedard, Richardson said he “didn't get back into the game.” “We're going to take everybody home and check him at home to see if there's anything. So hopefully we'll know more tomorrow.
A road trip from hell for the Blackhawks.
12/29 at Dallas: Taylor Radish is injured. No timetable.
12/31 at Dallas: Tyler Johnson is injured. Foot in a walking boot.
1/2 at Nashville: Anthony Beauvillier is injured. Hand in a sling.
1/5 in Jersey: Connor Bedard is injured. TBD.
— Mark Lazerus (@MarkLazerus) January 6, 2024
The injury occurred when Bedard handled the puck through the Devils defense, split two defenders at the blue line and skated directly to charging Devils defenseman Brendan Smith. The force of the hit sent Bedard to the ice, and he immediately grabbed his face with his right hand. Bedard stood up, skated off the ice and went directly to the Blackhawks' locker room.
Bedard wasn't the only player Chicago lost to injury Friday. Forward Nick Foligno left the game after brawling with Smith in the second period. The Blackhawks announced Foligno would miss the rest of the game before the third period. Foligno has eight goals and nine assists in 39 games this season.
Chicago forward Boris Katchok thought the hit on Bedard was dirty.
“Everybody saw it was dirty, so I guess it was dirty,” Katchouk said.
Richardson was less certain.
“I haven't seen it many times yet,” Richardson said. “I saw it quickly on the bench. I don't know if it was dirty. I think Connor was making a play and he didn't see him because he was a player behind. I don't think he stepped on him. I think he just kind of stopped and Connor kind of ran into him in the head.
“It didn't mean he was aiming to score or anything. I think he was playing hard at the blue line and trying to kill the penalty kill.
Richardson was fine with Foligno advancing in Bedard's defense.
“Players are always going to take exception and be hotter because they're invested and they're their teammates.” Richardson said. “That's always a good thing. That's a good sign. This team is a good close team and has done that all year. He did a great job out there. I thought any penalties Nick got tonight he killed guys and guys. Nick is the leader.
Bedard, 18, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 draft, was named to the NHL All-Star Game on Thursday. He has 15 goals and 18 assists in 39 games this season.
Bedard is the latest player to be added to the Blackhawks' growing list of injuries. Their injury reserve list already includes Taylor Hall, Seth Jones, Tyler Johnson, Taylor Radish, Anthony Beauvillier, Joey Anderson and Andreas Athanasiou.
(Photo: Rich Graessle / NHLI via Getty Images)