The NHL’s All-Star Weekend is in the books, and it was a more somber one than years past. With rookie superstar Connor Bedard still on injured reserve while recovering from a fractured jaw, he wasn’t able to become the youngest player in NHL history to play in an All-Star game. Instead of naming another Blackhawk like Jason Dickinson or Petr Mrazek in his place, the league decided to fill the slot elsewhere, meaning Chicago wasn’t able to send a representative.
While he wasn’t a part of the game itself, Bedard was still in Toronto over the weekend, providing more than a few highlights for Blackhawks fans eager to get any content at all. The 18-year-old had quite the busy day Friday, which started when he received his trophy at the Hockey Hall of Fame for being crowned the IIHF Male Player of the Year.
Not long after his recognition, Bedard showed up at Scotiabank Arena, donned a Blackhawks sweater, and took the ice alongside some of the most talented hockey players in the world. He wasn’t able to compete in the Skills Competition, but he was able to take part as a guest passer for the one-timer contest. Interpret this information as you will, but Bedard’s pass recipients outperformed those of Sidney Crosby, Bedard’s counterpart.
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The Blackhawks weren’t the only team excited about Bedard’s presence at All-Star Weekend, as the Avalanche got in on the hype thanks to fellow first-overall pick Nathan MacKinnon:
Finally, Bedard made an appearance on the All-Star Game pregame show Saturday, where he was asked about a timeline for his return.
In typical Bedard fashion, the young star said he’d be back on the ice if it were up to him, but understands that it’s more important that he has the opportunity to fully heal. He didn’t offer a specific date for his return but certainly implied that it’s coming within at least the next few weeks, if not sooner. Side note: Bedard is still 18 years old and is answering questions on national television like a seasoned veteran. Chicago got a good one.