It’s been just a week since rookie Connor Bedard underwent surgery to fix his fractured jaw. The Blackhawks’ superstar took a crushing hit a week and a half ago against the Devils, which sent him straight to the locker room holding his jaw. After a successful surgery to repair the injury, Bedard was given a timeline of six to eight weeks before he could get back into game action.
We should’ve known that Bedard wouldn’t be kept off the ice that long.
After Monday’s open practice at Fifth Third Arena, Bedard took the ice sporting a non-contact jersey and full face shield. Despite the incredibly short timeline, Bedard had been “begging” the team’s trainers to let him back on the ice. They finally caved, heavily restricting his activity.
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Bedard’s return was certainly a surprise to his teammates, including fellow rookie Kevin Korchinski, who said he “didn’t even know he was going to skate today.” However, with Bedard, nothing should be a surprise. Head coach Luke Richardson commented after the practice that, although his skating is a great sign, it likely won’t change his original timeline. With the Blackhawks near the bottom of the NHL standings, there’s no reason to rush the young star back (besides potentially winning the Calder Trophy). Nevertheless, it wouldn’t be too surprising if Bedard was able to beat his original timeline, because, well, he’s Connor Bedard.
Sure, Bedard doesn’t skate with his jaw instead of his legs, but seeing the Blackhawks’ star back on the ice is always a good sign. If Bedard learns anything from the experience besides keeping his head up when entering the zone, it’s to be comfortable in the fishbowl face shield – it’s a great look.