Rookie Connor Bedard Injured in Brutal Hit by Devils’ Brendan Smith, Sparks Brawl and Leaves Blackhawks Shorthanded


Newark, NJ – Connor Bedard, the rookie for the Chicago Blackhawks, was blindsided by a high hit from New Jersey Devils defenseman Brendan Smith during a game on Friday. Bedard immediately left the ice, holding his face, and headed straight to the locker room. A brawl erupted behind the net involving Bedard’s teammates, Nick Foligno and Brett Seney. Bedard did not return for the second period and was ruled out for the rest of the game.

In the second period, Nick Foligno engaged in a lengthy fight with Brendan Smith, further aggravating the situation. Unfortunately, Foligno also sustained an injury and did not return to the game. Coach Luke Richardson provided little information about the injuries after the game, stating that they would be further evaluated upon their return to Chicago.

The incident marked the first time in his NHL career that Bedard had suffered an injury. The 18-year-old had played in every one of the Blackhawks’ first 38 games, averaging nearly 20 minutes of ice time. However, on Friday, he was only able to play for 3 minutes and 5 seconds before being forced to leave the game.

Opinions on the hit varied among the players. Hawks forward Boris Katchouk believed the hit was dirty, while Coach Richardson suggested that Bedard had collided with Smith as he stopped, rather than Smith intentionally stepping up on Bedard.

Earlier in the day, Bedard had discussed his nomination as the Hawks’ representative in the All-Star Game. Little did he know what awaited him later in the game. The Blackhawks have been plagued by injuries lately, with multiple players sidelined during their winless road trip.

The list of injured players for the Blackhawks now includes Bedard, Foligno, Taylor Hall, Andreas Athanasiou, Seth Jones, Joey Anderson, Taylor Raddysh, Tyler Johnson, Anthony Beauvillier, and others. The team will need other players to step up to compensate for the absence of key players moving forward.

Despite the injuries, the Blackhawks showed determination and resilience, putting up a competitive fight in the game. However, their short-handed roster poses a challenge for future games. The team’s schedule for the weekend includes a home game against the Flames on Sunday.

The injuries have put a strain on the Blackhawks’ roster and salary cap. With the available players, Philipp Kurashev and Jason Dickinson are currently the top scorers. Defenseman Jarred Tinordi acknowledged the challenges they face but emphasized the need for players to step up.

As for potential replacements from the Rockford team, the options include Mike Hardman, David Gust, and Anders Bjork. Another potential option might be Zach Sanford from the Coyotes, who was put on waivers on Friday.

In summary, Connor Bedard sustained an injury from a high hit by Brendan Smith, causing him to leave the game. Nick Foligno also got injured during a fight later in the game. The injuries add to the challenges faced by the injury-ridden Blackhawks team, which has multiple key players out of action.