Connor Bedard CHI injury status

CHICAGO -- Connor Bedard will be out 6-8 weeks for the Chicago Blackhawks after having surgery on his fractured jaw Monday.

"I think they are just precautionary on a young guy having a trauma injury like that," Blackhawks coach Luke Richardson said Wednesday. "You know, if (he comes back) earlier, great. But I think that's probably a normal timeline for what they were thinking of what the procedure they did."

The No. 1 pick in the 2023 NHL Draft was injured in a 4-2 loss to the New Jersey Devils on Jan. 5 on a hit from defenseman Brendan Smith. Bedard skated into the offensive zone and was checked by Smith in the slot. He left the ice with his hand at his mouth.

The rookie forward leads the Blackhawks and all NHL rookies with 33 points (15 goals, 18 assists) in 39 games. He was named last Thursday to the 2024 NHL All-Star Game, which is Feb. 3 in Toronto.

Richardson and Blackhawks defenseman Jarred Tinordi said the team and its staff will do everything it can to support Bedard during his recovery.

"We all know how much he loves hockey, right?" Tinordi said. "He has teammates to rely on, everyone’s checking in on him, making sure he’s doing OK. Then once he starts feeling better, he can be around the rink. That’ll help a lot. I know for me, getting around the rink, even when you’re not playing, definitely helped keep your spirits."

The crew on the Calder race with Bedard's injury

Tinordi is familiar with what the 18-year-old will be going through. He broke his jaw when he was hit in the face with a puck in a game against the New York Rangers on Dec. 18, 2022. Tinordi said he resumed cardio two weeks after his injury but didn’t return to game action until Feb. 11.

"I mean, your day-to-day doesn’t change too much. He can go in the gym after two weeks or whatever," Tinordi said. "You can work out, you can lift, you can do all that. Physically he’ll be fine. He takes good care of himself as it is so physically he’ll be OK. It’s just a process."

Blackhawks chef Dee Dee Saracco has already supplied Bedard with food to get him through his recovery, much like she did with Tinordi.

"I ran into her in our building and helped her unload her truck. You know, like one of those hotel carts? It was full. So he's got lots of help," said Richardson, who lives in the same building as Bedard.

"But I think his mom’s here too, so he's going to be well taken care of. And I know the trainers are with him all through the steps of going to the doctors and the surgery. So, everybody's looking after him the way they would with anybody, but especially for a young guy and his first time through it, just to give them some reassurance and insurance that he's got the support around him."

If the Bedard timeline is accurate, he will miss the Blackhawks’ game at the Vancouver Canucks on Jan. 22, which would have been his first NHL game in his home city. He would also miss the Blackhawks’ home game on Feb. 25 against the Detroit Red Wings and Patrick Kane, who played his first 16 seasons with Chicago, winning the Stanley Cup three times.

Forward Nick Foligno was also placed on injured reserve Saturday with a fractured left finger. He fought Smith at 5:04 of the second period and did not play the third period. Foligno skated on prior to the Blackhawks practice Wednesday, but there is no timeline for his return.

The Blackhawks (12-28-2), who are 1-2-0 without Bedard, lost 2-1 at the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday.

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