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Bedard Assist Helps Blackhawks Defeat Penguins In Opener


In his NHL debut, Connor Bedard accomplished everything but scored a goal.

And yet the rookie for the Chicago Blackhawks still dominated.

The highly anticipated debut of the No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 draft took place on Tuesday night, and the Chicago Blackhawks’ 4-2 victory over Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins showed that the No. 1 pick lived up to the hype.

The Blackhawks, who won the selection lottery, came back from a 2-0 hole to defeat the seasoned Penguins, but if the game’s conclusion was unexpected, Bedard’s easy entry into the NHL was not. As soon as the first faceoff began, the 18-year-old Chicago sensation was up against his childhood hero, three-time Stanley Cup champion Sidney Crosby, who was also his idol.

It was the classic “Welcome to the NHL kid” scene. However, Bedard did not benefit from the outcome.

Bedard didn’t allow the early defeat to undermine his self-assurance. He concluded the night with 21:29 of ice time (leading all forwards), 5 shots on goal, 11 shot attempts (the second-most in an NHL debut since 2009–10), and 1 assist, demonstrating immediately why he has been classified as a player of the generation.

He became the second-youngest player in Blackhawks history to record a debut point, after Eddie Olczyk in 1984, and the youngest player to get a point in a season-opening since Aleksander Barkov in 2013.

Bedard only fell short in one area: the faceoff circle, where he only managed a 2-for-13 record. But he added that it won’t take away from the fact that his debut in the NHL was a memorable one despite months of anticipation.

Luckily for Bedard, the memories will live on forever.

His ancestry didn’t stop him from participating in all the customary NHL rookie rituals or from having a somewhat anxious pregame moment. Bedard, who appeared to have forgotten to grab a stick, was seen frantically searching before the Blackhawks on the field for warmups before finding one on the equipment rack.

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