Tonight the Chicago Blackhawks will take on one of the leagues best teams in the Vancouver Canucks (66 points in 46 games). Connor Bedard will miss yet another chance to skate on the ice against his favorite team growing up (Bedard is from the North Vancouver area). The Blackhawks' star center does seem to be progressing faster than expected though as he has been on the ice now a few times.
Charlie Roumeliotis of NBC Sports posted a few videos recently of Bedard on the ice doing non-contact shooting and drills:
The video is from yesterday and shows Connor Bedard wearing a full face shield as expected to protect his repaired fractured jaw that he suffered in his matchup against the New Jersey Devils on January 5th. The hit by Brendan Smith not only took out Bedard, but also took out recently extended Nick Foligno (in a fight soon afterward). The resulting injuries have yielded in some adjustments by the Chicago coaching staff that are hopefully proving to be useful once the team has a full roster again.
With the absences of key players, some reserve players are also getting more opportunities. Boris Katchouk has 5 points in his last 9 games (coming off a multipoint game on Friday) while Joey Anderson netted his 2nd multi-point game of the season (also in the game against the Isles). Seth Jones return and the surprise play of recently signed Jaycob Megna has also lended depth to a defensive core lacking continuity due to injuries.
So with a game ahead that the league expects to be a blowout win for the Canucks, and all eyes on the progression of Connor Bedard, could the Blackhawks yet again surprise a team not thinking the end result is in question? Tune in tonight at 10:00 EST to find out.