It was only a matter of time before Connor Bedard found the back of the net. But the Chicago Blackhawks phenom buried it without an impediment in the paint, Red Wings goalie Michael Hutchinson yanked and watching from the bench on a late Blackhawks man advantage.
Probably not how Bedard envisioned that first goal. But it’s only preseason after all, right?
“You know what, he’s kind of a humble guy–he doesn’t want to celebrate that,” head coach Luke Richardson said. “He didn’t even really celebrate coming in. he’s kind of bashful. He wants to score a nice goal and I don’t know if he even counts those but I count them.
There are no pictures in the goal column, it’s just the number. I think he just wants to have a good game here at home, especially.”
Empty netter be damned, Bedard adds a goal with four assists in three preseason games. In some respects, it seems like less. In another way, it seems like more. But it was only a matter of time that Bedard got on the board–whether or not there was a netminder trying to swat it away.
But a lot if it is based off perception. Every time he touches the puck while on home ice, there’s noisy anticipation from the crowd. Getting even an ounce of room to tee up a shot has the crowd sucking in its collective breath, waiting to let it out with a roar of approval.
Playing the percentages, it was a matter of time before the power play clicked, especially one with Bedard on it. But the real value he brings isn’t just his shot–it’s what he does after the shot that stands out. A little happenstance as I was able to get the sequence before the goal. Watch how after signaling for a shot as he drifts into the circle, Bedard doesn’t give up on it. Instead, he takes a shot on goal, corrals it, and begins the sequence that ultimately ends with the game-winning goal from Corey Perry.
— Nate Brown (@NBrownChiHN) October 4, 2023
Richardson noted the playmaking, too. He also saw a future lesson in Bedard’s play that will come in handy down the road when the games matter in the standings.
“If we’re down a goal, a guy like that, we need him to maybe push the envelope a little bit and try some things,” Richardson said. “And when we’re up 3-2 he’s going to have to learn to lay a puck in sometimes where we have to forecheck.
Five points in three games, three of those points in Tuesday’s triumph. For sure, they’re just numbers.
But it’s the future scenarios where those numbers will really matter for Bedard and the Blackhawks.