Bedard’s fractured jaw robs fans of Battle of the Connors

Updated Jan. 10: Bedard will miss 6-8 weeks after undergoing surgery to repair his fractured jaw, according to Chicago Blackhawks physician Dr. Michael Terry.

A rematch between the Connors — Connor Bedard and Connor McDavid — is on hold as the Chicago Blackhawks center hit the IR with a broken jaw.

Bedard, the NHL’s top rookie, took a hit from Brendan Smith in the first period of Chicago’s 4-2 loss to the Devils.

There’s no timetable for Bedard’s return, though recovery time is generally 4-8 weeks.

Chicago’s next game is tomorrow against Edmonton. It’s the second meeting of the season between the teams, with the latter led by McDavid, the reigning Hart Memorial Trophy winner.

Bedard, the No. 1 pick of the 2023 Draft, leads all rookies in points (33), goals (15) and assists (18). He surpassed Jeff Skinner as the youngest player selected to the All-Star Game.

As for the hit that’s paused Bedard’s stellar campaign, thoughts were varied.

“I don’t think it was his [Smith] intent to hit,” Chicago’s head coach Luke Richardson said after the game. “I think he was just playing hard on the blue line and trying to keep the puck out on the penalty kill.”

“There’s no intent. It’s just a solid hit,” added Devils coach Lindy Ruff.

Bedard’s teammate Bris Katchouk disagreed.

“Everybody saw it,” he told the media. “It’s dirty. I think it’s dirty.”

Additionally, Nick Foligno is out due to a fractured finger in his left hand after fighting Smith for the hit. The Blackhawks now have nine players on their IR, including Taylor Hall and Andreas Athanasiou. Five players (Bedard, Foligno, Anthony Beauvellier, Seth Jones, and Taylor Raddysh) have all been placed on the list in the last four games.

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