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Bedard out 6-8 weeks after surgery, will miss All-Star Game

Connor Bedard Chicago Blackhawks Connor Bedard - The Canadian Press

CHICAGO (AP) — Blackhawks center Connor Bedard is expected to miss six to eight weeks after he had surgery to repair his fractured jaw.

The team announced the operation and timeline for the 18-year-old rookie on Wednesday. It means he will miss the Feb. 3 NHL All-Star Game in Toronto — dealing a blow to the league.

“I think they just are precautionary on a young guy having a trauma injury like that,” coach Luke Richardson said. “I mean if it's earlier, great, but I think that's probably a normal timeline for what they were thinking of what the procedure they did.”

Bedard got hurt when he was leveled by New Jersey defenseman Brendan Smith midway through the first period of Friday night’s 4-2 loss to the Devils. The No. 1 overall pick in last year's draft was hit after he carried the puck into the Blackhawks’ offensive zone.

While Chicago has struggled this season, falling into last place in the Central Division, Bedard has been impressive. He has a team-high 15 goals and 18 assists in 39 games.

“I think he'll graduate to the bike in the gym after a surgery, and then get to the (ice),” Richardson said. “But he'll be probably trying to negotiate to get on earlier, I'm sure, but we'll just try and manage that as best as possible.”

The Blackhawks' long list of injured forwards also includes Nick Foligno (fractured left finger), Anthony Beauvillier (left wrist), Tyler Johnson (right foot) and Andreas Athanasiou (groin). But Joey Anderson and Taylor Raddysh returned to the lineup for Tuesday night's 2-1 loss to Edmonton.

Seth Jones, the team's top defenseman, also is on IR with a shoulder injury. He hasn’t played since Dec. 10.

The 29-year-old Jones wasn't ready to travel with the team for Thursday night's game at Winnipeg, but he is skating again and nearing a return.

“Today was his first day with a practice other than a morning skate,” Richardson said. “He did a little bit of bumping today, but we didn't have much bumping in practice so he's going to stay back and do some more tomorrow, and then hopefully join us for a full practice on Friday and go from there.”




Blackhawks' long injury list

Chicago has been one of the most injury plagued teams in the NHL this year, with nearly $39 million in salary currently shelved on injured reserve. 

The list of injured players includes Seth Jones, Taylor Hall, Tyler Johnson, Andreas Athanasiou, Anthony Beauvillier, Nick Foligno and Bedard.

To help fill their roster, the Blackhawks claimed forward Zach Sanford off waivers Saturday from the Arizona Coyotes.

Currently sitting second last in the NHL standings ahead of only the San Jose Sharks, the Blackhawks will take on the NHL-leading Winnipeg Jets on Thursday.