Skip to main content


Bedard leaves early vs. Devils after taking hit

Brendan Smith Connor Bedard New Jersey Devils Chicago Blackhawks Brendan Smith Connor Bedard - The Canadian Press

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Chicago Blackhawks rookie Connor Bedard departed Friday night’s game against New Jersey after he was leveled by Devils defenseman Brendan Smith in the first period.

Bedard was hit by Smith at 10:49 after he carried the puck into the Blackhawks' offensive zone. Bedard then skated to the bench holding his face as Nick Foligno, Brett Seney and several teammates ignited a skirmish with Smith behind the Devils net.

Bedard went straight to the Chicago locker room.

Blackhawks coach Luke Richardson said after his team's 4-2 loss that Bedard would evaluated after the team returned to Chicago.

“He obviously banged his head,'' Richardson said. "We’ll get him checked out at home by our specialists to see if everything is OK.”

After the All-Star departed, there was a series of skirmishes between the teams.

Blackhawks defenseman Jarred Tinordi had words with Smith as the teams were skating off the ice after the first.

Foligno and Smith had a prolonged bout early in the second period. Blackhawks defenseman Alex Vlasic also fought with Devils forward Nathan Bastian as part of a general on-ice fracas with most of the crowd at Prudential Center to its feet.

At one point, there were four Blackhawks and three Devils in their respective penalty boxes.

Devils coach Lindy Ruff felt Smith's hit on Bedard was clean.

"It’s unfortunate where he got him,″ Ruff said. “At different times, all young players learn. ... I learned the hard way, I got knocked out cold.

"You’ve got to be aware. There was no intent or anything. That was just a solid hit.”