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Blackhawks' Richardson: Canucks 'showed why they're No. 1 in the league'

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The Chicago Blackhawks dropped to 4-20-1 on the road this season with Monday's 2-0 loss to the Vancouver Canucks, who lead the league with 68 points.

While head coach Luke Richardson said his team made some errors, he also praised the Canucks for their strong play in the win.

“Well, that's the best team in the league, and I think it was a little bit of them and a little bit of us,” Richardson said. “We just didn't kill plays in the [defensive] zone, and they extended it and really came out ready to go.

"They flexed their muscles and showed why they're No. 1 in the league.”

The Blackhawks sit second last in the NHL standings with a 14-31-2 record. The team has enjoyed significantly more success in Chicago than on the road, posting a 10-11-1 mark on home ice this season.

“Let's be honest, our record on the road isn't great, and I think sometimes we're wading into games on the road,” said forward Nick Foligno, who returned from injured reserve Monday. “Maybe I have a little bit better perspective watching a few games, and our tenacity and our compete and our readiness at home, it doesn't seem to be [there on the road].

"It's almost like we're waiting to see what they're going to do before we respond, and tonight we get caught in that.”

 

Bedard remains out long-term

As the Blackhawks continue to struggle, it does not appear the team will be boosted by the return of star Connor Bedard rookie in the near future.

Bedard, who was given a six-to-eight week timeline with a broken jaw on Jan. 10, is still roughly six weeks away from a return, Richardson said Monday.

"It was six to eight weeks at the beginning was what was said, so I don't know; you're never going to know, but talk to me in a month,” Richardson told reporters. “He's not going to be the back by then. There's no change; it’s the same so I don't know, six weeks from the start or from now, it's still in between the timeline.

"He [isn’t] coming back next week, which would be great, but it's not about him wanting to or not. It's just about the medical side of things and the doctors will let us know when he's ready to come back."

The 18-year-old centre suffered the injury during Chicago's Jan. 5 loss to the New Jersey Devils on a hit by defenceman Brendan Smith as he entered the offensive zone. Selected first overall in the 2023 draft, Bedard has 15 goals and 33 points in 39 games. 

Bedard, who will miss the All-Star Game after being the youngest player ever named to the event, has resumed skating, but game action remains out of sight. 

“Even though he's wearing a bubble in practice, he can't exert yet,” Richardson said. “He's not supposed to clinch too hard and let the bones heal with the surgery they did, and even wearing the shield, that's going to bang into your chin, so that's only going to help when his bones are healed and that’s the timeline.”