Blackhawks' Connor Bedard surprisingly back on the ice a week after jaw surgery

Blackhawks' Connor Bedard surprisingly back on the ice a week after jaw surgery originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

Presented by Nationwide Insurance Agent Jeff Vukovich

Chicago Blackhawks rookie phenom Connor Bedard was on the ice wearing a non-contact jersey after Monday's practice at Fifth Third Arena, exactly one week after undergoing surgery to repair his fractured jaw.

Bedard, who was seen sporting a full faceshield, apparently had been lobbying the trainers to skate even before Monday. The team finally approved, but put restrictions on what he could do.

"He's been begging," Blackhawks head coach Luke Richardson said. "They said it's OK but he's been given specific instructions. He's not allowed to take slapshots. He's not allowed to really clench, so if they see that, they might pull the rug out from under him.

"I think he's just eager. It'll be good for him to get moving. He just has to be very careful, like early stages of clenching, so I don't even know if he can put anything in there cause I think it's still got, not completely wired shut but I think it's like elastic bands on it that keep it, so there's a minimal amount of movement."

Bedard was originally put on a 6-8-week timetable from the time of the surgery. Richardson said that timeline hasn't changed, but it would probably be a surprise to no one if Chicago's franchise cornerstone pushes to return earlier than that.

"I don't know how they check that, if they do a scan or something," Richardson said. "I know they do that with other bone breaks to see if there's cloudiness, but I think with the plate, there's a specific timeline, so they're probably going to stick close to it."

Bedard's teammates were a little surprised to see him on the ice this early, too. But then they realized it's Bedard they're talking about.

"I didn't even know he was going to skate today," Kevin Korchinski said. "He's itching to get back. Once he gets back, he'll be fresh and ready to go. It's probably the longest break he's had off hockey for a while. He'll be excited to go and he'll be humming out there."

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