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Blackhawks' Jarred Tinordi knows exactly what Connor Bedard is going through: ‘I feel for him'

Blackhawks' Jarred Tinordi knows exactly what Connor Bedard is going through: ‘I feel for him' originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

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Chicago Blackhawks rookie forward Connor Bedard underwent surgery on Monday to repair his fractured jaw and is expected to miss roughly 6-8 weeks.

Jarred Tinordi, who suffered three facial fractures last season after taking a slapshot to the mouth, knows exactly what Bedard is going through.

"I feel for him," Tinordi said. "It's not anything I wish on anybody. It's tough."

Tinordi said he's been checking in on Bedard, who suffered a fractured jaw after taking a big hit from New Jersey Devils defenseman Brendan Smith on Jan. 5.

It took Tinordi seven weeks to return from his injury last season, although his fractures were more on the severe side. He had to see a trauma surgeon to treat his injury, and it doesn't sound like Bedard had to go that route.

"They had to do a whole bunch of work up there to fix it all," Tinordi said of his own situation.

About two weeks after the surgery, Tinordi said he was cleared to start working out again. It came with some restrictions.

"Breathing was tough," Tinordi said. "You can't take that big gulp of air through your mouth like you normally do."

Bedard will likely be on a similar path.

"There's a timeline for him too, almost like a concussion protocol," Blackhawks head coach Luke Richardson said. "I think he'll graduate to the bike in the gym after surgery, and then get to the [ice]. He'll be probably trying to negotiate to get on early, I'm sure. But we'll just try and manage that as best as possible."

Tinordi said one of the hardest parts about his recovery process was eating soup every day, which he did for about a month because he had his jaw wired shut for five weeks. He had two plates put in.

"It's tough when you're eating soup every day and you don't have an appetite for it," Tinordi said. "It's hard but it gets easier. Initially it's tough but two or three weeks into it it gets easier."

The Blackhawks' team chef Dee Dee Saracco recently delivered Bedard his food supplies, and Richardson assisted because he and Bedard live in the same building.

"I ran into her in our building and helped her unload her truck," Richardson said. "You know, like one of those hotel carts? It was full. So he's got lots of help. I think his mom’s here too, so he's going to be well taken care of.

"And I know the trainers are with him all through the steps of going to the doctors and to the surgery, so everybody's looking after him the way they would with anybody, but especially for a young guy and his first time through it, just to give them some reassurance and insurance that he's got the support around him."

Tinordi lost about 15 pounds within the first four days of the surgery. He quickly gained it back once he was able to eat solid foods again.

"Physically, he'll be fine," Tinordi said. "He takes good care of himself as it is. It's just a process."

The mental side is a different story.

"That's the hardest part," Tinordi said. "We all know how much he loves hockey, right? I mean, he has teammates to rely on, everyone's checking in on him to make sure he's doing OK. And once he starts feeling better, he'll be around the rink and that'll help a lot. I know for me, getting around the rink even though you're not playing, it definitely helped keep your spirits up."

Once he was cleared to return, Tinordi said he didn't feel restricted in any way. He trusted that he was fully healed.

Tinordi didn't wear a faceshield upon returning to the lineup, Bedard likely will, although that should feel normal for him because he wore one at the 2023 IIHF World Junior Championship.

Needless to say, the recovery process isn't going to be fun for Bedard, but he has support all around him and that should help him in some way.

"It's a grind, honestly," Tinordi said.

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