Connor Bedard’s fractured jaw leaves injury-riddled Blackhawks trying to regroup: ‘It’s just shock almost’

CHICAGO — Jason Dickinson saw the hit, but he couldn’t foresee the impact.

During Friday’s 4-2 road loss to the New Jersey Devils, Chicago Blackhawks rookie Connor Bedard took a hard hit from Devils defenseman Brendan Smith and skated off the ice at the Prudential Center holding his face.

“I was more afraid of a concussion, that’s what I was thinking,” Dickinson said. “I was like, ‘Ah, he’s holding his face. He must have gotten rattled, like, in his head.' Didn’t think jaw at all.”

The news came down later that night in the arena: Bedard suffered a fractured jaw and would go on injured reserve. The injury occurred about 24 hours after Bedard, the No. 1 pick in the draft, was named an NHL All-Star.

“Connor was just really upset last night,” Dickinson said after practice Saturday at Fifth Third Arena. “That’s pretty much all I talked to him about was just staying positive and being OK with where he’s at.”

And there was more bad news.

Linemate Nick Foligno suffered a fractured finger on his left hand while scrapping with Smith in defense of Bedard.

“Nick, also just extremely frustrated and rattled that it happened because — I don’t know how many fights he’s been in this year, but of course this (is) one that he goes and gets hurt,” Dickinson said. “He’s tough, so I don’t think it’ll hold him out very long.

“As soon as he’s strong enough to hold a stick, I’m sure he’ll be out there with us.”

Coach Luke Richardson couldn’t pin either to an estimated timeline.

“(Bedard’s) just having that looked after now, and we’re not sure how long him and Nick will be,” he said.

The Hawks aren’t just trying to summon strength right now, they’re trying to find bodies.

Five Hawks were injured during the five-game trip: Taylor Raddysh (left groin strain, Dec. 29 in Dallas), Tyler Johnson (right foot, Sunday in Dallas), Anthony Beauvillier (left wrist, Tuesday in Nashville, Tenn.), and Bedard and Foligno on Friday in New Jersey.

That’s not to mention three top contributors who are still on IR: Seth Jones, Andreas Athanasiou and Joey Anderson.

All but Jones are forwards.

Dickinson described the mood on the plane ride home.

“Honestly, it was just shock almost and disbelief that we can’t get through a game, we can’t get through a whole road trip. It’s crazy,” he said. “We lost, what was it, four guys on this road trip? Was it five? As much as it sucks losing that game last night, we don’t know what else to say at the end of the day. We just can’t stay healthy, we can’t keep guys on the ice. So the vibe was just shock.

“Last year was difficult — we thought. Seems like nothing compared to this now. I mean, you can’t really pin it. It’s not one thing or little chronic things or things from over-fatigue or things that have kind of been overworked or anything. They’re big.

“Radds is probably the one hockey injury that’s normal, the groin injury. Everything else is substantial and time. It’s not a week. It’s weeks and more.”

The Hawks on Saturday acquired forward Rem Pitlick from the Pittsburgh Penguins for a 2026 conditional seventh-round draft pick.

But in all practicality, Dickinson and Richardson are left to lead a battered roster that includes recent call-ups from Rockford and in Jaycob Megna’s case, a waiver claim.

The Hawks might have to go with 11 forwards and seven defensemen out of necessity.

“We’re always looking and searching, but that’s an ongoing process for management,” Richardson said. “Everyone’s a little banged up from a lot of hockey, and we have a lot of hockey to go here before our break to get a little rest. We have to try and manage that problem.”