Connor Bedard reacts to Chris Chelios' ceremony, Patrick Kane's tribute

Connor Bedard reacts to Chris Chelios' ceremony, Patrick Kane's tribute originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

The specialness of Sunday's tributes to Chris Chelios and Patrick Kane is difficult to put into words.

For Chelios, the organization made him the franchise's ninth player ever to have his jersey retired. They lifted his No. 7 into the rafters in front of both the Blackhawks and Red Wings organizations, who he played for over his 26-year career.

For Kane, the team honored him with a well-crafted tribute video. But the standing ovation Kane received from the United Center crowd may have outlasted the length of the video. Both moments were indelible for the franchise and Blackhawks fans everywhere.

Including Connor Bedard.

"Yeah, it was great. We're all super happy for Cheli," Bedard told Darren Pang during the first intermission. "It's one of the best accomplishments you can get in the sport. It's unbelievable. Obviously, he's very deserving. It was great to see him celebrate with his family."

Before the game, Kane shared some kind words about Bedard, who's been the de facto successor of the Blackhawks' dynasty since 2010. Kane has passed the hypothetical torch to Bedard, the new face of the franchise.

"He’s been amazing," Kane said. "He’s been great. We talk about the fans and the city and how it’s such a great sports town, he’s in a great spot for that. I think the fans deserve another long run of a great hockey player and hopefully great teams behind him. But I think it’s a great way to kind of start the rebuild and to start with a player like that definitely accelerates it a little bit.

"He’s been special, I’m sure you guys see covering him every night. He’s worth the price of admission. He does special things. He’s going to be a great player for a long time."

Bedard, who has great respect and admiration for Kane, relished in the ovation he received during the first period. He was happy to be a part of the moment.

"The reaction to Kane's video there was pretty sweet," Bedard said. "I think the [the fans] would've gone on for 20 minutes. It was pretty cool to be a part of."

Still, for Bedard --- a ruthless competitor --- the focus for him and the Blackhawks remains on the game. The Red Wings are a team competing for the playoffs, and a win over them for the Hawks would mean a lot.

"We're here to win a game," Bedard said. "That was the message with all this stuff going on. It's awesome but we're here to get two points and so are they. We've never really taken that out of our mind."

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