It was a long summer in Chicago Blackhawks land. Since winning the 2023 NHL Draft Lottery back in the spring, there has been a lot of anticipation about what the future might hold. Of course, it was all centered around them drafting Connor Bedard with the first overall pick.
Connor, of course, had a lot of hype. He was dominant with the Regina Pats of the WHL in addition to an elite performance with Team Canada at the World Junior Classic. It was clear that he was different from the other prospects around him.
He was great through the prospect tournament, training camp, and the preseason leading up to the regular season opener on Tuesday night. They had him go against Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins. It turned out to be a fantastic game for him and the team as a whole.
The Pittsburgh Penguins came out firing as many expected. Bryan Rust and Sidney Crosby each scored goals to give the Pens a 2-0 lead. From there, it all went downhill for them.
Connor Bedard earned his first career point in the Chicago Blackhawks win.
Connor Bedard collected his first career NHL point as he assisted on a Ryan Donato goal that got the Hawks on the board. Donato’s first career goal in a Blackhawks sweater was an important one because it sparked a comeback.
Later on, Cole Guttman scored a pretty sweet goal to get the game tied in the third period. From there, the fourth line of veterans took over. Jason Dickinson scored to give the Hawks a 3-2 lead. Both Corey Perry and Nick Foligno earned their first points in Blackhawks sweaters with assists on the goal.
Bedard wasn’t the only rookie to make his NHL debut in the win. Kevin Korchinski was a part of it as well. It was great to see him out there. He had his moments but it is clear that he belongs. It should be just as fun to watch him develop as well. There are some great young players in the organization right now and he is right at the top.
The three then connected for an empty netter which put the game away. This match had everything. Connor Bedard earned his first career point and the veterans helped mount the comeback. It was an incredible way to get their first win of 2023-24.
Chicago had 8 comebacks of 2+ goals in 2022-23. Only the New Jersey Devils had more which is really impressive to see. The Hawks, despite their roster issues last year, established a culture of hard work. As the players get more talented while playing that way, the wins will start to come more often.
Now, the team will play its second road game in a row on Wednesday night when they take on the Boston Bruins. It should be a spectacular game. Bedard is looking for his first goal still and that will certainly be an exciting moment. From that point on, it will be all about his development. It is truly exciting.
Hockey is officially back and the Blackhawks kicked off the new season in style. We will see how this developmental year goes for the young group.