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The “Bust” of Bedard: The Inglorious Revolution of the Chicago Blackhawks

Photo Courtesy of Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

It’s 2023 again in the city of bluegrass and country music, Nashville, TN. The NHL Draft is taking place. With whispers and hearsay about the draft, one player sticks out like a diamond in the rough: barely eighteen-year-old and baby blue-eyed Connor Bedard.

Granted exceptional status as a teenager by Hockey Canada, Connor Bedard is naturally gifted. From the likes of Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier, it was more than evident Bedard had a gift. During this time with the Regina Pats, Bedard became the youngest player to score fifty-plus goals. Record after record, Bedard broke them and collected these achievements under his belt. His talent would show when he was the first pick by the Chicago Blackhawks at the 2023 NHL Draft, who ended their 2022-2023 season (26-49-7). Chicago stood last in the Central Division and saw Connor Bedard as their leading opportunity to rebuild and bring Chicago back to the glory days of Patrick Kane and their three Stanley Cups.

Now, it’s March 2024. History repeats itself, and Chicago is at the bottom of the Central Division. Currently standing at (15-41-5), luck is not on Chicago’s side. On a 15-game losing streak, Twitter (X) goes wild, and it is not kind. From “poverty franchise” to “your team sucks”, all fingers are pointed at the star that was meant to save them: Connor Bedard.

Photo Courtesy of Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

But what many people don’t realize is that one kid can’t save an entire team. As they say, blame the coach, not the player.

Chicago had been struggling long before Connor Bedard stepped foot in the United Center. From the loss of Patrick Kane to Jonathan Toews, each loss was a blow to the team. Their glory days were coming to an end, and the team was scrambling for a rebuild. But no matter how many rookies they traded or lineups they switched, something just wasn’t working.

And there’s no explanation for why. It’s simply the way it is.

Connor Bedard is a part of the solution, but not the whole solution. Immature male hockey fans can’t seem to wrap their heads around it, and neither can anybody else. The media doesn’t help, either. They regard all of Bedard’s past accomplishments just because he is currently on one of the “worst” deemed teams in the NHL. They objectify Bedard and make fun of him, with no regard to his past, let alone his feelings. “He’s just a kid” seems to apply to everyone except Bedard.

A detail many forget too is that Bedard was injured. After breaking his jaw earlier at the start of 2024, Bedard was forced to sit out, and reasonably so. His sudden outage was taken with anger and shock, as if it’s his entire fault that Chicago “sucks.” Nothing Bedard can do or will do is ever going to be right or wrong. Even when he was recovering, Chicago rocked him back onto the ice to play. And they lost that night, and the night after that, it went back into its vicious cycle. Chicago, the fans, and the media have all exploited Bedard.

Photo Courtesy of Charles LeClaire/USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

Yet, people will still point fingers at him. The older he gets, the more he will get used to it. But now, Bedard is the new Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin, a part of the “poverty franchise” in their very inglorious revolution.

Edited by: Lily Hayes

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