It’s official: Connor Bedard has played his first-ever, long-awaited NHL game. The hyped first overall has been the talk of the NHL since getting drafted by the Chicago Blackhawks, and in his first game in the big league, he was up against his favorite player, Sidney Crosby.
Bedard said he slept like a baby the night before his debut game and was anxious to show the world what he could do.
There’s been a media circus around Bedard all summer, especially during the weeks leading up to his big premiere. Everyone talks about him, and every move he makes turns into news. And before the game against the Penguins in Pittsburgh, he drew attention for something he did during warm-ups.
Connor Bedard may not be your ordinary rookie, but he’s still a rookie. And for Bedard, just like other rookies, he had to do a solo lap at the start of warm-ups. Bedard hit the ice with fellow Blackhawks rookie Kevin Korchinski, but it was something else that had fans talking. Bedard, nor Korchinski, wore a helmet.
Since they changed it four years ago, the rules about wearing a bucket in warm-ups are pretty straightforward. This is what Rule 9.6 says:
”It is mandatory for all players who entered the NHL beginning with the 2019-2020 season or later to wear their helmet during pre-game warm-up.
”To be clear, all players who entered the league prior to the 2019-2020 season and who are currently playing are exempt from this mandate.”
Connor Bedard safely skated the round in his rookie lap, and later on in the warm-up, he donned a helmet. But rules are rules, and not even the NHL’s new golden boy can avoid this one, and it seems inevitable that he will receive a $2,500 fine Wednesday morning.
The Sportsnet broadcast team talked about Bedard’s no helmet situation on air, and according to them, it’s not impossible that the Blackhawks gave Bedard the okay not to wear it and will pay his fine. If they don’t, he’ll have the money to pay it off himself, as he’s currently on a contract carrying an AAV of $950,000.
Connor Bedard recorded one assist in his first game as the Blackhawks upset the Penguins, winning 4-2.