Bedard wows at Blackhawks scrimmage -- but so does Reichel
Expectations for Connor Bedard will be sky high all season, so fans and reporters were certainly curious to see how the Blackhawks rookie would fare in the first scrimmage of training camp.
Needless to say, he did not disappoint.
Bedard scored a pair of goals and teammate Mackenzie Entwistle added another as their Team Red prevailed 3-2 Monday at Fifth Third Arena.
"It was great," said coach Luke Richardson. "He's just so driven to be on the ice. ... You can see when he doesn't have the puck, he looks very heads-up and aware and looking around. Very intelligent player. And then when he gets the puck he's very dynamic."
He proved that quickly by motoring past Anders Bjork in the neutral zone, passing to linemate Taylor Hall and scoring after accepting a perfect feed from Hall in front of the net.
"He made a really nice pass," Bedard said. "He has so much speed, so if I can get it to him on the sides or on the wall with that much speed, it's going to be hard for the D-man. (It'll) make them really focus on him and I can try to get lost."
Bedard's other goal came on a wicked one-timer off a pass from Ryan Donato.
Here are a few other observations from the scrimmage:
While Bedard dropped a few jaws, it was fellow center Lukas Reichel who may have impressed most. Like Bedard, Reichel scored twice -- with his second tally coming after he undressed Paul Ludwinski with a beautiful fake in the offensive zone.
After freeing himself up, Reichel snapped off a shot that went top shelf to the delight of the fans.
Reichel centered a line with Philipp Kurashev and Andreas Athanasiou. It's a trio that possesses plenty of speed and creativity, but also one coach Luke Richardson hopes is selfish at times.
See a chance to shoot? Take it.
"When (Alexander) Ovechkin's coming down with (Nicklas) Backstrom, you know who's shooting the puck and you're gonna lean that way," Richardson said of the Washington Capitals' forwards. "But if these three all show some shooter mentality early in the year, it's gonna really back people off.
"(With their) speed, they'll become more dangerous."
Reichel certainly heeded that advice Monday.
"Last year I had so many chances," said Reichel, who played in 23 games with the Hawks and 55 with the AHL's Rockford IceHogs. "Like when we had 2-on-1, I tried to pass it.
"Feel like this year I'll try to shoot it more; be more selfish. Sometimes I'm too nice. (I) try to make my teammates better and sometimes you've just got to shoot it and shoot with confidence."
With the addition of Taylor Hall, Nick Foligno and Corey Perry, forwards like Mackenzie Entwistle, Joey Anderson and Boris Katchouk know there's no easing into camp. They need to perform or they'll be in Rockford.
Well, that trio certainly impressed, with Entwistle scoring the scrimmage's first goal off a pass from Anderson. Entwistle also had another prime chance moments later.
"That line was excellent," Richardson said. "They showed they're here to play and work for a spot. ... This is their best chance to do what they did today: skate and work. They had a nice goal and a couple chances and they forecheck hard. They don't let you breathe."
Grinding it out:
Jason Dickinson, Nick Foligno and Corey Perry skated together and looked good. The trio has a combined 2,699 games of experience and could be an excellent fourth line this season.
Dickinson and Perry were teammates in Dallas in 2019-20 when the Stars fell to Tampa Bay in the Stanley Cup Final.
"Experience is invaluable," said Dickinson, who scored 9 goals in 78 games with the Hawks last season. "These guys know their way around the rink like the back of their hand. Close their eyes and they'll know something they did 20 years ago might work today. ...
"Perry plays differently than (Foligno) and I, but it can all blend well if we find a way to work our speed into finding him and his caginess and ability to dominate below the dots."