PITTSBURGH — Chicago Blackhawks No. 1 overall pick Connor Bedard made his NHL debut on Tuesday night, and it appeared he forgot his stick right before pregame warmups, as seen on the ESPN broadcast. But that actually wasn't the case.
One of Connor Bedard's superstitions is to leave his stick along the wall near the tunnel — or somewhere else — with his blade facing up so it doesn't touch the ground. It obviously wasn't there when he went to grab it — or somebody touched/moved it — so he went back into the locker room and snagged another one.
"No, I didn't forget my stick," Bedard said after the game, smiling. "I don't know where that's coming from. It was in the room and I went back."
Stay in the game with the latest updates on your beloved Chicago sports teams! Sign up here for our All Access Daily newsletter.
I asked Bedard after the game how that superstition started.
"Just so no one touches it, I guess, and the blade’s not touching the ground," Bedard said. "In [Regina], we had stalls. I just put it kind of in my stall to flip it up, and I think at home we’d have one too, but obviously on the road, you’ve got to find a new spot. So yeah, just wherever I'm feeling it at that time."
Right after grabbing his stick, Bedard hit the ice with Kevin Korchinski for a traditional rookie lap together ahead of their NHL debuts. It didn't go as well as he hoped, but the more important thing he'll remember is his team overcoming a two-goal deficit to beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-2.
"Me and Kev had that little pass, and I totally whiffed it, so probably get trolled a bit online," Bedard said. "It was fun. It was pretty cool. Getting to go no bucket was fun too. Yeah, I enjoyed it a lot."