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The latest injury updates on Blackhawks' Connor Bedard, Nick Foligno, and others

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Chicago Blackhawks rookie forward Connor Bedard skated on three separate occasions on Sunday morning at Fifth Third Arena as he continues to work his way back from a fractured jaw.

First, he skated before practice for about 45 minutes. When the Zamboni cleaned the ice, he returned to the ice with his teammates to get some more work in before heading off again when practice actually started. And then, as soon as practice ended, Bedard emerged from the locker room to skate for about 25 minutes.

Nick Foligno joked that his attempts to help the trainers keep Bedard off the ice have "failed miserably."

"He was laughing today, he went out, got kicked off, goes back out for the goalies, then got kicked off for practice, and then he's going back out now again," Foligno said. "But at 18 years old, what else are you going to do in your day? You can't do anything else, there's no responsibilities other than playing hockey, so I don't blame him, and it's only going to benefit us."

Blackhawks head coach Luke Richardson said Bedard will not join the team on the four-game road trip before the NHL All-Star break. There hasn't been a change in his timeline, which was 6-8 weeks from the time of his surgery on Jan. 8.

"He’s still not really supposed to be taking hard slapshots and stuff like that," Richardson said. "Heavy clenching, like even the bike rides in the gym are progressing. You can’t be maxing out on the weights and stuff where you’re really stressing the facial muscles and stuff like that."

While the timeline hasn't changed as far as the fracture goes, Richardson acknowledged that Bedard skating this early could potentially shave some time off when he is actually cleared for contact. 

"I’m surprised he came back out at the end of practice today," Richardson said. "But it’s more skill stuff. That’s what he can do right now. The more time on the ice for him, it’ll help when he gets to the point where he graduates to join the team. He’ll be ahead of the curve, so that’s good."

When pressed whether Bedard was skating to keep his skills sharp or because he's bored, Richardson joked: "Both. Definitely both. I’m not sure which is first."

Nick Foligno ready to go

Foligno, who's been out since Jan. 5 with a fractured finger, practiced with the team in full on Sunday, with no restrictions. He skated on the first line with Philipp Kurashev and Taylor Raddysh.

It's no slam dunk that he will make his return on Monday in Vancouver, but Foligno will go through the motions like he is, if all reports come back positive.

"We’ll check in tomorrow, see how today’s practice went and even maybe go one more step, through morning skate and warmup just to make sure," Richardson said. "We don’t like being down in a game if someone’s not ready. And he’s a veteran guy. He'll know. It was good to see him on the ice practicing with the guys."

Foligno deferred to the staff to decide when he'll slide back into the lineup. But if it were up to him, you know what his answer would be.

"I think just how I feel and how I respond to the practice today and then what the timeline is, what the coaches want to do," Foligno said. "They had a big win [on Friday]. You want to get in the lineup but you also want to respect the way the guys are playing but hopefully I can sneak in there."

The latest on Connor Murphy and Tyler Johnson

Murphy has missed the last three games with a lower-body injury, and he isn't going to join the team for the start of the road trip. Richardson said the hope is he will tag along at some point during it.

At this point, it probably makes more sense to let Murphy rest and heal with only four games left until the All-Star break.

Johnson, who has been out since Dec. 31 with a right foot injury, skated with the injured players on Sunday morning. He won't be on the road trip to start either but he could join them later in the week.

Sam Savoie continues to skate

Savoie seems to be progressing nicely after breaking his femur in the preseason. He's been skating for several weeks now and was on the ice with Bedard all three times on Sunday morning.

The plan is for Savoie to go back to juniors when he's cleared for action. 

"It’s just the rehab here, we can keep eyes on him," Richardson said. "I think they knew. His junior team was in the midst of trading him so he was going to go more of a contending team in the Q. So keeping him here was probably a smart thing.

"He gets the high-end treatment, so it’ll help him and he’s done absolutely great. For four months, to be where he’s at from a severe break, he’s doing great. It’s great to see him around. He has a smile on his face every day."

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