Best hopes: Tough evening for Connor Bedard


LANGLEY, BC – The Connor Bedard show that was to take place at the CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game on Wednesday ultimately did not take place.

While we expected him to impress against his counterparts, the young sensation was cleared from the scoresheet except in a few columns: those of the differential (minus-3), shots on goal (6) and penalty minutes (2). His team – the Reds – also lost 4-2 against the Whites.

It should be noted here that only one team had managed to shut him out in the WHL this season, and that he is currently on a streak of 32 games with at least one point.

“It was pleasant, he summed up in a few words. There were several good players and it was a good match. »

Let’s say that we had already seen him more talkative and playful than after this meeting. He knows very well that it will not change his status as the first choice of the next NHL draft, but he obviously did not seem entirely satisfied with the way he behaved.

Bedard showed signs of frustration several times throughout the evening, even allowing himself to cross-check Oliver Bonk as the Whites celebrated the empty-net goal, which ended the argument. Hit repeatedly and frustrated by the guards, he was to be taken lightly.

« That’s hockey, » he replied when asked about the physical game. It’s competitive and you get to hit, so that’s always to be expected. […] It is a contact sport; you’re going to get hit and we’re going to hit you. It’s part of the game and that’s okay. »

Still, the Whites have accomplished a mission that very few teams have succeeded in: they managed to get into the mind of the prodigy and get him out of his match. It was largely – let’s get back to him – the work of Bonk, the son of Radek, the former glory of the Montreal Canadiens.

The defender was often confronted with Bedard and he clearly had a mission to disturb him. To do this, he had to accept a few sneaky sticks behind the game and a cross-check late in the game, courtesy of his favorite target.

« The goal wasn’t just to get inside his head, it was to muzzle him because he’s the best player of our age in the world right now, » Bonk said candidly. It was one of my goals. […] When a player is this good, you have to try to disturb him by doing everything you can to achieve it. »

From the top of our perch, it was difficult to identify the exact technique the 18-year-old full-back was using to royally annoy his vis-à-vis. As they are probably several to want the recipe, we asked him the question directly.

« I didn’t hesitate to send him a few verbal spikes, » Bonk laughed. I guess it worked because I managed to send him to the penalty box. It’s good for my team. »

Drummondville Voltigeurs forward, Tyler Peddle, also joined the party by delivering the hardest hit of the evening against No. 98. The Nova Scotian sent it to the back in front of his team’s bench. He admitted, however, that it was more of an accidental collision.

« I wasn’t specifically targeting him, » he said. I didn’t even know it was him. It’s part of my style of play to distribute the shoulder shots. It infuses energy into the team and myself. The opportunity presented itself and I simply showed what I do best. »

On the same stretch, Carson Rehkopf scored the goal that put the Whites ahead for good in the third period. Like what, the check had the desired effect.

And Quebecers?

Peddle wasn’t the only QMJHL representative to shine during the night. Mathieu Cataford opened the scoring for the Reds with just 3:21 to go by hitting the target with a precise backhand shot from the slot.

“It sure took the nerves right away, admitted the Halifax Mooseheads forward. It was only my second presence. The pressure went down a bit and I really enjoyed the rest of the game. »

Speaking of nerves, Étienne Morin took a few minutes to regain his composure. His first outing was difficult to say the least – a fall, turnovers, etc – but he recovered well by forming a very good pair with Cam Allen.

“It hasn’t been my best presence, but at the end of the day, I know that these things will sometimes happen, he launched with a laugh. In a situation like this, either you stay down or you continue and go up the slope. That’s what I did. »

For his part, Ethan Gauthier offered a good performance in a situation that was far from obvious. Struck by indigestion, he had not slept all night and had difficulty in ingesting the slightest thing.

« I was a little scared of not being able to play, » he said. It was difficult this morning, I had no energy and I had a stomach ache. After morning training, I was optimistic that I could play. I was a little tired at the end of the match, but I’m happy with my performance. »



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