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Bedard’s Advice to Celebrini, Any Prospect Entering Rebuild



Credit: Dean Tait/Hockey Shots

Connor Bedard knows a thing or two about what Macklin Celebrini will be going through.

When the San Jose Sharks take on Bedard’s Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday, much of the talk going into the game was how the loser of the game would have a better chance to land the potential franchise-altering star out of Boston University.

The Sharks, the worst team in the NHL, currently have the best odds to land the No. 1 pick of the 2024 Draft. The Blackhawks are the second-worst team and have the second-best odds.

Only a year ago, Bedard’s name was the one floating around in these conversations, the Blackhawks winning the first-overall and the Sharks finishing No. 4.

Despite Bedard’s best efforts — to the tune of 21 goals and 54 points in 56 games — his Blackhawks are still in the same conversation.

The expectations were high for him, and they will be for Celebrini, too, no matter how desolate the roster around them are.

So how should Celebrini handle the expectations?

“Don’t listen to you guys,” Bedard quipped to the media throng, joking not joking.

But seriously?

“Just play the game, have fun, that’s kind of the main thing,” he advised. “There’s so much that goes on outside that’s great, but honestly some of [those things] aren’t that much fun. When you actually get on the ice and you’re just doing what you love, that’s the best part of your day. So that’s kind of how I approached it.”

Bedard had about the same advice for a top prospect, be it a Celebrini or a Will Smith, entering a likely losing situation.

“Just have fun with it,” Bedard said. “There’s a lot of stuff off the ice that you’re doing and everything, and that’s great. But stay focused on what’s important and try not to let it all slip by.

”Your Draft, your first game, and all of those cool moments. So probably just enjoy that, play hockey, and be confident.”

As for Bedard and Celebrini, they’ve actually known each other a while.

The two played together in North Vancouver when they were six-to-seven years old before Celebrini moved.

So how good was Celebrini, even back then?

“We were pretty young,” Bedard said with a laugh. “Last time we played together was when we were eight or nine years old, but I mean, yeah, he’s pretty good.

”I don’t know how much we were snapping it around at that age.”

Specifically, for his old friend, Bedard wants to stay in the moment.

Which, for now, is helping his Boston University Terriers win the NCAA Tournament.

“He should just focus on BU and what they’re doing right now,” Bedard said. “He’s in a cool spot, and they’re trying to do something special and win a national championship.

”I’m sure he is, but once that passes, he should kind of just enjoy the moment and have fun. He’s a great player. He’s going to do great things, so he should just have fun with it, and be confident in your game when you do start playing.”

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