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Bedard looking ahead after memorable NHL debut with Blackhawks

He was ready for his close-up. He and fellow rookie Kevin Korchinski took their rookie lap together without helmets, taking the ice ahead of their teammates. Korchinski set him up with an open net — and he missed it.

“I remember me and Kev had that little pass, and I totally whiffed it, so probably get trolled a bit online,” he said. “It was fun. It was pretty cool. Getting to go no bucket was fun too. Yeah, I enjoyed it a lot.”

Bedard did puck tricks throughout warmups. At one point, he stood in the corner, and Iceburgh, the Penguins mascot, stood behind the glass taunting him. Veteran Corey Perry had Bedard’s back, slamming himself against the glass.

That was just the tip of the iceberg.

Bedard lined up for the opening face-off against Crosby.

“Hey, Sid, welcome back for another season,” referee Kelly Sutherland said, wearing a microphone for television. “Connor, welcome to the NHL, man.”

“Thank you,” Bedard said.

“OK, guys,” Sutherland said. “It’s showtime. Let’s have a great game.”

Crosby won the draw back with authority.

“I just wanted to win it,” Bedard said. “Obviously didn’t. But just going into it, yeah, I mean, it was really cool, really special. Trying to take it in, but in the end, you’re focused on the hockey game. There’s nerves, of course. It’s a pretty big moment in your life. But yeah, just trying to settle in and focus on that.”

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