Bedard reflects on rookie season for Blackhawks with

Bedard’s happy place is certainly at the rink, where he usually stays on the ice 20-30 minutes after practice ends. His focus is one of his biggest assets, along with a wicked wrist shot and tremendous passing ability. Still, every player always looks to get better and from the start of the season to now, Bedard said he’s improved most with his decision-making.

“I think (when) I started the year, you’re not used to maybe where people are going to be and stuff, but now I feel pretty comfortable with that,” he said. “There’ve been some games when I feel I’ve been holding onto the puck a lot and made a good amount of plays and stuff like that.”

Blackhawks forward Tyler Johnson agreed with that assessment.

“He was always confident, but I think his confidence (improved in) maybe being able to settle down a little bit compared to forcing things as much,” he said.

“That’s always a tough thing when you first come into the League. You want to make thing happen all the time, but you have to realize you have to pick your choices. There are times when you may just have to dump it in. There are times when you have to dish it to someone compared to trying to beat them 1-on-1.”

Bedard’s biggest adjustment probably came off the ice. He said he’s gotten to know Chicago on walks — “it’s something I do a lot, just stroll around and see what’s there,” — and has adapted well to living on his own for the first time.

“I mean, everyone’s been supportive and that helps a lot. It’s good for me to become a bit more of an adult and learn life skills outside of that,” he said. “My family’s been down a pretty decent amount but obviously first time being on my own. It’s been an adjustment, but I think I’ve done pretty good and gotten better in that aspect of it.”

How about his cooking?

“I’m getting alright,” he said with a laugh. “I make the same four or five things every day, but we’re not cooking for ourselves too much. I feel we have a lot of food when we’re on the road or whatever. When we are at home, you’re always making your own dinner and I’ve been figuring that out.”

Bedard will head back to his hometown of North Vancouver at the end of the season. He’s looking forward to a calmer summer, which he didn’t have last year before and after the draft.

“I think this summer will be nice to not have all that stuff, as great as it was and as cool as it was,” he said. “It’ll be a nice change to maybe have a little more chill.”

There will also be more time to work on his game. Bedard should be happy with how his rookie season went. He has lived up to the expectations and he’s handled the pressure of being the Blackhawks’ next face of the franchise well. But the work is just beginning, and Bedard is ready to take the next step.

“I go home and list some things I want to get better at,” he said. “That’s the biggest thing. You also see your friends and family but from a hockey standpoint, I’ll have what I need to get better at on and off the ice. I’m excited to try and improve on that.”

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