The NHL on TNT analyst panel has brought the personality during the 2023 postseason. We’ve seen Wayne Gretzky discuss his underwear habits, Paul Bissonnette compare Radko Gudas to Chewbacca, and the Toronto Maple Leafs roasted on national TV.
The hijinks haven’t stopped just because the league’s final playoff series has arrived. Before Game Two of the Stanley Cup Final, the panel hosted special guest Connor Bedard, AKA: the soon-to-be first-overall pick 2023 NHL Draft selection.
Bedard didn’t disappoint with his appearance. Just ask Biz, who was on the receiving end of a cold one-liner from the usually boring superstar prospect.
— NHLonTNT (@NHL_On_TNT) June 5, 2023
Panel host Liam McHugh asked Bedard whether he’s used to his “new normal” of being at the Stanley Cup Final with the Cup just feet away while sitting next to the legendary Wayne Gretzky.
“I mean, it’s pretty crazy,” Bedard started. “I’m super grateful. The NHL doing this is incredible for me and the other three prospects to come and see a couple pretty good players on this panel…and Biz is here too.”
“Oh, here we go,” Bissonnette replied chuckling. “Okay, okay, he’s already throwing shots at me. All right.”
Not only is it clear that Bedard has honed his chirping skills as well as he has his on-ice game, but he’s also done his research. The stats don’t lie.
— B/R Open Ice (@BR_OpenIce) May 20, 2023
Bedard is in Las Vegas as the NHL is hosting him and fellow top draft prospects Adam Fantilli, Leo Carlsson, and Will Smith. The league has brought top prospects to the Cup Final since 1993 and allows them to get a head start on the media circus that awaits them.
During his appearance, the top prospect also revealed that he once threw some shade at Gretzky, but it was an accident. Gretzky called a 14-year-old Bedard to congratulate him on all the success, but he eventually hung up.
“I answered,” Bedard said. “Remember I was 14 so I couldn’t really speak at all. I didn’t know it was a prank call or what. It was real, eh?”
— B/R Open Ice (@BR_OpenIce) June 5, 2023
“I was just calling him to tell him congratulations. I know how hard it is at that age, all the pressure that is put upon you to succeed. I called Biz and he hung up on me, too.”
The 17-year-old center was asked about the almost guaranteed chance that he’ll be a member of the Chicago Blackhawks later this month. Chicago won the draft lottery and will select first overall on June 28 in Nashville.
Bedard responded positively, dashing any hopes of an Eric Lindros siutation. “If they decide to take me, that would be unreal, with the history and the other sports and the culture there and their love of sports,” he said. “I’d be incredibly honored.”
Last week, Bedard was named to the Canadian Hockey League’s First-All Star team after a season with the Regina Pats in the WHL that saw him put up 143 points (71g, 72a) in just 57 games. He sure made an early claim for next season’s all-chirping team on Monday.
Screenshot via TNT
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