NHL Notebook: Golden Knights Mark Stone cleared for full participation in practice and Blackhawks Connor Bedard to suit up for Canada at World Hockey Championship

Vegas Golden Knights Mark Stone
Photo credit:Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
Aleena Aksenchuk
14 days ago
On Saturday, Las Vegas Golden Knights general manager Kelly McCrimmon announced that captain Mark Stone is officially cleared to participate in practice fully.
The announcement comes just days before Vegas and the Dallas Stars compete in a first-round series of the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs. McCrimmon did not acknowledge whether or not Stone would be available, but things appear to be moving in that direction.
The Golden Knights cleared Stone to practice in a non-contact jersey on April 12th after recovering from a lacerated spleen injury he sustained on February 20th against the Nashville Predators. The injury resulted in Stone being placed on the long-term injured reserve for the second year in a row.
Last season, a second back surgery kept Stone off the ice since mid-January, making his return just before the team’s first-round series against the Winnipeg Jets in the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Before his career-threatening injury this season, Stone was on a remarkable pace to record his career-high with 16 goals and 53 points in 56 games. If he had played the remainder of the regular season, it is likely the 31-year-old would have hit his projected 78 points.
The Golden Knights acquired Stone in 2019 ahead of the trade deadline from the Ottawa Senators. Two years later, Stone was officially named the Golden Knights captain, leading the team to its first Stanley Cup Championship in 2023.
The Winnipeg, Manitoba native was selected 187th overall in the 2010 NHL draft, making his debut with the Senators in 2012. Through parts of 12 seasons, Stone has recorded 212 goals and 567 points.
The Golden Knights will start their Stanley Cup journey on Monday, April 22nd, against the Dallas Stars in round one of this year’s playoffs.

Blackhawks Connor Bedard to suit up for Canada at World Hockey Championship

The season may be over for the Chicago Blackhawks, but rookie Connor Bedard won’t be heading into the offseason just yet after confirming he will be suiting up for Team Canada at the IIHF World Hockey Championship in Czechia.
His participation in May will mark the fifth time Bedard has represented Canada after doing so twice at the U18 level and twice in the World Juniors.
Bedard has had a year that any young player would dream of. He helped Team Canada win a gold medal at the 2023 World Junior Championship, was selected first overall at the 2023 NHL draft, and began his inaugural season with Chicago in the NHL.
Despite a fractured jaw that forced him to the sidelines for nearly six weeks, he emerged as the top-performing rookie with 22 goals and 61 points.
A few of his Blackhawks teammates will also participate in the tournament in May, with Philipp Kurashev representing Switzerland and Seth Jones and Alec Vlasic skating for the U.S. Goaltender Petr Mrazek should also be between the pipes for the Czechs.
“Me and Kurshie were talking and our main goal is to score on Mrazek,” Bedard said. “Stuff like that is always fun.”
Bedard’s participation in the World Championship will aid in his inclusion on Canada’s roster for the Four Nations tournament next winter, which includes the United States, Sweden, and Finland.

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