It sure has been a great week of hockey for the Chicago Blackhawks, dating back to their win against the Detroit Red Wings on Sunday. They have managed to go 3-0-1 during the week and retake the second position in the Central Division from the Colorado Avalanche. The second position sets up home ice advantage in the first round of the 2014 NHL Playoffs vs. the Colorado Avalanche. In the process of winning we saw the reemergence of a complete game where players were aggressive with their checks, went into the dirty areas to get the puck, and scored in front of the goal. This is the kind of hockey you need to be playing down the stretch and into the playoffs. I have a good feeling that the Blackhawks are just now starting to heat up and once the playoffs come, they will be on fire!
After dominating the St. Louis Blues 4-0 on Tuesday, I could not have agreed with Coach Q’s postgame interview any more. When asked about having such a complete game vs. the St. Louis Blues he stated, “We played the right way from start to finish. Arguably one of our best games all year — very complete in all areas (with) contributions from across the board. The power play got two big goals and our point guys were shooting pucks well.” When the Blackhawks click on all areas they are very hard to beat so hopefully they can take the positives away from this game and continue to build. Quote courtesy of Chris Kuc at chicagotribune.com.
The positive week also produced a couple of milestone achievements by both Joel Quenneville and Michal Handzus. Joel Quenneville earned his 700th win as an NHL coach against the St. Louis Blues in a 4-0 shutout Wednesday night. This achievement made him only the third NHL coach to reach that plateau. The only two coaches ahead of him are Scotty Bowman (1,244) and Al Arbour (782). Another milestone reached was Michal Handzus’ 1000 NHL game which he played in. At the start of the game the Chicago Blackhawks honored Michal Handzus with a video tribute and ceremony where he was awarded a commemorative plaque and watch.
As everyone should already know in Chicago and around the NHL, it is Teuvo Teravainen time! The series of events with Teravainen finishing the season with the Jokerit Helsinki and being called up to the Blackhawks could not have come at a better time. Especially after the freak accident and lower body injury to Patrick Kane which landed him on the Long Term Injury Report, until the playoffs. After Friday’s morning skate Quenneville was questioned about Teravainen making his Chicago Blackhawks debut. Quenneville stated, “Certainly today was too much to ask. We’ll give some consideration over the next day or so,” Quenneville said. “We want to get him on the ice, get him acclimated to his teammates and get him a little bit familiar with our team game. I’m sure tonight, watching for him will help ease him into the transition. I don’t want to say exactly when the date (is he’ll play) but hopefully we can get him in during this home stand, the next one or two games.” So Blackhawks fans, you should expect to see him in the lineup on either Sunday or Tuesday! Quote courtesy of Tracy Meyers at CSNChicago.com.
The spotlight may now be shifted to Teravainen and how he can perform in that 2nd line center role as a young 19-year-old. He is one of the top young prospects with a comparable skillset of Patrick Kane. The Blackhawks are expressing they do not want to put pressure on him but it’s kind of already on. With only 11 games remaining calling Teravainen up sounds like an 11 game tryout to me. They need him to step in there and play his game. If he happens to be another game changer like Andrew Shaw was in the 2013 NHL Playoffs then expect to see him to help make an important impact during these upcoming playoffs.
Don’t forget to watch the Chicago Blackhawks seek revenge vs. the Nashville Predators Sunday at 7PM ET on FSTN, WGN.