It seems that every conversation taking place in the city of Chicago this week has been about Teuvo Teravainen. Excitement reached a fever pitch when he donned the Chicago Blackhawks’ sweater against the Nashville Predators on Sunday night, but it was only for warm-ups. Now that Teravainen is set to play his first game for the ‘Hawks in the upcoming days, here are three things you should be watching for:
#3: No Special Treatment
Teuvo may be hailed as the second coming by some Blackhawks’ fans, but at the end of the day, he plays for the Indian Head on the back. Both Joel Quenneville and Teravainen’s new teammates know the amount of skill the 19-year old possesses, but he will be just another one of the 21 men that dress in red, white, and black each night. Just like Evgeny Kuznetsov with the Washington Capitals, the rookie may be eased in to his NHL career, playing 12 or 13 minutes a night for his first few games. After jumping off the plane directly from Finland, Teravainen has yet to play in the smaller confines of an NHL-size rink, so the Blackhawks’ coaching staff will ensure that he is 100% comfortable before throwing him into the “Patrick Kane Replacement Role” that many have dubbed him worthy of.
#2: Target On His Back
The entire NHL hasn’t been snoozing while Chicago slowly boils over with excitement, and other teams have taken notice that a new super-rookie will be in the Blackhawks’ lineup during the season’s final stretch. With games against physical forces such as the Boston Bruins and St. Louis Blues still left on the schedule, some have even gone as far to suggest that Teuvo not take part in such games to maintain his health heading into the post-season. Although teams may have their eyes peeled to lay the body on #86 early and often in his NHL career, it is vital that he dresses consistently if the Blackhawks want solid contribution from Teuvo during the Playoffs. Expect the Brandon Bollig – Marcus Kruger – Ben Smith line to follow Teravainen out if opponents send their checking line out against the Finnish forward.
#1: Possible Disappointment
Although it might be hard for a Blackhawks fan to hear, Teuvo Teravainen won’t be scoring a goal-a-game in these final matches of the season. Teravainen may become one of the NHL’s supreme forwards, but it will not be during the 2013-14 regular season, and possibly even the playoffs. Bringing Teuvo over the pond to Chicago for the final stretch was to allow the kid to get his feet wet in the league, but thanks to an untimely injury to Patrick Kane, it seems that the teenager will have to become one of the Blackhawks’ elite overnight. I fully expect Teuvo’s confidence to soar after playing with a high-flying team such as the Blackhawks for a couple of games, and there is no doubt that his stat line will reap the benefit of playing on such an elite club, but he will not be breaking any scoring records this season.
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