Blackhawks News

5 Things to Really Expect with Teuvo Teravainen

By Tim Lively
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Mar 25, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks left wing Teuvo Teravainen (86) reaches for the puck against Dallas Stars center Dustin Jeffrey (11) during the first period at United Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

Well, 2015 has already proven to be quite interesting for our beloved Chicago Blackhawks. To start the year out, the Hawks came back from a multiple goal deficient for the third game in a row during the Winter Classic against the Washington Capitals, and got robbed of a W this time around in the final seconds of the contest.

Unfortunately, the Hawks had more than pride stolen from them New Year’s Day. Kris Versteeg suffered a severe hand injury and will reportedly by out for at least a month. With the loss of Steeger, the Blackhawks brass made an unexpected move to fill the void. Instead of calling up a player from the Rockford IceHogs that’s already had some extended tours with the Blackhawks, like Peter Regin or Phillip Danault, the player that got the call was Teuvo Teravainen.

As you may recall, the Finnish native is reportedly the Hawks’ top prospect who got to cut his teeth in the NHL last year for a few games in the wake of injuries to Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews. Given recent history, Chicago is now pretty accustomed to rookie sensations emerging at the Madhouse on Madison, and many expected Teravainen to hit the ground running and become a permanent fixture on the Blackhawks right off the bat. Yet after three stat-less games, Teravainen was sent back to Rockford.

This time around things are a bit different, but believe you me, the high expectations are still there for the young prospect. So let’s take a minute and go over five things we should really expect from Teravainen’s recall:

#5 – This Ain’t Permanent

When the likes of Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews hit the ice in Chicago as rookies, they emerged as sensations not just because of their talent, but because they were playing for a different Blackhawks team. It’s easy to forget in the mid 2000’s the Hawks were far from the elite team with crazy offensive depth they are now. Thus, the Blackhawks needed Kane and Toews to play large roles from the get go, and luckily, they were able to rise to the challenge. With Teravainen however this is far from the case. Even if he plays outstandingly this time around in Chicago, the Blackhawks have little vested interest in thrusting Teravainen into the NHL at this point. The Hawks are having an incredibly strong year and have really gelled as a team. Permanently throwing Teravainen in the mix just because they can would be stirring the pot unnecessarily. This could certainly change down the road, especially depending on how Teravainen plays, but it’s a safe bet that once Versteeg returns, Teravainen will be heading back to Rockford.

#4 – The Media Hype Will Be Obnoxious

Let’s face it; we’re going to be hearing a lot about Teravainen tonight when the Hawks take on the Dallas Stars. Don’t be too surprised during breaks in gameplay you see a ridiculous amount of Teravainen career snapshots and stat comparisons to Patrick Kane. I guess that’s what you get though when your team has the track record with rookie breakouts that the Blackhawks have. Luckily, hero-worshipping ESPN doesn’t care about hockey, so we won’t be blitzed with reports about what Teravainen had for lunch.

#3 – Teravainen Will Play on the Second Line

The fact the Teravainen was called up from Rockford as opposed to any number of more seasoned Rockford IceHogs indicates just how well the first two lines for the Hawks are humming, and even Coach Joel Quenneville recognizes the reason for this: similarly talented players. Brandon Saad has remained on the first line, even with the return of Patrick Sharp from injury, because his strong two-way play has meshed so well with Marian Hossa’s. Versteeg has thrived on the second line with Kane because both their gameplay hinges on agile puck handling. Both these lines are anchored by strong centers in Jonathan Toews and Brad Richards. With the injury to Versteeg, the only way to maintain the chemistry on the second line is to bring in another agile puck handler, and given how similar his play is to Kane’s, Teravainen emerged as the best fit.

#2 – Teravainen Shouldn’t Expect Any Favors from Kane

While even Kane has acknowledged the semblance in Teravainen’s abilities to his own, Teravainen shouldn’t exactly expect Kane to take him under his wing. Not to say Kane won’t be a great teammate to the young Fin, but there’s a reason Kane doesn’t have an “A” on his jersey. Kane has carved out a reputation for himself as a young hot shot and gunslinger on the Blackhawks, and he’s worn the hat very well for Chicago. While he’s by no means a selfish player, Kane hasn’t exactly been know for hitching his wagon to anyone, and at least at this point in his career, Kane isn’t exactly looking for a protégé to mentor. Will Teravainen and Kane will no doubt be in a lot of the same conversations in the very near future, for the time being anyway, that’ll be the full depth of their association.

#1 – Playing with Brad Richards will be Good for Teravainen

While Kane may not be giving Teravainen too many pointers, should he end up on the second line as I believe he will, I don’t think it’ll be an uncommon sight to see Brad Richards having a few pre-faceoff consultations with the young prospect. Unlike Kane, Richards is a recognized leader, and with a very long, successful career behind him, Richards has a wealth of veteran knowledge that could prove to be very beneficial to Teravainen. Richards has also indirectly helped keep both Versteeg and Kane’s play measured and composed, and it’s a safe bet he’ll provide a similar service to Teravainen. Bottom line, thus far in his budding career, Teravainen hasn’t had a resource such as Richards on the ice with him, and he’d be wise to take full advantage of this opportunity.

All in all, I think as Blackhawks fans, we need to look at this call up as extended training for Teuvo Teravainen, and not a whole lot more. While we certainly want Teravainen to succeed and become a new fixture on the Blackhawks, we also need to be realistic with our expectations. It’ll be Teuvo Time in Chi-Town soon enough, but for now, we need to be satisfied with Teravainen towing the line, and helping the Hawks win.

FOR THE DAGGER!

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