Teuvo Teravainen spent most of the preseason adjusting back to center, a position he hadn’t played in a few years.
Now he’s heading back to the wing.
Teravainen was at left wing on the Blackhawks’ top line on Monday, and he’ll be there on Wednesday night when the team opens the regular season against the New York Rangers. Teravainen finished Saturday night’s preseason game at that spot, playing alongside Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa. Coach Joel Quenneville said he liked the combination, and Teravainen’s earned the opportunity.
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“Him in the middle is fine. But maybe he can play against top players and top D men and he’ll get an important matchup as well,” Quenneville said after Monday’s practice. “It’s a big step but it’s real good quality ice time when you play with those guys. It’s not an easy job but we feel he’s capable of playing the offensive side of things there and the defensive side as well.”
Teravainen made huge strides last postseason and is getting more responsibility. Quenneville said there could be some penalty killing in Teravainen’s future, although that may be further down the road. Regardless, Teravainen’s versatility is beneficial.
“It’s a great asset to have,” Quenneville said. “Over the course of a game he can play in all situations as well. You can use him on penalty killing – we may not start him in that role but I see him growing into that opportunity if it comes about. He’s on the power play, he’s going to be on 4-on-4 and play 3-on-3. His overall game both ways puts him where he’s not slotted in one area. He can do a lot of things for us. Based on that, he can pick up a lot of ice time in those other situations.”
- Quenneville said he liked Bryan Bickell’s response on Saturday night. Bickell had been placed on waivers on Friday but remained with the Blackhawks after he cleared. The move was deemed more of an attempted wake-up call for Bickell’s game. “I thought he had a real good game,” Quenneville said. “Much more effective, more noticeable.”
- Michal Rozsival still could start the season on long-term injured reserve, although Quenneville wasn’t sure when that would transpire. The defenseman is far from ready to play.
- The Blackhawks’ regular-season opener will be the same night as the Cubs’ wild-card game against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Quenneville said, “it’s too bad we can’t watch them. We’ll be rooting for them.”
- Projected starting lines for the season opener: