Blackhawks: Teravainen making big impact as confidence grows


Blackhawks: Teravainen making big impact as confidence grows

TAMPA, Fla. — Marian Hossa was almost poetic in describing Teuvo Teravainen.

“He’s growing more confident every game. He doesn’t seem to have a heartbeat,” Hossa said. “He’s so calm. He’s Finnish cold.”

We’ll surmise that Hossa’s saying Teravainen is as chill as the weather in his homeland during winter. It would certainly be fitting, considering Teravainen’s latest work.

[MORE: Late goals fuel Blackhawks victory over Lightning in Game 1]

Teravainen scored the game-tying goal and assisted on the game-winning one as the Blackhawks came back to beat the Tampa Bay Lightning, 2-1, in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final on Wednesday night. Teravainen has been saying all postseason that he’s comfortable in his surroundings now that he knows what to do when he’s out on the ice, regardless of the stage.

He’s not kidding.

“We knew that before tonight’s game,” Patrick Sharp said of Teravainen’s talent. “Those are some big plays he made.”

Big-play No. 1 came when Teravainen shot through Lightning and Blackhawks traffic to tie the game with 6:32 remaining in regulation. Big-play No. 2 came less than two minutes later when Teravainen pushed the puck away from Lightning forward J.T. Brown and toward linemate Antoine Vermette, who scored the winning goal.

[RELATED: Five Things from Hawks-Bolts Game 1: Crawford stays stoic]

Hossa said that Teravainen starting the season in the minors, where he played a bigger role and bigger minutes that he wouldn’t have gotten with the Blackhawks at the time, helped Teravainen’s growth.

“He’s one of the most talented guys I see, watching him every day,” Hossa said. “But coming to this team, there are so many skilled players, they decided that instead of playing only a few minutes they put him on a minor team so he could play lots of minutes. Obviously, it’s paying off. He’s playing with such confidence.”

Teravainen talked about the Final stage after Wednesday morning’s skate. He was more excited than nervous.”

“Not too much,” Teravainen said afterward about having any anxiety. “It was just a pretty normal game I think. Of course it was a Final game but I think I was pretty calm out there.”

[NBC SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

Regardless of what he was feeling on the inside, Teravainen was calm on the outside. This is what general manager Stan Bowman and the rest of the Blackhawks envisioned when they got Teravainen. They wanted people to be patient with Teravainen’s progress. Now Teravainen is showing that Finnish-cold calm patience himself on a big stage.

“It’s pretty amazing,” Teravainen said. “I know we have a great team, we have a lot of experience. But myself, I’m a young guy here so I try to bring some energy.”

Hawks Talk Podcast: Crawford's return, Saad's demotion and power play concerns


Hawks Talk Podcast: Crawford's return, Saad's demotion and power play concerns

In the latest Hawks Talk Podcast, Pat Boyle, Charlie Roumeliotis and Slavko Bekovic provide their thoughts on the Blackhawks’ 3-0-2 start.

They also discuss Brandon Saad’s demotion and whether it could serve as a wake-up call, Corey Crawford’s potential return on Thursday vs. Arizona and what could happen with Anton Forsberg because of it, and address the power play concerns.

The guys wrap up the podcast by making a few bold predictions going forward.

Listen to the full podcast here or via the embedded player below, and be sure to subscribe, rate us and write a review!

10 years with 'Coach Q' anything but ordinary

10 years with 'Coach Q' anything but ordinary

Over the last 10 years, the words “ordinary” and "OK" have taken on a new meaning to Blackhawks players and fans alike. 

That’s “Coach Q” speak. 

A language where “ordinary” means awful and “just OK” means you were a non-factor. The good news is the last 10 seasons under Joel Quenneville have been anything but ordinary at the United Center. 

On Oct. 16th, 2008, the Blackhawks let go of fan-favorite Denis Savard after a 1-2-1 start to the season and named Quenneville as head coach in his place. Quenneville coached the Colorado Avalanche the previous season, but after another disappointing exit in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the two mutually parted ways. He had originally planned to stay away from the bench for at least a season, but the Blackhawks triumvirate of Rocky Wirtz, John McDonough and then-GM Dale Tallon brought Quenneville on as a scout and then handed him the keys to the car shortly after.

“Dale’s obligation is to put together a winning team,” said McDonough at Quenneville’s introductory press conference. “At this point, Joel is the coach of that team.”

It was an emotional day at the Blackhawks offices. Savard – a Blackhawks legend on the ice and a coach the players held in high regard – was let go just as things started to turn upwards for the organization. The end of the 2007-2008 season saw the Blackhawks once again miss out on the playoffs, but the fans began to flock to the United Center once more, and the hype train around the young team built around Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane was gaining steam.

“Moving forward, if we want to be a championship-caliber organization, we have to make tough decisions,” said Tallon. “This was the toughest decision I’ve ever had to make.” 

Savard was 65-66-16 in parts of three seasons as head coach of the Blackhawks. Meanwhile, Quenneville had compiled eight 95+ point seasons behind the bench for the Blues and Avalanche in his 11 years as a head coach.

“We felt the experience and the track record of Joel would be a balance that we needed with a young, inexperienced team,” said Tallon. "Joel brings us a wealth of experience and a winning track record that will have an immediate and lasting impact."

The gamble paid off for the Blackhawks in a major way. Once Quenneville took over, the team got to the sought-after next level. 

They finished the 08-09 season with 104 points, third-most in the NHL’s Western Conference, had a franchise-record setting 9-game win streak in the month of December and returned to the playoffs for the first time since the 2001-2002 season. The “young and inexperienced” Blackhawks took the league by storm, dropping the Calgary Flames in the first round of the playoffs in six games before taking down the rival Canucks in the next round.

They ultimately lost out to the Detroit Red Wings in the Western Conference Finals, but the bar was now set for the organization. From then on, the Blackhawks were Stanley Cup contenders. 

Quenneville currently ranks 2nd in franchise history with 449 wins, trailing only Billy Reay’s 516. 

But most importantly, Quenneville’s 76 playoff wins rank at the top in the organization’s long and storied history, and those three Stanley Cups that he’s raised over his head were anything but “ordinary.”