Blackhawks: Teuvo Teravainen coming into his own in Stanley Cup Final


Blackhawks: Teuvo Teravainen coming into his own in Stanley Cup Final

Teuvo Teravainen sat two chairs away as Jonathan Toews praised the young forward for what he’s done this postseason.

So how did all the compliments make Teravainen feel?

“Actually I didn’t listen. Too many great words,” Teravainen said to laughs.

If you look at Teravainen from the start of this season to now, the transformation has been something else. Off the ice he’s gone from a quiet, reserved talker who now brings humor to every press conference. On the ice he’s gone from hesitant shooter to constant scoring threat; he’s a recent addition to the Blackhawks’ power play, and he scored on it in Game 2.

[MORE HAWKS: Quenneville could put Toews, Kane on separate lines]

As Kyle Cumiskey, who played with Teravainen in Rockford earlier this season, recognized, Teravainen is “opening up a bit.” What’s so different with Teravainen now? He has more experience, for sure, but he definitely has more confidence. He’s more confident with his English – we’re guessing his good friend and fellow Finn Antti Raanta, who also knows how to crack up a room, helped. He’s more confident with his shot, which he wasn’t displaying enough when he first started. And that shot has worked plenty lately: Teravainen has three goals in his last five games, including goals in Games 1 and 2 against the Lightning.

“He just keeps getting better and better as he gets more responsibility,” Toews said. “It hasn't been easy, I don't imagine, given the fact that he knows what he can do at this level. He has to come in and play behind a lot of guys who have a track record and are going to get the offensive opportunities more often than not.”

Teravainen has been considered a top-six talent since he joined the Blackhawks this season, and that’s part of the reason he wasn’t up early: there was no room for him in the top six. But he’s been a great addition to the third line with Patrick Sharp and Antoine Vermette, and he assisted on Vermette’s winning goal in Game 1.

[MORE HAWKS: Penalties kill Blackhawks in Game 2]

The transition has been pretty smooth on the power play, too. Teravainen took a Marian Hossa pass, cut in and scored on a second-period advantage on Saturday.

“Being able to see what he can do in the playoffs, he's fearless out there,” Brent Seabrook said. “He has the ability to make plays. Like [Cumiskey] said, he's opening up a little bit more and having some fun. It's good to see.”

Why did Teravainen click so quickly on the power play? Is it that confidence he’s gained throughout the season or do skill players simply adjust quickly to every new challenge?

[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

“He can see plays, makes plays. You like his patience level when he does have the puck. I think he did settle it down in a couple tight situations, nice give-and-go feed,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “I think he's starting to think shot, which is really going to enhance his game and his scoring as well. I think offensively he'sgetting a little bit more comfortable with the puck. I think off of that, it should enhance his game.”

Teravainen’s confidence is coming through, from his words to his ways on the ice. He may not catch all the compliments his teammates pay him but he’s been connecting on pretty much everything else.

“Every chance he's getting, he's making big plays,” Toews said. “He's already doing it in the Stanley Cup Final, so it's pretty amazing to watch.”

All eyes on Blackhawks defensemen as prospect camp opens


All eyes on Blackhawks defensemen as prospect camp opens

The second wave of Blackhawks defensemen is on the way. That's exactly where all the attention was when prospect camp opened up Monday at MB Ice Arena.

Nicolas Beaudin. Adam Boqvist. Henri Jokiharju. Ian Mitchell. Call it the Big Four. Where are they all at in their development? When will they be ready to make an NHL impact? Who's the most pro ready? 

Lots of questions. Those will slowly start to get answered and it begins now.

While there may not necessarily be an open competition among the group right away, there's certainly a desire to make a strong first impression in front of the upper brass that included Stan Bowman, John McDonough and Joel Quenneville watching on Day 1.

"Every NHL team has a lot of good defensemen prospects, so I mean obviously when you want to go out there you want to showcase yourself as best as you can," Mitchell said. "Obviously you want to be the best defenseman here so that's my goal going into this, I want to prove to everyone that I'm a good defenseman, I deserve to play at the next level. Obviously there's lots of good players here, but you're trying to all succeed."

Said Beaudin: "There's a lot of competition. There's a lot of good, young defensemen. I think you just need to be different when you play when you show what you can do."

Said Boqvist: "I'm trying to be better every day. Of course I will play in the NHL one day and win Stanley Cups, so that's my mindset."

The theme? Focus on your own game, take what you learn out of this week and apply those tools in your game when advancing your development next season. The rest will take care of itself.

Mitchell will go back to Denver for his sophomore campaign to continue his development. Beaudin is expected to return to the QMJHL with the Drummondville Voltigeurs. Boqvist signed with the OHL's London Knights, where he will look to get accustomed to the North American style of play.

For Jokiharju, the goal is different. This is his second development camp. He signed an entry-level contract in June. Making the big club is a real goal and a legitimate possibility for a Blackhawks team looking for young, impact defensemen immediately.

"I think if Henri has a really good summer of training, comes into camp, I certainly thinks he gets a good look," Blackhawks vice president of amateur scouting Mark Kelley told NBC Sports Chicago last month.

Jokiharju showed poise and confidence with and without the puck during drills, like someone who knows this is only the first step towards that ultimate goal.

"Yeah," Jokiharju responded when asked if the expectation is to make it to the NHL this season. "You want to set the bar high, you don't want to set the bar too low. I want to dream big and that's the dream."

That's the dream for everyone. When that happens, it's up to them. This week is a chance to set an early tone.

Former Blackhawks goalie Ray Emery dies in early morning drowning

Former Blackhawks goalie Ray Emery dies in early morning drowning

Former Blackhawks goaltender Ray Emery was identified as the victim in an early morning drowning on Sunday at the Hamilton Harbour, Hamilton Police confirmed. He was 35.

According to the Hamilton Spectator, Emery and his friends jumped in the water around 6:30 a.m., but Emery never resurfaced. His body was recovered later in the afternoon.

Emery played in the NHL for 11 seasons, two of which came with the Blackhawks from 2011-13, where he served as a backup goaltender to Corey Crawford.

In 2013, he teammated up with Crawford to win the William M. Jennings Trophy, awarded to the goaltender(s) with the fewest goals against in a single season, before going on to capture his first Stanley Cup. During that season, Emery went 17-1-0 with a 1.94 goals against average, .922 save percentage and three shutouts.

The Blackhawks issued this statement following the confirmation:

The Chicago Blackhawks organization was deeply saddened to hear of Ray Emery’s passing. We extend our heartfelt condolences to his family and friends. The Blackhawks will fondly remember Ray as a fierce competitor, a good teammate and a Stanley Cup champion.

The hockey community took to Twitter to offer their condolences when news began to spread: