Blackhawks: Teuvo Teravainen finds confidence, shot with third line


Blackhawks: Teuvo Teravainen finds confidence, shot with third line

Teuvo Teravainen had a smile on his face as he talked about Team Finland’s triumph at World Juniors, the same tournament in which he helped his countrymen win gold in 2014.

“Yeah, it was a pretty fun time,” Teravainen said of watching the gold-medal came on this side of the pond. “It’s a good time to be a Finn, for sure.”

It’s a good time to be Teravainen, too. Last spring the forward was a key part of a dynamic third line that helped the Blackhawks win their third Stanley Cup in six seasons. And since late December, he’s once again been part of a noticeable third line with Andrew Desjardins and Phillip Danault.

“I think we’re doing a good job, playing pretty good [defense] and we can create some offense, too,” Teravainen said prior to the Blackhawks’ 3-1 victory over the Buffalo Sabres. “We can check hard and get loose pucks from good forechecking, just bring some energy, you know?”

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The biggest issue with Teravainen’s game earlier this season was his hesitancy to shoot. That wasn’t there during the playoffs, when he, Patrick Sharp and Antoine Vermette made a great combination down the stretch. It was there when he was on the top line. Now back on the third – and back at right wing, where he had success last season – Teravainen is looking like himself again.

“We all know Teuvo’s the magical hands on our line, you know?” Danault said. “He brings offense and is good defensively, too. He’s just bringing more offense to our line.”

Teravainen has 10 shots on goal in his past three games, which includes an empty-net goal against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday. Even if he doesn’t score, his shot usually makes him a threat to do so or creates a chance for someone else. Coach Joel Quenneville said, much like with Artemi Panarin, Teravainen is at his best when shooting is foremost in their minds.

“When these guys think of shooting first it opens things up. They’re more dangerous, they have that ability and their selection is high end,” he said. “They’re both shooting the puck well, so think like that, first and foremost. Think of a shot. It’s tough making plays into the slot, tough making plays off the rush without odd-man situations. So when you shoot you can get a lot of action off it. The more he uses it, the better it is.”

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Naturally, things change on a game-by-game basis, but the opportunities seem to have been there more lately.

“Yeah, I think just some games I get more situations, I get more pucks and I get them in different positions,” Teravainen said. “You just never know how the game’s going to go. Sometimes you get those shots and sometimes you don’t. I don’t think about how many shots I get but, of course, I try to shoot when I have the chance.”

Teravainen has once again found a good place on a line, and at a wing, that suits him. It is, indeed, a good time to be this Finn.

“I’m feeling better,” he said. “I think I can still improve my game and just try to be myself out there. But yeah, I can feel I’m getting better, more confident as well." 

Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman: "We expect Corey to be back"

Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman: "We expect Corey to be back"

Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman said that the team expects goalie Corey Crawford to be back next season around training camp. Bowman also mentioned that Crawford might speak about his status himself during the Blackhawks Convention.

“What I said at the end of the year was still the case now, which is we expect Corey to be back,” Bowman said in a Thursday afternoon conference call. “We don’t have any reason to think that’s not going to happen.”

According to Bowman, Blackhawks players, including Crawford, already have their eyes set on next season.

“At this point in the summer, all the players are preparing for next season,” Bowman said. “Corey’s in that same preparation mode.”

Crawford is nursing what has been labeled an upper-body injury by the team. The two-time Stanley Cup winner was put on the shelf for the rest of the season back in late December, and he has not seen the ice since he skated in a February practice.

“Nothing has changed,” Bowman said. “We expect him to be back and ready to go in training camp.”

The Blackhawks have chosen to keep any groundbreaking news with Crawford under wraps, which the organization has done with other player injuries in the past. Bowman spoke about his vagueness in this situation.

“We’ve never gone into specifics about injuries,” Bowman said. “I realize this probably gets more attention because he’s our starting goalie and he won the Stanley Cup.”

Fans will have to take a wait-and-see approach, because it is unlikely that there will be a significant update regarding Crawford’s health before the season gets closer to its start.

Last season, Crawford only appeared in 28 games, posting a record of 16-9 with 782 saves before going down for the rest of the year.

Blackhawks emergency goaltender Scott Foster made his return at the NHL Awards to present the Vezina Trophy, and it was perfect

Blackhawks emergency goaltender Scott Foster made his return at the NHL Awards to present the Vezina Trophy, and it was perfect

After staying out of the public eye since his historic emergency relief appearance, Scott Foster emerged in Vegas at the NHL Awards and it was perfect. 

The 36-year-old accountant fittingly presented the Vezina Trophy award for the league's top goaltender and joked that he needed to speed it up because he had to get back to work.

Check him out on stage:

What a moment. And well done, NHL. 

Foster stopped all seven shots he faced in 14:01 of action in the Blackhawks' 6-2 win over the Winnipeg Jets on March 30.

Nashville Predators netminder Pekke Rinne took home the award, but you can't argue against Foster's 1.000 career save percentage.