ST. LOUIS – Teuvo Teravainen wasn’t worried about moving back to center.
The Blackhawks forward said earlier in camp that he had played there in his “young years,” which sounds funny coming from a 21-year-old. But you get the gist: it wasn’t going to take him long to readjust. And thus far, it doesn’t look like it has.
Teravainen is getting acclimated to the center role again. He had a big test with it on Thursday night, facing a big, brawny St. Louis Blues team in the Blackhawks’ 5-2 loss. Obviously this wasn’t the first night Teravainen’s faced a sizeable Central Division foe, but it’s a little different at center. Still, he looked poised and said the return to center has been a good one.
“I feel good,” he said. “I think I’m getting better all the time. It’s just a lot of experience from last year, so I feel more comfortable on and off the ice.”
Coach Joel Quenneville talked Wednesday of the Blackhawks being set at center, especially with Teravainen now in the mix. He’s liked what Teravainen’s done from the start of camp until now.
“I think he’s had a good camp,” Quenneville said. “He gives us a lot of options, playing left, center and right. He’s positionally aware and has the puck a lot. Tonight we didn’t have a good game across the board but I still think he does a lot of good things.”
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The good things could happen on the power play, too. Teravainen got some time on it at the end of last season and should play plenty on it again this season.
“We practice this week with him on the power play with some high-skilled guys. Whether it’s his patience, play recognition or entries, there’ll be some lanes and shot opportunities,” Quenneville said. “When he starts thinking shot, he becomes more dangerous.”
Teravainen figured he’d adjust to center fast. It appears he has, and he wants to keep improving from here.
“I want to get better every day, I want to learn every day. I think I can do a better job about everything in my game, of course,” he said. “I’m getting there. I just have to be confident, stay positive and just try to have fun out there. Right now I’m feeling good so I just have to keep going.”
— Brandon Mashinter, who was recalled on Thursday morning, scored for the Blackhawks. Dennis Rasmussen also scored. Scott Darling stopped 19 of 24 shots.
— Marcus Kruger played his first preseason game on Thursday night. Quenneville said he’s not worried about Kruger, who just got back to Chicago last Friday, getting up to speed – “he’ll find a way to be ready next Wednesday.”
— Thursday’s game was likely the last for some prospects looking to show the Blackhawks what they can do. Quenneville said Saturday’s lineup against the Dallas Stars will feature most of the regulars. “We don’t have a lot of time left,” Quenneville said. “We had a real good week of practice; guys showed a lot as far as pace and showed they can get an opportunity to play when called upon. It looks like they’d love to get that chance. One more opportunity here, but that was a productive week.”