Blackhawks

Blackhawks: Teuvo Teravainen looking to bring stronger game

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Blackhawks: Teuvo Teravainen looking to bring stronger game

SOUTH BEND, Ind. – Teuvo Teravainen couldn’t score on Corey Crawford in 3-on-3 on Sunday, despite having some prime chances.

“I just wanted to make him look good,” Teravainen said of Crawford.

The personality Teravainen started to show last year was on full display this weekend as the Blackhawks opened camp at the University of Notre Dame. So was his game.

Teravainen, who’s added some weight and strength to his frame, had a good starting weekend. He played more at center, a position he played a few years ago but is comfortable returning to if necessary, and usually teamed with Russians Viktor Tikhonov and Artemi Panarin.

[MORE: Patrick Kane reflects on Blackhawks training camp]

He’s also teaching Panarin some English. This is from the Finn who barely spoke any himself when he arrived here two years ago. It’s just one more example of how confident Teravainen is in his North American life.

He gained confidence in his game last spring, thanks to great performances during the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and wants to build off that this fall.

“It was big, of course. I got a lot of confidence, some experience,” Teravainen said of the postseason. “It’s easier to go into the season, for sure. But at the same time I have a lot more to prove and I want to be better. It’s going to be a big year for me.”

It could be. To aid in that improvement, Teravainen’s been trying to bulk up to get more strength in his game. He said he’s feeling the difference already and is trying to use that strength to power up ice. Coach Joel Quenneville said Teravainen added just enough size.

“You've got to be careful of getting too big, too quick and lose that friendliness with the puck and that quickness. But I think he put [the weight] on in the right areas, and it was almost like you didn't notice it that much,” Quenneville said. “But you could see, it looks like he's a little taller, bigger and stronger. But certainly… he's at that stage where you'd like to see him keep getting better. We like what we've seen.”

[NBC SHOP: Gear up for the 2015-16 season, Blackhawks fans!]

Teravainen started to blossom last spring. He should continue to get more ice time and a bigger role this season, although he’s not just assuming that will happen.

“Of course, a little bit. But at the same time I don’t feel like I’m on the team,” he said. “I have to be good every day here and prove I’m going to be on the team. Of course that’s my goal. We’ll see how it goes.”

BRIEFLY

  • Marcus Kruger is due to join the Blackhawks this week. Quenneville wasn’t sure which day Kruger would return, but, “I’m hopeful we’ll see him tomorrow.”

  •  Andrew Shaw and Garret Ross got into a tussle in the final scrimmage at Notre Dame. And it was a lengthy one, too. Quenneville didn’t mind the fight but said he would have preferred it ending earlier. “I’d rather I was on the ice breaking it up,” he said.

Corey Crawford expects to make season debut for Blackhawks on Thursday vs. Arizona

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USA TODAY

Corey Crawford expects to make season debut for Blackhawks on Thursday vs. Arizona

The wait is almost over.

After missing nearly 10 months with a concussion, Corey Crawford said he expects to start on Thursday when the Blackhawks take on the Arizona Coyotes at the United Center. An official decision will come following the team's morning skate.

"It feels good to be back to myself," Crawford said. "I'm feeling good, I'm feeling clear. ... It was a pretty long process. But I think the most important thing was not to rush anything. When I finally was out, it got to a point where I wasn’t in shape to play and it was time to rest and it’s unfortunate it took a lot longer than I would’ve liked. 

"It’s been long, but finally, just to get back and be practicing with the team has meant a lot. It’s good to get to this point now when you’re really close to playing. Practices have been great, been getting timing a little bit more and getting up to speed and reading shots and all that, so it'll be nice to finally get in one."

Crawford's last appearance in an NHL game was Dec. 23, 2017 against the New Jersey Devils when he allowed three goals on seven shots in 13:22 of action before getting pulled. So of course, emotions will naturally be running high, especially in front of the hometown crowd.

"I'm sure I'll be a little anxious getting into it," Crawford said. "Some nerves. But we'll see. We'll wait until the morning, but I'm definitely excited I can tell you that."

It's obviously terrific news for the Blackhawks, who have picked up eight out of a possible 10 points to start the season and are getting their two-time Stanley Cup winning goalie back between the pipes. It's been a long time coming, and Crawford is coming back into a healthy situation where the Blackhawks are in a good spot in the standings.

"It's great news, I'm sure it'll be exciting for him exciting for our team, exciting for our fans and the organization as well," Patrick Kane said. "It’s probably a good situation all around. Cam [Ward] has done a great job of playing in the net so far. Crow is really good in practice right now, so I’m sure he’s itching to get back, too. We’ve had a good start here. It’s something we want to keep going, and I’m sure him coming back on home ice, in front of our crowd, will be a fun one for him and for our team."

There's no doubting how important Crawford is the team and organization. While there may be a little bit of rust early on, the Blackhawks are expecting him to look like his old self.

"He means a lot to the team," Quenneville said. "We felt last year was a good example of how important he was and how well he was playing for us, as well. We’ve gotten off to a decent start and he was a big factor in it. We know that goaltending is such a big part of the team and your success a lot of nights depends on him and his consistency’s always been in place.

"But he looks good in the net. He’s been off for a long, long time. Is there rust? Do we expect rust? I think the way he’s competing and practicing and finding pucks, he looks like he hasn’t missed a beat. So we’re looking forward to him getting in there and getting comfortable and how he’s feeling going forward will dictate a lot of the decisions about him going back in."

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

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USA TODAY

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!