DETROIT – Teuvo Teravainen’s worth with the Blackhawks has been shown a few times this season.
When Jonathan Toews was out, Teravainen took his place. When Artemi Panarin was ill, Teravainen filled in there. He took on more penalty killing duties when Duncan Keith recovered from surgery earlier this season.
Still, it looked like Teravainen’s confidence was shaky too often. But when general manager Stan Bowman said Saturday how much Teravainen meant to the Blackhawks, and acquiring Dale Weise and Tomas Fleischmann was done in part to help the forward, Teravainen responded on Sunday with one of his best games this season.
Teravainen’s pass led to Toews’ power-play goal, and he played a strong all-around game with one of his new line mates in the Blackhawks’ 3-2 victory over the Washington Capitals on Sunday. The Teravainen the Blackhawks saw on Sunday looked more like the Teravainen of last postseason, who was stellar playing with Patrick Sharp and Antoine Vermette.
That Teravainen hasn’t consistently been around this season. The various moves were a compliment to Teravainen’s versatility but at the same time, it was tough to get settled. So Bowman went out and got Weise and Fleischmann, Teravainen’s likely linemates once Weise gets here, and put Teravainen at back at center.
“He’s a very important player for us and will continue to be,” Bowman said. “If anything we want to try and find some stability for him as opposed to moving him around.”
For Teravainen, Bowman’s actions meant a lot. So did his words.
“Yeah, that’s nice to hear. That’s one thing that can build my confidence,” Teravainen said. “In my game I need my confidence and I need to be myself out there. That’s a nice thing.”
And it seemed those words were in Teravainen’s mind when he played on Sunday. Teravainen looked confident and had good chemistry with Desjardins, whom he’s played with for a while now, and new line mate Fleischmann.
“The balance looks like it’s there with him playing center, with some upside offensively with that group,” coach Joel Quenneville said.
A year and a half ago, when the Blackhawks were entering the 2014 offseason, Bowman said Teravainen was not going to be part of any trade the team made. On Saturday he made it clear that Teravainen is part of this team moving forward. Perhaps Teravainen already knew that. Still, it’s always nice to get the verbal vote of confidence.
“You never know what happens [at the trade deadline] but I was really confident I could be here and I think help this team, maybe be like [part of] the future,” he said. “That’s my goal.”