Blackhawks: Teuvo Teravainen playing with confidence again


Blackhawks: Teuvo Teravainen playing with confidence again

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.

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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.”

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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.”

How will the Blackhawks utilize Kirby Dach?

How will the Blackhawks utilize Kirby Dach?

The Blackhawks recalled No. 3 overall pick Kirby Dach from his AHL conditioning stint on Friday night after he appeared in three games with the Rockford IceHogs. He missed the first week of training camp with a concussion and the organization wanted him to get a taste of the pro action and back up to speed after not playing in any preseason games, either.

"I enjoyed the experience there," Dach said. "I had a lot of fun. Got to see a couple buddies. It was good for me to get down there and get some pro games under my belt and just feel what the pace is going to be like. It'll be another step up here, but I feel good and I feel like I'm ready to go."

Whether Dach makes his NHL debut on Sunday against the Washington Capitals won't be revealed by head coach Jeremy Colliton until after morning skate on Sunday. But where does he fit into the lineup going forward?

The Blackhawks are 2-0-1 in their past three games and aren't necessarily looking to shake up their rotation, even though they're still searching for consistency on all four lines.

The easy answer is for Dach to slide into a third-line center role behind Jonathan Toews and Dylan Strome, but the trio of David Kampf, Dominik Kubalik and Brandon Saad has undoubtedly been the most consistent for the Blackhawks this season. And we saw in the home opener what happened when they were separated. 

The Blackhawks held an optional practice on Saturday morning and didn't run through line rushes, but before Dach was assigned to Rockford, he took several spins on the first line with Toews and alternated with Drake Caggiula and Alex DeBrincat. It's possible Dach starts on the wing, where he can play top-six minutes and not have as much responsibility as a center would.

"I've played wing in previous years, so it's not something that's new to me," Dach said. "At the same time I'm open-minded to just getting into the lineup and helping the team win."

The Blackhawks can give Dach up to nine NHL games before deciding whether they want to burn the first year of his entry-level contract or send him back to the Saskatoon Blades of the WHL.

"As a kid you always grow up dreaming of playing in the NHL, so there'll be nerves," Dach said. "But there will also be a lot of excitement. I've just got to do my best to focus on my game and be ready to play whenever my name's called upon by the coaching staff."

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Blackhawks Talk Podcast: Blackhawks scratch out a win and Kirby Dach recalled

USA Today

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: Blackhawks scratch out a win and Kirby Dach recalled

Pat Boyle and Charlie Roumeliotis welcome Nick Gismondi into the fold before discussing Friday's win over Columbus. Robin Lehner played stellar and is forming quite a tandem in net with Corey Crawford (4:10), while the DeBrincat/Kane connection is alive and well (6:10), and the Blackhawks' struggles at even strength continued (12:10). Then, the guys react to the breaking news of Kirby Dach's recall from Rockford and discuss where he might fit into this lineup (15:10).

Listen to the entire episode here or in the embedded player below.

Blackhawks Talk Podcast


Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Blackhawks easily on your device.