Blackhawks

Blackhawks: Teuvo Teravainen playing with confidence again

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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.”

[MORE: With deadline done, Blackhawks look to build line chemistry]

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.”

Sports Talk Live Podcast: Is Crawford ready to go?

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USA TODAY

Sports Talk Live Podcast: Is Crawford ready to go?

Jimmy Greenfield, Connor McKnight, and Matt Spiegel join Kap on the panel to discuss Corey Crawford back on the ice for the first time in 10 months. The Bears have good news when it comes to Khalil Mack, who injured his ankle against the Dolphins.

Plus, Fred Hoiberg announces that Jabari Parker is coming off the bench for the season opener.

Listen to the full episode here or via the embedded player below:

Niklas Hjalmarsson 'wasn't happy' about trade, but remembers time with Blackhawks fondly

Niklas Hjalmarsson 'wasn't happy' about trade, but remembers time with Blackhawks fondly

Apparently time doesn’t heal all wounds. 

Nearly a year and a half since being traded to the Coyotes, Niklas Hjalmarsson will return to the United Center ice on Thursday playing for the visiting team.  

“It’s going to be strange coming in as the away team and being in the other locker room,” said Hjalmarsson on Wednesday. “I bet it’s going to be a lot of emotions and mixed feelings.” 

This is also the first time Hjalmarsson has been back to the city of Chicago since he was traded, a city he called his “second home.” A home where he spent parts of 10 seasons, and never really planned on leaving.

“I wasn’t happy, to be honest with you,” said Hjalmarsson of the trade to Arizona. “I was shocked. It took me a couple days to actually realize I wasn’t going to play for the Hawks anymore.”

Including the playoffs, Hjalmarsson played 751 games in the Indian head sweater. Despite that and the team’s three Stanley Cup victories, the Blackhawks shipped him off to Arizona for Connor Murphy and Laurent Dauphin in June of 2017.

“You kind of let it go after a while,” he said. “Now I’m just hoping all the success for the guys over here too.”

Hjalmarsson was known for his toughness, repeatedly blocking shot after shot, giving up his body, while never missing a shift. He credits his long-time teammates — Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook — for a lot of his success and identity on the blue line.

“I couldn’t have had better role models coming into a team,” he said. “I’m very thankful to have played on the same team as those guys and created a lot of success together. We’re always going to be connected with the Cups that we’ve had.”

The third championship won by that defense-trio was on United Center ice against the Lightning in 2015, but that isn’t the memory that stands out most for Hjalmarsson.

“The first Cup is always going to be pretty special,” said the 31-year old. “Even just going to the conference final (in 2009), even when we lost against Detroit that year, the year before was great memories too. The first time for me going into the playoffs and playing deep.”

The tables have turned now for both Hjalmarsson and the Blackhawks. 

The Coyotes have yet to score an even-strength goal this season, while the Blackhawks have claimed eight of a possible 10 points thus far through five games and expect to have their starting goaltender back between the pipes. 

But you won’t hear any ill-will from Hjalmarsson, he’s still rooting for the Hawks.

“I always think that Chicago deserves to have a team in the playoffs,” he said. “It’s not that I wish them not to do well. It’s the total opposite. I want them to have continued success.”