Blackhawks' Teuvo Teravainen trying to shake hesitant ways


Blackhawks' Teuvo Teravainen trying to shake hesitant ways

Teuvo Teravainen batted down Duncan Keith’s pass and, before the puck really had a chance to settle down, fired. It was his only shot of the game and yet it was a successful one, a bank-shot off Michael Hutchinson that ended up being the game-winning goal.

What was missing from that particular play? Hesitancy. Teravainen had none. He didn’t have much hesitancy last spring, either, when he was part of a productive postseason line with Patrick Sharp and Antoine Vermette. He’s got that chance again, as he’s been promoted to the top line with Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa again. And if he played like he did in the spring, that top line could really get going.

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Teravainen admits he’s been trying to find his game so far this season. He’s hopped around the lineup a bit; but no matter his line mates, he hasn’t recaptured his postseason level – yet. With another top-line opportunity, however, he’s hoping to get back to form.

“Sometimes I don’t make the right plays but I always want to get better,” said Teravainen, who realizes he has to shoot more, even with his star line mates. “You want to get the puck to them and sometimes I have to be more selfish.”

Coach Joel Quenneville agreed.

“I think he’s got a great shot, a quick release and one-times anything loose in that slot area,” he said. “You get goalies, [when] they get set in today’s game, you’re not going to beat too many. But the element of the quickness, the element of surprise, one-timing shots and he’s going to be around the net with those guys, there’s going to be a lot of good opportunities, quality as he goes along here.”

[NBC SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

Teravainen started the season on the top line, the final preseason game with he, Toews and Hossa looked promising. He scored in the regular-season opener. But then the hesitancy crept into his game. He was passing frequently, not holding onto the puck enough and not shooting enough. Teravainen’s tried to take those lessons into his latest top-line chance.

“Just work hard and get those feet moving and try to play smart and when you get the puck, be patient and make some plays,” he said. “Be strong with the puck and that’s what I try to do.”

Teravainen is a top-six forward but he has to show the confidence of a top-six forward. He showed that last spring, even if it was on the third line. If he shows that consistently on the top line, he could stay there for a while.

“Wanting the puck, having the puck, I think, has got to be a strength of his,” Quenneville said. “And being comfortable thinking that, ‘Hey, I can shoot it, too,’ and not always have to feed.”

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


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!

10 years with 'Coach Q' anything but ordinary

10 years with 'Coach Q' anything but ordinary

Over the last 10 years, the words “ordinary” and "OK" have taken on a new meaning to Blackhawks players and fans alike. 

That’s “Coach Q” speak. 

A language where “ordinary” means awful and “just OK” means you were a non-factor. The good news is the last 10 seasons under Joel Quenneville have been anything but ordinary at the United Center. 

On Oct. 16th, 2008, the Blackhawks let go of fan-favorite Denis Savard after a 1-2-1 start to the season and named Quenneville as head coach in his place. Quenneville coached the Colorado Avalanche the previous season, but after another disappointing exit in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the two mutually parted ways. He had originally planned to stay away from the bench for at least a season, but the Blackhawks triumvirate of Rocky Wirtz, John McDonough and then-GM Dale Tallon brought Quenneville on as a scout and then handed him the keys to the car shortly after.

“Dale’s obligation is to put together a winning team,” said McDonough at Quenneville’s introductory press conference. “At this point, Joel is the coach of that team.”

It was an emotional day at the Blackhawks offices. Savard – a Blackhawks legend on the ice and a coach the players held in high regard – was let go just as things started to turn upwards for the organization. The end of the 2007-2008 season saw the Blackhawks once again miss out on the playoffs, but the fans began to flock to the United Center once more, and the hype train around the young team built around Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane was gaining steam.

“Moving forward, if we want to be a championship-caliber organization, we have to make tough decisions,” said Tallon. “This was the toughest decision I’ve ever had to make.” 

Savard was 65-66-16 in parts of three seasons as head coach of the Blackhawks. Meanwhile, Quenneville had compiled eight 95+ point seasons behind the bench for the Blues and Avalanche in his 11 years as a head coach.

“We felt the experience and the track record of Joel would be a balance that we needed with a young, inexperienced team,” said Tallon. "Joel brings us a wealth of experience and a winning track record that will have an immediate and lasting impact."

The gamble paid off for the Blackhawks in a major way. Once Quenneville took over, the team got to the sought-after next level. 

They finished the 08-09 season with 104 points, third-most in the NHL’s Western Conference, had a franchise-record setting 9-game win streak in the month of December and returned to the playoffs for the first time since the 2001-2002 season. The “young and inexperienced” Blackhawks took the league by storm, dropping the Calgary Flames in the first round of the playoffs in six games before taking down the rival Canucks in the next round.

They ultimately lost out to the Detroit Red Wings in the Western Conference Finals, but the bar was now set for the organization. From then on, the Blackhawks were Stanley Cup contenders. 

Quenneville currently ranks 2nd in franchise history with 449 wins, trailing only Billy Reay’s 516. 

But most importantly, Quenneville’s 76 playoff wins rank at the top in the organization’s long and storied history, and those three Stanley Cups that he’s raised over his head were anything but “ordinary.”