Teravainen has solid postseason debut with Blackhawks


Teravainen has solid postseason debut with Blackhawks

NASHVILLE — Bryan Bickell has noticed the changes in Teuvo Teravainen’s confidence level, especially on the ice.

Gone is that kid who seemed hesitant or unconfident, characteristics that aren’t surprising for a then 19-year-old who was adjusting to so many different things, on and off the ice, at once.

“He’s more patient with the puck. Before, it didn’t seem like he wanted the puck but now it seems it’s finding him. He’s finding ways to get open,” Bickell said. “If I had the puck in situations I’d just try to dump it in but he has poise and patience with it and that’s what we need from him.”

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Teravainen’s handled his first postseason experience with poise, too, assisting on Niklas Hjalmarsson’s goal in Game 1 against the Nashville Predators. The 20-year-old Finn has been part of the Blackhawks’ fourth line for some time now, giving that group more of a scoring threat. His defense has been just as good, as he continues to mature into a strong NHL player.

Entering his first postseason, Teravainen said he wasn’t planning on changing a thing.

“It’s just playing smart. You can’t turn the puck over; you just have to know what you’re doing out there,” he said. “Maybe sometimes, don’t take too many risks and play smart defense. But when I get the chance, I’ll try to make some offense and play to my strengths.”

Coach Joel Quenneville was very happy with Teravainen’s postseason debut.

“His patience was out there against top lines a lot of the night, a lot of defensive zone starts, key face-offs. I just thought he had a real nice game,” Quenneville said. “He’ll get a little more comfortable with the puck moving forward. Everything happens so fast, it gets hectic out there. It gets more predictable with time and that only enhances his strength.”

[MORE: Blackhawks: Konroyd's keys to a Game 2 win in Nashville]

Teravainen was sent back to Rockford earlier this season because the Blackawks saw him as a top-nine forward, and at the time there was no spot for him on those first three lines. So now he’s on the fourth line. He’ll certainly move up in time, be it this postseason or next year. But this has worked so why not stick with it?

General manager Stan Bowman said it speaks highly of Teravainen’s abilities to take on this role.

“He’s only 20 years old now, but he has the ability as a young player to have the trust of the coaches in defensive situations,” Bowman said. “It’s unusual for a player of his talent to be trusted at a young age to play a role on more of a checking line. But he’s got the ability to make plays and bring offense from that role and he also gives you the play-making.”

Teravainen has handled every step of his NHL learning curve well. That includes the big stage that he’s on now.

“His progression has been exciting to see, it’s just the tip of the iceberg for him,” Bowman said. “We’re excited for him to get playoff exposure and he looks more confident with each game he plays.”

Anthem singer Wayne Messmer talks 1991 NHL All-Star Game rendition

Anthem singer Wayne Messmer talks 1991 NHL All-Star Game rendition

Wayne Messmer, the National Anthem singer from the 1991 NHL All-Star Game, chatted with NBC Sports Chicago's Blackhawks Talk podcast about one of the most iconic moments in Chicago sports history.

On January 19, 1991 the NHL All-Star Game was at Chicago Stadium. The celebration of the league's best players commenced just two days after Operation Desert Storm began the Gulf War. 

Messmer has sung the National Anthem around Chicago for 30 years and was the Blackhawks anthem singer for 13. 

He notes the tradition of Hawks fans cheering the anthem began ahead of a 1985 playoff contest with Chicago down 2-0 in the series to the Edmonton Oilers.

"It had been a little noisy when Hawks had played Vancouver," Messmer said. "Perhaps the year before or even in '83, but it was really games 3 and 4 of that series, the Conference Finals against Gretzky and the gang from Edmonton, where it began."

Messmer believed the '91 All-Star anthem was the hockey universe's introduction to Chicago's way of enjoying the Star Spangled Banner.

"Yeah, for sure," he said. "Because it was a few weeks earlier there was a game on that was televised nationally from the stadium and the decision was, 'Do not carry the anthem.' There was kind of a pushback, especially from the fans. 

"So when they announced NBC was going to cover both anthems, it was like a challenge to the fans, 'Let's show them how it's done here.' And the signs and the flares and the sparklers and all of that, it was Twilight Zone surreal. You had to pinch yourself because it was really happening.

"And trying to get through that as a vocalist isn't easy because you got a huge, emotional lump in your throat. You want to be a part of that, but you're the guy that's got to light the wick."

The singer was able to take in the moment despite his monumental duty that day.

"I was certainly soaking it in," Messmer said. "I've always, as I will describe it, 'lived life with my eyes open.' But, I will tell you, it took enormous concentration. And I'm not saying, 'Hey, how swell I am,' but it's a technique of concentrating on technique, on breathing, on supporting and not shouting, not screaming and not trying to get louder because the crowd is getting louder." 

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Patrick Kane views booing in St. Louis as 'a sign of respect'

Patrick Kane views booing in St. Louis as 'a sign of respect'

ST. LOUIS — Of the 11 NHL All-Stars from the Central Division this season, four of them are Blues: Jordan Binnington, Ryan O’Reilly, David Perron and Alex Pietrangelo. And deservedly so.

The other seven were all booed by Blues fans on Friday, but none were louder than the ones Patrick Kane drew.

Kane steps on the ice for warmups? Boos.

Kane’s name announced as a Central Division representative? Boos.

Kane touches the puck for one of the skills challenges? Boos.

Heck, even during Thursday’s media session when seven other skaters were talking at the same time as Kane, he was interrupted by boos.

So when the nine-time Blackhawks All-Star won the Shooting Stars challenge at the Skills Competition on Friday, Blues fans weren’t afraid to show how they felt about it. It didn’t help that it was the final event of the night, either.

After the competition, Kane was asked about the crowd reception in St. Louis. And he responded in terrific fashion.

"The boys were asking me why I was getting booed," Kane said. "And I said I shouldn't have scored those overtime playoff goals against them and maybe they wouldn't have booed me."

Over the last decade, Kane helped lead the Blackhawks to nine consecutive playoff appearances, five Conference Finals and three Stanley Cup runs. He was a thorn in the side of every Central Division team over that span, including the Blues.

In 64 career games against the Blues, Kane has 25 goals and 38 assists for 63 points. He also has 13 points (four goals, nine assists) in 13 postseasons contests, with two of those goals being game winners.

As they say, fans don’t boo nobodies.

"I remember me and my dad, we went to watch the Flyers and Sabres fans were booing [Eric] Lindros the whole game," Kane recalled. "I think he got kicked out with like 10 minutes left in the game or something, and then the game was no fun anymore because there was no one left to boo or watch. 

“You kind of view it as, obviously it’s somewhat a sign of hatred, but somewhat a sign of respect too. It’s fun when you play in Nashville or Winnipeg or places like that, and you hold onto the puck and they’re booing you and you want to hold onto it longer. [Duncan Keith] get booed in Vancouver, which is always pretty funny to see him up his game a little bit and hold onto the puck as well. It’s somewhat a sign of respect.”

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