GLENDALE Ariz. – The Blackhawks have missed a player or two at various times this season.
Perhaps that player leaves a void on the penalty kill or the power play, or maybe it’s just his main position where the Blackhawks need to fill the need. Regardless, when another player has been absent, one particular Blackhawks forward has gotten great opportunities: Teuvo Teravainen.
Teravainen was getting the extra-responsibility call again on Tuesday night, filling the top-line center role for an absent Jonathan Toews in the Blackhawks’ 2-1 victory over the Colorado Avalanche. It’s a testament to Teravainen’s versatility and the Blackhawks’ trust in him, no matter the situation.
“Yeah, it’s good I can play a lot of different positions,” Teravainen said. “I’ve been playing with every guy, left wing, right wing. I have to be ready every game; you never know.”
That was the case heading into the Blackhawks' first game after the All-Star break. With Toews suspended for missing the All-Star weekend, Teravainen stepped onto the top line. Earlier this season, when Duncan Keith was injured, Teravainen expanded his penalty-killing role — he did that again when Artem Anisimov was ill last month.
Getting the added responsibilities is a boost to Teravainen’s confidence.
“It makes me feel more comfortable,” he said. “I try, whatever role it is, to play as best I can. Sometimes it’s more of a defensive role, sometimes offense. But I have to be responsible every time. It’s a good chance for me.”
Teravainen played a more limited role last year, but that was last year. He needed time to grow and develop his game over here. Obviously coach Joel Quenneville trusts him with it — Quenneville isn’t the type to put guys into situations he doesn’t think they can handle.
“I think we’re always comfortable because defensively he’s reliable. That predictability we like and the upside, offensively, is still in place,” Quenneville said. “There’s room for growth in that area but defensively I like how he positions himself in the right places.”
[SHOP BLACKHAWKS: Get your Blackhawks gear right here]
Teravainen would like to have more offense. On Thursday, with Toews poised to return against the Arizona Coyotes, Teravainen will be back in his familiar right-wing spot on the third line (with Andrew Desjardins and Phillip Danault). Those three were generating some offense at the start of the year, and would like to get going again. No matter where Teravainen is, however, he’s bringing the right elements and trusting his instincts to do so.
“I think I don’t think too much, and if I do that’s not a good thing,” he said. “You have to play to your instincts and I think that’s my game. When I’m playing my best I’m really into the game and making good decisions on the ice.”
- Michal Rozsival (lower body) will likely play against the Coyotes. What that means for Viktor Svedberg, who played a good game in Rozsival’s place, is uncertain. Quennville said of Svedberg, “I thought he had an excellent game last night but we’ll see about tomorrow’s lineup.”
- Corey Crawford will start.