Teuvo Teravainen had an enjoyable Sunday afternoon, one that included a nice stroll and an attempt to keep his mind focused.
“Good day, walking a little outside and trying to make myself calm. It’s all right,” Teravainen said. “You try to think it's a normal game. Even if it’s not that normal, because if we win, that's it.”
Plenty of the current Blackhawks have been involved in the previous two Stanley Cup Final, so they’re more adept at dealing with the pressure going into tonight’s potential Cup-clinching Game 6 against the Tampa Bay Lightning. For others, especially some of the younger players, this is new territory. But guys like Teravainen and Trevor van Riemsdyk said Blackhawks veterans have given good advice in dealing with the enormity of the situation.
“Yeah, they all have had great stuff to say, how to stay focused: just remember to be prepared for the game, don’t let stuff on the outside take away from that,” van Riemsdyk said. “You have to be ready to play.”
Van Riemsdyk was trying to distract himself on Sunday, too, including watching the NBA Finals.
“You want to be focused and ready but not drive yourself crazy and keep yourself up at night thinking about the other stuff,” he said. “You just have to find a good balance like you have all year and go from there.”
The road is more of a distraction-free environment for players. At home, there are plenty of things going on around them. Patrick Kane said players have to take care of those distractions well before the game.
“It’s important to worry about everything you have to at the moment, whether it’s people coming into town, tickets, different things like that. Kind of get all that stuff out of the way as quickly as possible and then just focus on the game, focus about hockey,” Kane said. “I think [coach Joel Quenneville] says it best all the time: worry about winning one hockey game. That’s kind of our mindset coming into tonight.”
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Many of the Blackhawks have been in this situation before. For the few who haven’t, there is sage advice going into the pressure situation. The Blackhawks have a chance to win the Cup on home ice for the first time since 1938. The focus will be there; the veteran players will make sure of that.
“We have guys that haven’t been in this situation before. I think guys have played a lot of big games, [there are] some guys that can share that message. I let those guys talk to them about it,” Quenneville said. “I think as a team, we don't want to change too much, our preparation or focus, going into a game.”
— Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper said forward Nikita Kucherov is “probable” to play in Game 6 tonight. Kucherov went neck/shoulder first into the goal post in the first period of Game 5 and did not finish that game.
— Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop is expected to start.
— Kimmo Timonen, on where Kane’s 2010 Cup-winning puck is: “It might be still back of the net.”