Blackhawks

Young Blackhawks keeping their calm before Game 6 vs. Lightning

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Young Blackhawks keeping their calm before Game 6 vs. Lightning

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.

[MORE: Blackhawks need balanced emotions in Game 6]

“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.”

[NBC SPORTS SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

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.”

BRIEFLY

— 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.”

Hawks Talk Podcast: Blackhawks training camp twist, Boqvist in?

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USA TODAY

Hawks Talk Podcast: Blackhawks training camp twist, Boqvist in?

On the latest Hawks Talk Podcast, Pat Boyle and Charlie Roumeliotis talk about Joel Quenneville leaving the door open for No. 8 overall pick Adam Boqvist to start the season with the Blackhawks. What are the chances he and Henri Jokiharju both make the team?

The guys also discuss Corey Crawford's status and what to make of his abbreviated on-ice session after six straight days of skating, Connor Murphy's injury that could sideline him until December, how the line of Brandon Saad, Nick Schmaltz and Patrick Kane will work and the new 1-3-1 power play structure.

They also weigh in on which position battles they're looking forward to tracking during the back half of training camp.

Listen to the full podcast here or via the embedded player below, and be sure to subscribe, rate us and write a review!

Change of plans? Adam Boqvist could start season with Blackhawks

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USA TODAY

Change of plans? Adam Boqvist could start season with Blackhawks

That was quick. 

Hours after we wrote how Adam Boqvist has been flying under the radar this training camp because his NHL timeline could still be 2-3 years away — something even he admitted after the Blackhawks drafted him No. 8 overall in June — he put on a strong showing in his second preseason game on Thursday against the Detroit Red Wings playing on the top pairing and leading the team in ice time (22:15). 

His offensive skill is evident. So is his general skating ability. What really stood out was how he defended, particularly a 1-on-1 rush against the speedy Andreas Athanasiou.

This is the play that got Blackhawks fans excited. This is a player who has the ability to speed up his timeline if he takes advantage of this next year of development, which won’t begin in London on Friday after coach Joel Quenneville told reporters following Thursday’s contest that his debut with the Knights in the OHL is being put on hold because they want a longer look at him.

In fact, Quenneville didn’t rule out the possibility of Boqvist making the Blackhawks straight out of camp.

"I think as we've gone through camp and see him play through the games, we're watching him," Quenneville said. "We've been pleased with him. It's almost like, when you come to camp, we want to watch these guys. They make those decisions for us with how they play and it's been a positive one."

But that doesn’t mean he’d necessarily stick around for the full season.

Because he’s 18 years of age, Boqvist is eligible to play in up to nine games before getting sent to his respective junior team without burning the first year of his entry-level deal. He’s a slide candidate next year as well. It’s what the Blackhawks did with Ryan Hartman, who appeared in five games in 2014-15 and three games in 2015-16 before securing a full-time spot in 2016-17. That's the likely scenario if it were to reach that point.

It's hard to imagine the Blackhawks breaking in each of their top-two defensive prospects in Henri Jokiharju and Boqvist at the same time. And for Boqvist, you certainly don't want to waste any years of his entry-level contract when he could be using that time to truly develop so he could hit the ground running when he does enter the league on a full-time basis.

Perhaps the back injury to Connor Murphy, who is expected to be out until December, allowed the Blackhawks to view Boqvist's situation in a wider lense. Or maybe this was the plan all along.

Regardless, the Blackhawks may get a glimpse of the future quicker than they thought and it’s added a little excitement to training camp and the anticipation of Opening Day.