Teravainen staying patient with Blackhawks

April, 13, 2014
Apr 13
5:42
PM CT
Powers By Scott Powers
ESPNChicago.com
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Teuvo TeravainenBill Smith/Getty ImagesTeuvo Teravainen saw action in three games with the Blackhawks in March.
ROSEMONT, Ill. -- Chicago Blackhawks prospect Teuvo Teravainen is confident he can play in the NHL now, but he understands he needs to wait his time.

The 19-year-old Teravainen played in three games for the Blackhawks after being recalled from Jokerit in Finland’s Liiga on March 21. He was reassigned to the AHL’s Rockford IceHogs on Thursday after being a healthy scratch in the Blackhawks’ previous four games. He played in his third consecutive game for the IceHogs on Sunday.

“I think I can play in that league right now,” Teravainen said of the NHL prior to playing against the Chicago Wolves on Sunday. “I have played with men in Finland for 2-3 years, so I’m ready to play there. I think I played OK, but I think it’s not enough. I can play there, but it’ll take some time getting used to this league and this North American hockey. It’s different than European hockey. Like I said, I’m just learning every day here and just trying to help this team.”

Teravainen made his debut for the IceHogs on Friday and scored the team’s lone goal in a 4-1 loss to the Milwaukee Admirals. He had zero points and a plus-1 rating in a 1-0 win over the Iowa Wild on Saturday.

Teravainen said he wasn’t disappointed to be sent down to the AHL. He was happy to just be playing again. He last played for the Blackhawks on March 30.

“I was kind of thinking maybe it would be better for me to come here and play some games,” Teravainen said. “It’s better than just practice. For me just to get game minutes, play some big minutes here, just try to help this team.

“It’s been good days here. It’s been good to play hockey again. I didn’t play a couple weeks. I just practiced. I think it’s more fun to play, of course. It’s good to play.”

IceHogs coach Ted Dent and Teravainen met on Thursday night to talk about his role with the IceHogs.

“I met him the night he came to Rockford,” Dent said on Sunday. “I went out and we had a cup of coffee and just talked shop for a little bit and got to know each other and talked about some power play philosophy. I just want him to be comfortable in where he’s playing, who he’s playing with. We had a good talk about his year and his time in Chicago. He hadn’t played a game in two weeks. I think he was excited to play some games.”

IceHogs forward Pierre-Marc Bouchard has spent a bulk of his career in the NHL and has taken notice of Teravainen’s ability after playing two games with him.

“You can tell he’s a real smart hockey player, a pretty high IQ on the ice,” Bouchard said. “He’s always making the right decision with the puck, lot of skill. I’m pretty impressed.”

Teravainen could be recalled by the Blackhawks again before the end of the season, but he isn’t likely to play in the playoffs. His focus is more on playing for them next season.

“That’s my goal to be with the Blackhawks next season, when the season starts,” Teravainen said. “I just try to work hard in the summer. That’s going to be a lot of work.”
Scott Powers is a general reporter for ESPNChicago.com. He is an award-winning journalist and has been reporting on preps, colleges and pros for publications throughout the Midwest since 1997.

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