Teuvo Teravainen stood in front of the media contingent on Friday morning, camera lights glaring as he joined the Chicago Blackhawks for the second time this season.
The attention was massive. In some circles, so are the expectations placed upon the 19-year-old whom the Blackhawks drafted 18th overall in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. But be it those lofty expectations or acclimating himself to the Blackhawks and the NHL, Teravainen is taking it all in stride.
Teravainen will likely play soon, although it won’t be tonight when the Blackhawks host the Carolina Hurricanes. Coach Joel Quenneville said, “I don’t want to say exactly when the date (is he’ll play) but hopefully we can get him in during this home stand, the next one or two games.”
Until then, Teravainen is looking forward to reacquainting himself with the Blackhawks he met at training camp, get some on-ice work with them – and shrug off those expectations.
“I don’t need to be Superman here,” Teravainen said. “There are so many good players on this team. If I play here I’m just one of those guys. I just don’t think about all the media things and (I’ll) just try to have fun.”
A few teammates were having fun trying to pronounce Teuvo Teravainen (TAY-voh tair-uh-VIGH-nehn). Some were pronouncing his first name like the well-known DVR – “don’t tell him I messed it up,” Andrew Shaw said. But all kidding aside, some know exactly what Teravainen’s going through regarding the acclimation process. Shaw was thrown into the lineup in January of 2012.
“Have fun and just work,” was Shaw’s advice to Teravainen. “You’re going to be on the ice with some great players. Just do what got you here. Those are my words of wisdom.”
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Marcus Kruger can also relate, especially from the across-the-pond standpoint. Kruger was brought over from Sweden in April of 2011, having never participated in the Blackhawks’ training camp or played on the smaller ice surface.
“Of course it’s different, but he’s a good player so he’ll adjust quick,” Kruger said of Teravainen. “Give him some time; he’ll be effective for us.”
There’s no doubt Teravainen was effective with Jokerit and with Finland’s team at the World Juniors, where it won the gold medal. Teravainen showed the Blackhawks some of that potential in training camp, and he could very well show it again this spring.
“He’s gotten stronger in the puck area and defensively he’s gotten responsible. I’m sure that’s always going to be a work in progress. But the things he does offensively are things you can’t teach,” said Quenneville, who added Teravainen could play center or wing. “And I think we look forward to seeing how that all plays out.”
Teravainen will get adjusted as quickly as he can. He knows some of the Blackhawks from camp and he also has fellow Finn Antti Raanta here -- “there are too many Swedish guys. It’s good there’s one Finnish, also,” he joked. When Teravainen does play, he hopes to do his best. As for the massive expectations, he’ll shrug those off, along with the travel fatigue.
“I don’t feel it,” Teravainen said of the pressure. “I’m just trying to live day by day. I’m just doing my things and I hope I can help the team.”