Teuvo Teravainen will make his debut and Corey Crawford will start when the Chicago Blackhawks host the Dallas Stars tonight at the United Center.
Bryan Bickell (upper body) skated with the team this morning but he’s out for tonight’s game. Coach Joel Quenneville said Bickell will go on the Blackhawks’ upcoming trip to Boston, Ottawa and Pittsburgh. Johnny Oduya didn’t skate this morning but Quenneville said he’s fine and playing tonight. Michal Rozsival (lower body) is out; Quenneville said he’ll start skating here in town while the Blackhawks are on the road.
Teravainen was centering a line with Brandon Saad and Ben Smith at this morning’s skate. The 19-year-old, who came to the Blackhawks after his Finnish squad Jokerit was eliminated from the playoffs, said his emotions are fine entering this one.
“I don’t know if I’m really nervous but it’s a big night and a win is what matters,” he said. “So I'll be playing as good as I can. I'll just try to play to my strengths and just play offense and some good defense, also. I'll just play hard and play simple. I think that’s the key."
Teravainen has spent the past few days skating with a few Blackhawks; the team hasn’t practiced since he arrived in town. But he said he’s over his travel weariness and ready to go. Quenneville is ready to see what he can do.
“We’ll play him at center and see how that works. We’re excited to have a good look at him,” said Quenneville, who reiterated that the team will not put too much pressure him. “I talked to him a little bit but more about, ‘just play your game, trust your instincts out there. We’ll give some input as you go along to reinforce the way you need to play.’ But I encouraged him to play his game, trust his instincts.”
Jonathan Toews figured Teravainen would be revved up to play this one.
“I don’t care how skilled you are, there are always going to be some nerves when you play your first game, especially with the excitement surrounding him coming in here at this point of the season,” he said. “But you just let him play his game, don’t fill his head with too many things; he’ll learn as he goes. But there’s not too much to worry about with a player of his caliber.”