EDMONTON, Alberta — Joel Quenneville’s not treating Teuvo Teravainen with kid gloves. He doesn’t believe he has to. Confidence is not an issue for the Blackhawks’ most prized prospect.
“Not at all,” Quenneville said.
Teravainen was a healthy scratch Thursday in Minnesota, but should be back in the lineup tonight in Edmonton. Quenneville had generally positive reviews of Teravainen’s first two games of the season, in which he had four shots but no points, and was knocked around a bit by physically stronger opponents.
Quenneville said it’s all part of the learning process.
“I think he’s been fine,” Quenneville said. “His approach going into the games, around the team, has been fine. I think that’s just part of the progress — learn the league, learn yourself, and our game and our system. I think he’s been fine with the whole process.”
Quenneville wants to see the 20-year-old Finn play to his strengths.
“Play your game, want the puck, be around the puck,” he said. “Use your speed defensively and pressure the puck, turn pucks over and try to keep it as long as you can.”
The Oilers are dead last in the league with 27 points through 41 games, and fired coach Dallas Eakins on Dec. 15, replaced by Todd Nelson. But they have points in four of their last five games, including wins over the Los Angeles Kings and New York Islanders. After being outshot 37-10 in the last two periods in a harrowing 4-2 win over Minnesota on Thursday night, Quenneville doesn’t want his team taking anyone lightly.
“Dangerous team; they’re playing well,” Quenneville said. “They’re playing better than they were last time we were here (a 7-1 Hawks win on Nov. 22). We’ve got to be ready. I think we need a better game and a better 60-minute, across-the-board commitment from our group than last night’s game. That was tough to watch.”
Antti Raanta will be making his first start since Dec. 23 for the Hawks.