Barely a month ago, Teuvo Teravainen was sent down to Rockford and his immediate future with the Blackhawks was uncertain. Now? Teravainen has entrenched himself in the lineup, made an immediate impact on the second line with Brandon Saad and Antoine Vermette, and — based on the way Joel Quenneville has been gushing about him —isn’t going anywhere.
“I think he’s really getting better,” Quenneville said. “He’s got some speed when he touches the puck, he’s good off entries, has [good] play recognition, and he’s got a lot of options. You’ve got to anticipate the puck coming to you when the puck’s on his stick. … He looks like he keeps getting better.”
Quenneville historically has been wary of rookies. The last time he raved about a rookie like that was Saad in 2013. Teravainen’s not producing at Saad’s level just yet, but he had an assist in both Arizona and San Jose, and entered Tuesday’s game with 10 shots on goal in his last four games.
Along with his top-six role, Teravainen also is getting some power-play time with Patrick Kane out, which is only adding to his confidence.
“That’s been my strength for all my life, so I’m good with that,” Teravainen said of the power play. “I try to produce, make things happen on the power play and help the team.”
The arrival of fellow Finn Kimmo Timonen has helped increase his comfort level, too.
“He’s a great guy,” Teravainen said. “He has so much experience. We just had the dads trip, so I felt like I had two dads on the trip. I had my own dad and my hockey dad.”
So much for that
Quenneville’s message to Kris Versteeg was a mere slap on the wrist, as the winger was back in the lineup Tuesday night despite skating outside the top four lines at Monday’s practice.
“We’ll see how things go today,” Quenneville said before the game.
Among the rules changes recommended at the NHL general managers meetings in Boca Raton, Florida, is a switch to 3-on-3 hockey in overtime. The AHL this season has used a modified overtime, in which the first three minutes are 4-on-4, followed by four minutes of 3-on-3. It has greatly reduced the number of shootouts, which is the idea. It’s still gimmicky, but it’s less gimmicky than the skills competition that currently decides so many standings points. And it’s becoming increasingly likely that some form of 3-on-3 hockey will be a part of the NHL next season.
“I know it’s a little longer than our time is,” Quenneville said. “[But] I don’t think anybody minds having it sorted out with a real goal.”
The GMs also supported adding a coach’s replay challenge for goalie interference and delay of game calls.