Teravainen using AHL time to improve game

ROCKFORD, Ill. -- Teuvo Teravainen is trying to be the player the Chicago Blackhawks want him to be.

Teravainen, the organization's top-ranked prospect, has been focusing on the areas of his game that Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said needed improvement after he was assigned to the AHL’s Rockford IceHogs out of training camp. Teravainen has worked to skate more north and south with the puck, shoot more and get to the net more.

“They just tell me to go north when I get the puck,” the 20-year-old Teravainen said after his team’s morning skate Tuesday. “Sometimes it’s too much curvy in the middle to find those pucks. Just go straight forward and push to the net. [I’m trying to] still shoot more and do the things that they want to do, go to the net, those kind of things.”

At the same time, Teravainen doesn’t want to get away from what’s made him so successful at an early age. He still wants to utilize his vision and passing and find creative ways to be offensive.

“I don’t know if it’s difficult,” Teravainen said. “I’ve always been myself. It’s my strengths. I always try to play to my strengths. I know here the game is a little different, especially the AHL. Guys are just chipping pucks and dumping, dump-and-chase hockey a lot. I need to play that, too. It’s not the funnest thing. I’m trying to stay happy with this hockey. I’m trying to help my team whatever I do.”

Teravainen has been helping. He’s second on the team with seven points, which includes one goal and six assists, through 10 games. He has four points over the last three games entering Tuesday’s game against the Lake Erie Monsters.

IceHogs coach Ted Dent has liked Teravainen’s progress. Dent has been seeking the perfect linemates for Teravainen early in the season and has played him with nearly everyone on the roster. Dent will have Ryan Hartman and Matt Carey on Teravainen’s sides on Tuesday.

“I think it’s been good,” Dent said of Teravainen’s play. ”He’s had some different linemates over the course of the last 10 games as well. Just trying to find the right combination. He thinks the game so quick. He makes subtle, little, quick passes sometimes that his linemates aren’t ready for them sometimes. That’s his quick hands, which is a strength of his game. [He’s been skating] north and south. He’s been shooting the puck pretty well.”

Teravainen has concentrated on not always thinking pass. He’s had 22 shots on goal through 10 games.

“He’s got a sneaky shot,” Dent said. “When he’s got those one-timers across ice, he’s connected well on them. Obviously we want to see him shoot well.”

One area Teravainen isn’t thinking too much about is the NHL. He was disappointed to be sent to Rockford to begin the season, but he is now staying patient.

“I’m good,” Teravainen said. “I’m good here. Just taking my time, try to get better here. I just try to stay positive here and keep working hard and getting better. Just be ready whenever I have the chance.”