Teravainen getting comfortable, relying on instincts

CHICAGO -- Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp tries to stay out of his young linemate Teuvo Teravainen's way.

Sharp, an 11-year NHL veteran, will answer whatever questions the 20-year-old Teravainen may have for him, but Sharp has been around long enough to know there’s little Teravainen needs from him. There’s just one simple message Sharp tries to pass on.

“The only thing I ever tell him is to play on instincts,” said Sharp, who was given the same advice from Jeremy Roenick and John LeClair as a young player. “He’s the type of player he is. He’s here for a reason. There’s no reason for him to listen to me or anybody else at this point unless it’s the coaching staff. Just play on instincts, usually he has the right ones.”

Teravainen’s teammates and Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville have already witnessed enough of his game to understand he has the ability to create plays very few players are capable of making. What they’re trying to do is make him feel comfortable to utilize his gifts.

“You can’t take the creativity away from a guy like that,” said Blackhawks forward Andrew Shaw, who has been centering Sharp and Teravainen on a line. “That’s why he’s here. He’s a great player that way. You just try to keep him motivated, try to keep him going forward.

“I just try talking to him. Sharpie tries talking to him, too. ‘Just go out there, play your game. You’re a great player.’ He’s going to make plays. He’s going to get those scoring opportunities. 'Never get down on yourself, just keep fighting and keep competing.'”

Teravainen has been getting the message just fine. He said Thursday he’s been more at ease on the ice the last few games.

“Just try to play my game and with my own strengths,” Teravainen said. “That’s what I can do. That’s why I’m here. I don’t need to be anyone but myself.”

The line of Sharp, Shaw and Teravainen has been together for two consecutive games and has been close to producing a goal on a number of shifts. Sharp and Shaw have been learning how to play off Teravainen’s game, and Teravainen has been learning about his linemates.

“I think it’s been good. I think we’ve played a good couple games now," Teravainen said. "We just haven’t scored. We need to figure out. We’ve been good in practice. We’ve been scoring a lot, maybe we get it in the games, too. We’re creating a lot of chances, so we need that one ugly goal maybe.”

Teravainen is still searching for his first career NHL point. Quenneville is optimistic that will come as that line spends more ice time together.

“I think Teuvo's played his best when they were together,” Quenneville said. “Hopefully they can generate some offense, and I think defensively they were fine, as well. But that line really seemed to look like they had quality chances, offensive zone time and were a real threat. And Teuvo looked like he got to that level where all of a sudden he had a couple of ‘wow’ plays and we had the puck a lot more."

Quenneville has commented a few times since the Blackhawks’ last game about those “wow” plays. Teravainen couldn’t exactly explain where they come from.

“Sometimes when I’m feeling really good on the ice, some things happen,” Teravainen said. “I don’t know. I just see sometimes plays maybe a little bit ahead, so I can make a couple of passes. That’s my game. I try to make those plays.”