Teravainen puts it on himself to be better

CHICAGO -- Chicago Blackhawks 20-year-old rookie forward Teuvo Teravainen still often refers himself as a kid.

Teravainen knows he’s young and is far from being a perfect player. So when Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville decided to make Teravainen a healthy scratch against the Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday, Teravainen accepted it and held himself accountable for being out the lineup.

“I know I haven’t played maybe that good like the last couple games,” Teravainen said after practice Thursday. “I can do better.

“Of course, I have my expectations for myself and I want to be a good player every time I get out there. I don’t know. The last games I’ve haven’t been myself. I know I can play better. I’m just working hard every day to get back to playing good.”

Quenneville thought Teravainen played some of his best hockey this season in recent games against the Arizona Coyotes and San Jose Sharks in mid-March. He had an assist in each of those games. Since then, Quenneville has noticed a decline in Teravainen’s play. He hasn't had a point and has been a minus-18 Corsi in his last four games.

Quenneville put together Bryan Bickell, Antoine Vermette and Teravainen on a line during practice on Thursday. Bickell was also a healthy scratch on Wednesday.

“I thought Teuvo had two great games, and I think after we got back off that dad’s trip that consistency is what we’re looking for because he was trending so well and then ordinary,” Quenneville said. “He can help us, and [he and Bickell] can all help us in different ways.”

Teravainen said he needed to get back to his style of game. He thought relying on his instincts and being an active skater were ingredients to success.

“Just play my game, just play where I’m good at,” said Teravainen, who has three goals and four assists in 25 games. “Good things happen when I’m skating and shooting and doing my thing. Just got to play game.”

One area where Quenneville’s message is apparently getting through to Teravainen is about being a more aggressive shooter. Teravainen is skilled at setting up teammates and enjoys that, but Quenneville wants him also not to be afraid to shoot the puck.

“I think he’s starting to think like that a little bit more,” Quenneville said. “He’s adding the shot off the rush. I think his play recognition is there. But at the same time, I don’t want him to feel he has to pass the puck or he gets intimidated by his linemates to passing the puck. I think he’s got enough instincts offensively himself that, hey, nothing wrong with shooting. Nobody’s going to get mad at you for shooting, and nobody’s going to get mad at you for scoring goals.

“I think younger guys get -- not using the word intimidated in those situations -- but they feel it’s easier for them to fit in if they make a move or make a pass, especially playing with different linemates. All of a sudden, new linemates and you’re just trying to getting everybody feeling good. We shouldn’t be at that stage where we should be worried about that type of thing. I think he’s progressed to where he’s starting to think shot. Young guys [it’s] part of that process.”

Teravainen has been listening.

“Yeah, of course, I hear that a lot,” Teravainen said. “I think I have to shoot more. … Maybe too much thinking about passing when I have a scoring chance. I’m learning all the time. I learn from my mistakes. I watch some video and I know I just got to shoot more.”