The time finally is upon us.
Teuvo Teravainen will make his much-anticipated debut tonight for the Blackhawks as they host the Dallas Stars, and it’s being met with plenty of excitement – much to the chagrin of the beat contingent.
Speaking of, before I go any further I’d like to send my condolences out to to the family of Daily Herald reporter Tim Sassone, who passed away today at the young age of 58. Sassone covered the Blackhawks for 25 years, through the darkest depths and the highest of highs. I’m sure he would have loved to see a prospect like Teuvo. Rest easy, my friend.
The arrival of TiVo – as Q said will be the kid’s nickname – has been met with a great deal of excitement (just listen to Nakis on the most recent podcast) while our friendly neighborhood beat writers have done their best to pump the brakes. And while I understand both sides of the emotional spectrum, it’s time to drop all of it and see what the kid’s got.
Fact is, referring to Teravainen as a “savior” just isn’t correct. That’s a word that most of the MSM has tried to put in the mouths or on the typing fingertips of fans and bloggers. I haven’t seen anyone personally come out and say that, and it would be stupid if anyone did. The defending Stanley Cup champions don’t need saving. All anyone expects is for him to play well, and that’s not exactly stretching it for a former first-round pick who has made waves in international competition. He’s earned his right to be here, and that’s why he’ll be donning the Indian head tonight. That’s it.
How much we see Teuvo for the rest of the season won’t just depend on tonight, though I personally can’t wait to be in attendance to see his debut. Bowman said he’s not worried about burning a year of his entry-level contract if he plays more than 10 games, but the truth is we have no idea what he’s thinking. At the same time, a Cup is the goal, and if Teuvo gives the ‘Hawks the best chance to repeat, it’s likely we’ll see Teuvo at the UC in late April.
The kid will be wearing No. 86 tonight and centering a line flanked by Brandon Saad and Ben Smith. Buckle up.
Oh right, there’s other stuff.
The ‘Hawks are coming off that 2-0 stinker at the hands of the dreadfully boring Predators. Dallas comes in winners of its last two at home after dropping four straight overall, including the last three on the road. The Stars trail Phoenix by one point for the last wild-card spot in the West, and while the ‘Hawks are welcoming a top prospect, don’t plan on Dallas getting caught up in any of the drama.
Tyler Seguin enters with seven goals and nine assists during a nine-game point streak after scoring in Monday’s win over Winnipeg. Ray Whitney, who is 219 years old, also scored. Both goals came on the power play after Dallas went to just 1 for 13 with the man advantage over its previous four games.
As far as special teams goes, the ‘Hawks are 3 for 27 on the PP over their last eight and have given up four PP goals to the opposition in that stretch. They’ve killed off 13 of 14 penalties in the four meetings with Dallas, though.
The Blackhawks have won three of those matchups, including a 6-2 win Dec. 10 in the last meeting, as Saad and Patrick Sharp each scored twice.
Corey Crawford is in net tonight. Let’s go ‘Hawks, and Happy Teuvo Day.