With a 4-1-1 record in their last six games, the Chicago Blackhawks probably aren’t quite panicking about Jonathan Toews’ absence anymore. Still, there’s no doubt that they’ve missed their versatile captain for the last 11 games, so GM Stan Bowman presents a good news/bad news proposition.
Craig Custance reports that Bowman believes that Toews won’t play against the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday, but he hasn’t ruled out a possible return against the Stars in Dallas on Friday or a home game versus the Washington Capitals on Sunday. At worst, Bowman stated that Toews is expected to be back within next week.
(Whether that means he’ll be back on March 20 against the Blue Jackets, March 21 against the Vancouver Canucks or even March 25 against the Nashville Predators remains to be seen … and is always subject to further change.)
With the Central Division crown just about guaranteed to be a jump ball between the Detroit Red Wings and St. Louis Blues, the Blackhawks ultimate target is probably a sixth seed, to be honest. That actually could be a pretty-much-ideal scenario at least considering the situation at hand, as that would limit the urge to rush Toews back too soon, give him time to get acclimated without feeling too much pressure and give Chicago a workable first round matchup against a likely flawed Pacific Division winner.
That’s not too awful an outlook, but most importantly, they need a healthy Toews to have a real shot in the playoffs. It sounds like we’ll have to wait a little longer to see if they’ll get that same guy back.
Teuvo Teravainen has played both center and right wing over the course of his brief NHL career.
Now, he’s got a new position — left wing — and a pair of shiny new linemates to boot.
Teravainen will open the year playing alongside captain Jonathan Toews and right wing Marian Hossa, per the Sun-Times.
The move could be a boon for the young Finn. Several ex-Chicago wingers thrived playing alongside Toews and Hossa, most notably Brandon Saad and Patrick Sharp.
It’ll be interesting to see what kind of production Teravainen, who just turned 21 last month, can manufacture on Chicago’s top line. His numbers from last year weren’t spectacular (nine points in 34 games), but he did a solid job of racking up points en route to the Stanley Cup, with 10 in 18 games.
It’ll also be interesting to see how long he sticks with Toews and Hossa.
Head coach Joel Quenneville has been known as a frequent user of the line blender, often switching up his combos at at moment’s notice.
That said, Quenneville is hoping to find some stability with this new-look group.
“[Teuvo will] play there to start the season,” he said. “Hopefully, all year.”
Pretty cool story out of Texas, where Mattias Janmark, the 22-year-old rookie that’s played a grand total of nine games in North America, has defied the odds to make the Stars’ opening-night roster.
“It’s a great story,” Dallas GM Jim Nill said, per the Morning News. “We really only planned to have him here for maybe two preseason games and then send him back. But he just kept being one of the best players out there, and he changed our minds.
“It’s a great example of what you can do if you just play hard.”
Nill acquired Janmark, 22, from Detroit at last year’s deadline as part of the Erik Cole trade. Nill was familiar with the Swedish forward from his time with the Wings — he was part of the front office team that drafted Janmark in ’13 — but didn’t think the deal would pay such immediate dividends.
As for Janmark, he didn’t even think he’d be in North America this year.
He has a contract with SHL club Frolunda, where he scored 36 points in 55 games last year. Given he’s barely played in the AHL — a few games with Grand Rapids, a few with Texas — Janmark figured he’d be back in Europe this season.
His strong play in the exhibition season changed all that. Janmark beat out two of Dallas’ touted prospects — former AHL rookie of the year Curtis McKenzie, and ’12 first-rounder Radek Faksa — for a roster spot, and showed good chemistry with third-line center Cody Eakin.
Janmark also performed well on a line with Jason Spezza and Ales Hemsky.