SPORTS

Blackhawks teammate Timonen says Teravainen is a long way from NHL stardom

06/04/2015 04:32 EDT | Updated 06/04/2016 05:59 EDT
TAMPA, Fla. - Teuvo Teravainen is a cold-blooded scorer in the eyes of Marian Hossa.

"He doesn't seem to have a heartbeat," Hossa said. "He's so calm. He's Finnish cold."

With ice chips in his veins as the intensity has risen, Teravainen has heated up as the playoffs have gone on. Leading the Blackhawks past the Tampa Bay Lightning with two points in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup final served as something of a national coming-out party for the 20-year-old rookie.

Teravainen is one of the best prospects in hockey. But veteran Kimmo Timonen believes his fellow Finn has a lot of work to do before he can reach NHL stardom.

"He's got a long way to go," Timonen said. "He's a skinny guy, so he's got to start lifting weights and doing that. ... I told him, 'This summer, you've got to make sure you work out.

"Golf is not a workout.'"

Teravainen, like so many young, talented players can make it look easy. The world junior star oozes skill and has magic hands, a product of playing floor ball while growing up.

His talent is undeniable but his game is often inconsistent. After Teravainen spent the first half of the season in the minors, coach Joel Quenneville at times made him a healthy scratch, including five times in these playoffs.

Quenneville likes Teravainen's "upside" and his respect for veterans. He hopes Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane rub off on him.

"I think watching these guys on a regular basis could help him grow, help him learn what it takes to be a great player, top player, game in, game out," Quenneville said.

Timonen said this was the "perfect team" for Teravainen to break into the league with because there are so many hard-working, highly skilled players around to observe and learn from. The 40-year-old defenceman who Teravainen called his "second dad" thinks his new protege can be as good as Kane but only with the necessary work.

"He can be a superstar in this league," Timonen said Wednesday. "But it's still in the process that he's got to realize, 'OK, I've got to make sure summer I work out every day, and I've got to watch these guys how they prepare for the games like Toews and Kane and (Duncan) Keith and these guys.'"

Timonen has seen hockey evolve significantly since his first junior season in Finland — years before Teravainen was born — and sees the game getting faster in the next five to 10 years. With that, he looks at the five-foot-eleven, 178-pound forward and sees a need to get stronger.

"He's a pretty good skater, but think about when you get 10 pounds of muscle around him," Timonen said. "He's going to be even stronger in the corners and you can hang onto the puck."

Teravainen showed skill in getting a shot through traffic on his Game 1 goal and tenacity in taking the puck from Tampa Bay's J.T. Brown and feeding Antoine Vermette for the game winner. His vision and stick-handling can get him out of a lot of jams.

For all his tough love, Timonen said Teravainen is doing a great job in these playoffs, in part because he doesn't have to handle the spotlight on a team with so many accomplished winners. Playing without pressure is serving him well now, but Timonen said Teravainen should put the pressure on himself in the coming months.

"He can go to another level, but it's going to take him and it's going to take him to realize, 'I've got to make sure I come in next year and I'm going to be in great shape and I can follow these guys,'" Timonen said. "But he's still got a lot of ways to go."

Note - Quenneville said defenceman Trevor van Riemsdyk, brother of Maple Leafs forward James van Riemsdyk, "could play" in Game 2 Saturday. Plagued by injuries, Van Riemsdyk has not played an NHL game since November.

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