Friday, January 2, 2015

#TeuvoTime trending in Chicago: is hype good for prospects

Teuvo Teräväinen was recently recalled from the Rockford IceHogs due to an injury to Kris Versteeg in the Winter Classic. Typically, when a player is recalled due to another player's injury, the focus is on the injured player, however the Blackhawks have seen the focus placed on the recalled player twice this season.

The second time Corey Crawford was injured this season, Scott Darling was recalled from the Rockford IceHogs, like he had been during the previous injury. Darling had been a steady force in net during his first brief stint with the Blackhawks and there were fans ready for his return. When Darling continued to post good numbers in the Indian Head people began calling for him to stay in Chicago. Most of those fans suggested that Antti Raanta be sent to Rockford, however, several fans, especially those who had previously expressed their displeasure with Crawford's goaltending, suggested that the Blackhawks trade Crawford and keep Darling.

Darling had no prior NHL experience when he was recalled due to Crawford's injury. Crawford has a Jennings Trophy, a Stanley Cup and most recently an All Star selection. Additionally, Crawford ranks fifth in franchise wins, second in franchise goals against average and first in franchise save percentage. Suggesting that the Blackhawks trade the 30 year old proven veteran in favor of a 26 year old rookie sounds bizarre by any standards, yet is commonly suggested on social media whenever Crawford loses a game.

Teuvo Teräväinen is one of the most hyped Blackhawks prospects. He was the Blackhawks first round pick in 2012 (23rd overall) and is in his first season in North America after three seasons in Liiga (Finland's top league). When it was announced that he was coming over to North America, some Hawks fans were expecting him to make the Blackhawks, however he was sent to Rockford following training camp to adjust to the North American game. When Patrick Sharp was injured, and later when Jeremy Morin was traded, Joakim Nordström got the call. Now that Kris Versteeg was injured with Nordström already on the Hawks roster, Teräväinen got the call.

The same afternoon and evening Teräväinen's recall was announced #TeuvoTime started trending on Chicago Twitter. Most prospect recalls get barely a mention, this one got a trending hashtag. My fear is that Blackhawks fans will be quick to judge Teräväinen's game. He is a 20 year old in his first North American season, he will not automatically move up a very deep Blackhawks forward corps. It is far too early to judge if he will be a star or a bust, but given draft position and and reaction to his recall, he will be judged by Blackhawks fans in those terms before his stint in Chicago is complete.

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