This is a translation of the original article by Pekka Jalonen at Iltalehti. Translated with permission.
Teuvo Teräväinen of the Carolina Hurricanes had his career season in the NHL. Nevertheless, it didn’t fully satisfy the Finn since the Hurricanes didn’t make it to the playoffs.
The team not succeeding wasn’t on Teräväinen, though, on the basis that the 23-year-old forward set his personal record in goals (23), assists (41) and total points (64) and was the second most productive player on the roster after his linemate, Sebastian Aho (29-36-65).
”I’ve had a feeling for a long time that I develop and my playing improves constantly. Again, last season I took steps forward. I generated a lot of points and the overall feeling to play was good. It of course was nice, but the success of the team is my biggest priority,” says Teräväinen.
The Carolina Hurricanes haven’t made it to the playoffs for nine seasons straight, so Teräväinen’s wish to steer the team to the most important games of spring is more than relatable.
”The new owner of the team, Tom Dundon, wants to bring the club back to the top again. We have a real good and young framework around which he wants to build a victorious group. There hasn’t been a lot of success for us during the last few years so that’s why there hasn’t been that much of an audience. The new owner wants to invest into getting bigger crowds to watch our games, too,” says Teräväinen.
Next season Teräväinen will have a new head coach, when 47 year old Rod Brind’Amour, who had been an assistant coach of the Hurricanes for the past seven seasons, was named to the head coaching position to replace Bill Peters who left for the Calgary Flames.
”Brind’Amour is a good choice since he knows the players well and has helped us a lot. He’s a smart and demanding guy and, back upon the times, also a tough player. Brind’Amour will not cut us any slack because he is a guy for whom no ‘just okay’ performance is enough. But that’s only a good thing,” says Teräväinen.
Brind’Amour may not be all that popular of a character among some Finnish people. The incident dates way back to the IIHF World Championships finals in 1994 when Brind’Amour hooked Jari Kurri in the 3rd period, and because of the uncalled penalty, scored to tie the game at 1-1. Canada ended up winning the gold medal 2-1 after penalty shots.
Teräväinen was born four months after the aforementioned IIHF World Championships finals in Milan, so he had no clue of the shenanigans Brind’Amour pulled back then.
”Oh, I haven’t heard that story. I must pick on Brind’Amour: ‘You just don’t do that. It is cheating!’” laughs Teräväinen.
After the Hurricanes’ season was over, Teräväinen played on Team Finland together with Sebastian Aho. In Denmark the youngsters took the same role as with the Hurricanes, being the two most productive players for Team Finland. Aho (9-9-18) was second in scoring in the tournament, and Teräväinen was 5th (5-9-14).
”I think I will play together again with Sepe [Aho] next season, but we need to see how the new head coach changes our roles and the playing system,” says Teräväinen.
After the IIHF tournament Teräväinen took a three-week vacation, but now he has started practicing for the next season.
”First I just enjoyed the vacation and played tennis and golf. Now I hit the ice once or twice a week,” explains Teräväinen.
This summer is the third in a row where Teräväinen has attended on ice practice under supervision of skating instructor Janne Hänninen. Last summer, weightlifter Anni Vuohijoki helped Teräväinen to gain more upper body strength [working with him for a] one month period.
”That was clearly a lot of help,” says Teräväinen.
Teräväinen, who is a 2014 World Junior champion and a Stanley Cup winner with the Chicago Blackhawks in 2015, has a contract of $2.86 million through next season. An extension is likely to be in the making already this summer.
”After July 1st it’s possible to start the negotiations for the new contract. We’ll see what happens,” states Teräväinen.
”I checked the game results but didn’t stay awake to watch the games.”
Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals finally won his Cup. Unlike Ovechkin, Teräväinen didn’t need to wait for 13 years to raise the Cup, because the youngster who set out into the world originally from Jokerit in the Finnish League already was a Stanley Cup winner to end his first full NHL season as a 20 year old.
But that doesn’t imply, though, that Teraväinen wouldn’t do everything in order to lift the most coveted sports prize in the world again: the Stanley Cup.