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Teuvo Teravainen on his debut: ‘It’s a big night coming’

CHICAGO IL - SEPTEMBER 17:  Teuvo Teravainen #23 Chicago Blackhawks waits for face-off against Detroit Red Wings during an

CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 17: Teuvo Teravainen #23 of the Chicago Blackhawks waits for a face-off against the Detroit Red Wings during an exhibition game at United Center on September 17, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. The Blackhawks defeated the Red Wings 2-0. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Teuvo Teravainen

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Updated: March 25, 2014 7:17PM

Jonathan Toews remembers scoring on his first shot in the NHL. Ben Smith remembers walking into the locker room after one intermission down a whole bunch — it was 4-2, but he thought it was 3-0.

But both of them — like just about every player before them — used the same word to describe their first games: Exciting.

Teuvo Teravainen will be no different tonight.

“There’s a lot of excitement for him,” said Smith, who’ll skate on Teravainen’s right wing. “I was just asking him on the ice how he’s feeling, and he said it’s a big game for him. He’s excited.”

Despite the best efforts of Joel Quenneville, Stan Bowman and the Hawks to ease the pressure on the 19-year-old Finn, expectations are enormous for Teravainen, who had nine goals and 35 assists in 49 games in Finland this season. But the highly skilled yet quiet Teravainen doesn’t seem overwhelmed by it all.

“It’s cool,” he said. “I was always waiting, waiting for this opportunity. So it’s fun. I don’t know if I’m really nervous, but it’s a big night coming, and a win is what matters. So I’ll be playing as good as I can.”

Teravainen said his new teammates have been helpful, particularly goalie Antti Raanta, a fellow Finn. He said he’s going to try to keep things simple tonight.

Quenneville hoped that Teravainen could inject a little energy into the team over the final 10 games of the season, too.

“We don’t want to put the weight of the world on his shoulders, knowing he’s a young kid,” Quenneville said. “At this time of the year, it’s an important two points for both teams. We’re looking forward to see him play, but we don’t expect him to carry our team on his shoulders. So let’s go out and play and at the same time, watch what he can do. Hopefully we can get him to improve his game, [and he can] complement our team game and give us options down the stretch.”

Toews made his debut on Oct. 10, 2007, in a 2-1 loss to San Jose. But his first-period goal briefly gave the Hawks a 1-0 lead. Toews said nerves weren’t really an issue going into the game.

“Mostly excitement — almost the feel of having no pressure,” he recalled. “Just going out there and enjoying it. I just had a weird feeling that if the puck landed on my stick, I was going to find a way to score a goal. Usually, when I go out with a feeling like that, I feel loose and I feel like the puck’s going to come to me. Sure enough, I was able to score on my first shot. It was pretty exciting looking back and pretty amazing I caught a bounce like that. For any player, it’s a special moment and I definitely enjoyed it.”

Teravainen can only hope for a similar start to a similar career. For now, he’s just glad to be in Chicago — though, so far, he likes the food a lot more than the weather.

“I thought it was going to be a little bit more warm here,” he said. “It’s kind of [like] Finland now.”

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