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CENTRAL

Oct. 06, 2014
Oct. 06, 2014

Table of Contents
Oct. 6, 2014

INBOX
SI SOCIAL MEDIA
MATT FORTE
  • Deceptively fast. Smoother than you'd think.... You can tag Matt Forte with all of the backhanded compliments you want, but the facts remain: He's the brain and the heart of Chicago's (maddeningly) lethal offense, and he's more important to his team than any other back in the NFL

  • Poor starts? We've seen a few—and we're not even counting the suspended likes of Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson

MLB PLAYOFF PREVIEW
NHL PREVIEW 2014-15
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CENTRAL

BREAKOUT PLAYER

This is an article from the Oct. 6, 2014 issue

TEUVO TERAVAINEN

BLACKHAWKS

Chicago has been patient with its 2012 first-round pick, allowing Teravainen, 20, to shine at lower levels before considering him for a spot on the big club. With 35 assists in 49 games last year in the Finnish league, the center showed off the playmaking skills that will make him a good complement to the Blackhawks' wingers.

HOT SEAT

KEN HITCHCOCK

BLUES

St. Louis's collapse last spring was ugly: six straight losses to end the regular season and a blown 2--0 first-round series lead against Chicago. The success-without-Cups syndrome—in three years Hitchcock hasn't taken the Blues past round 2—can be a killer.

HIDDEN GEM

TYSON BARRIE

AVALANCHE

After a slow start last year, including a brief demotion to the minors, the 23-year-old quietly became a mainstay on Colorado's blue line. He scored 13 goals as his ice time and confidence with the puck increased. Look for the slick-passing Barrie to do even better this season.

PHOTOBILL SMITH/NHLI/GETTY IMAGES (TERAVAINEN)PHOTOBRACE HEMMELGARN/USA TODAY SPORTS (GRANLUND)

IN THE CREASE

BY PIERRE MCGUIRE

The most underrated aspect of the Avalanche is their defense, which is physical and full of promise. Finally healthy, blueliner Erik Johnson, the No. 1 pick in 2006, was one of the most improved players in the NHL in '13--14.... Two of the Wild's young forwards, Charlie Coyle and MIKAEL GRANLUND, who broke out with 33 assists last year, will help take some offensive pressure off Zach Parise and newly acquired Thomas Vanek.... New Predators coach Peter Laviolette wants to play aggressively on offense, which will help Nashville spend less time in its own zone and cut down on its goals against (242, second worst in the West).