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Michal Handzus, Blackhawks part ways: report
Michal Handzus pretty much knew his time was up with the Blackhawks when the season ended earlier this month, speaking of his time in Chicago in the past tense. Now it’s clear that he was right.
The Sun-Times confirmed a TSN report that the Hawks have decided to move on without Handzus, an unrestricted free agent. But Handzus, 37, still hopes to play next season.
“I’ll be playing,” he said following the season. “I know what my situation is. I’m not a young guy anymore, so we’ll see what’s going to happen. Obviously, this year wasn’t the year I’d hoped it would be. I’ll put work in the summer, get my body in better shape, and we’ll see what happens next year.”
Handzus, who spent last summer recovering from major knee and wrist injuries suffered during the Hawks’ 2013 Stanley Cup run — for which he was a major contributor as the team’s second-line center — struggled for most of the season. He was still an able penalty killer and veteran presence in the dressing room, but he had just four goals and 12 assists in 59 games. In the playoffs, he had two goals and one assist, scoring the game-winning goal in the second overtime of Game 5 against the eventual champion Los Angeles Kings.
“You don’t want to make excuses, but obviously not having the summer workouts that I usually do is a big part of it,” he said. “Especially with my body and my skating. I need to have summer workouts. I had two surgeries last year and couldn’t do anything pretty much the whole summer. It didn’t help me. I was working hard during the season to get back. It’s not an excuse, but it didn’t help. Just didn’t play well. That’s the disappointing part because it’s a special group and I wasn’t helping. Individually for me, it’s a very big disappointment.”
Handzus said he’d have nothing but fond memories of his time in Chicago.
“The best time was when we won the Cup,” he said. “It’s special and it’s going to be always special in my heart. Best group of guys I’ve been with for my career. It’s a great group. I think it’s a special group. It was a lot of fun last year and a lot of fun this year, too. Obviously, right now we’re disappointed with how it ended. It kind of stinks. Really great guys. Really great organization. I had a blast.”