You don’t have to tell Michal Handzus he had a tough season. He’s well aware of it.
The veteran center was the surprise second-line find during the 2013 postseason, when he helped the Chicago Blackhawks win their second Stanley Cup in the past four seasons. But 2013-14 didn’t go nearly as well. Handzus struggled throughout the regular season. And outside of some strong early postseason work on the power play, he never got his footing in the playoffs, either.
Still, the desire to play remains; and while it’s highly unlikely it will be with the Blackhawks, Handzus would like to play somewhere next season.
“I know what my situation is. I’m not a young guy anymore, so we’ll see what’s going to happen,” said the 37-year-old Handzus. “Obviously this year wasn’t the year I’d hoped it would be. I’ll put work in in the summer, get my body in better shape and we’ll see what happens next year.”
Handzus played through several injuries during the 2013 run, when he hoisted the Cup for the first time in his career. He had two surgeries in the summer of 2013, which hampered his usual workout routine.
“I had two surgeries last year and couldn’t do anything pretty much the whole summer. It didn’t help me,” Handzus said. “I was working hard during the season to get back. It’s not an excuse but it didn’t help. I 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’ll take a couple of weeks off before returning to his workouts. As he said, he doesn’t know what the future will hold for him. He knows he’s coming off a bad year, knows he’s in the twilight of his career and knows this was most likely his last hurrah with the Blackhawks.
If that’s the case, it was one memorable second time around with Chicago, especially last June.
“The best time (was) when we won the Cup. It’s special and it’s going to be always special in my heart,” he said. “This is the best group of guys I’ve been with for my career. 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. But they’re really great guys (and it’s a) really great organization. I had a blast.”