Blackhawks parting ways with center Michal Handzus

BY MARK LAZERUS Staff Reporter

June 16, 2014 9:30PM

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Updated: July 18, 2014 6:25AM

Center Michal Handzus pretty much knew his time with the Blackhawks was up when their season ended, speaking of his time in Chicago in the past tense. Now it’s clear he was right.

The Hawks have decided to move on without Hand-
zus, an unrestricted free agent, the Sun-Times confirmed Monday. But Hand-
zus, 37, still hopes to play next season.

‘‘I’ll be playing,’’ he said on the Hawks’ break-up day June 3. ‘‘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 [during] the summer, get my body in better shape, and we’ll see what happens next year.’’

Handzus, who spent last summer recovering from knee and wrist injuries ­suffered during the Hawks’ 2013 Stanley Cup run, struggled for most of the season. He was still an able penalty-killer and a veteran presence in the dressing room, but he had only four goals and 12
assists in 59 games. He had two goals and one assist in the playoffs, scoring the game-winning goal in the second overtime of Game 5 of the Western Conference final against the eventual cham-
pion Los Angeles Kings.

‘‘You don’t want to make excuses, but 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. 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.’’

Handzus said he would 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. 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.’’

Email: mlazerus@suntimes.com

Twitter: @MarkLazerus

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