Center Michal Handzus a healthy scratch against Sabres
BY MARK LAZERUS Staff Reporter October 12, 2013 10:18PM
2013-2014 Chicago Blackhawks Headshots
Updated: November 14, 2013 6:56AM
Michal Handzus wanted to be more than a stopgap at second-line center and knew his play would dictate how long he stayed there.
Unfortunately for him, he was right.
Handzus was dropped to the fourth line Friday against the New York Islanders and scored the game-winning goal from that spot. He was a healthy scratch Saturday against the Buffalo Sabres, getting some rest in the second game of a back-to-back set. He’ll have to show he can keep up with Patrick Sharp and Marian Hossa if he wants to climb his way back up the depth chart.
Handzus didn’t play at all during the preseason as he recovered from wrist surgery and a ligament injury in his knee suffered during the playoffs.
‘‘He’s been OK,’’ coach Joel Quenneville said. ‘‘I don’t think he’s up to par, as far as the way he finished [last] season.
‘‘He’s still trying to get to [that point], whether it’s his conditioning or his timing. We expect him to keep getting better as we go along.’’
Hossa, who dealt with a back issue during the playoffs, during the summer and again during the preseason, played both games of the back-to-back set. Quenneville said he won’t force rest on Hossa.
‘‘He’s never had a problem [with back-to-backs] before,’’ Quenneville said. ‘‘When he’s fine, he’s fine. We never had to consider that before.’’
Sheldon Brookbank was the Hawks’ sixth defenseman. Michal Rozsival got the night off.