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Michal Handzus reflects as he plays in 1,000th game

Michal Handzus’ memories of playing in Boston go back way further than last spring, when he finally hoisted the Stanley Cup in his 14th NHL season. In fact, he made his NHL debut in Boston, a 3-3 tie on Oct. 10, 1998. Handzus was a 21-year-old rookie with the Blues. His coach was Joel Quenneville.

“Q put me on the PK, and we gave up two goals,” Handzus said. “So I was kind of like, ‘Oh, my God. This is not a good start.’ Obviously, he trusted me, and it got a little better after that.”

Handzus played in his 1,000th game Wednesday night — appropriately enough against the Blues, and with Quenneville as his coach. It’s not a milestone Handzus, 37, ever dreamed of back in the 1990s.

“You never do,” he said. “First, you want to make the NHL. Then you want to stay in the NHL. And when you establish yourself in the NHL, you want to win a Cup. So you don’t think about how many games you’re going to play in the NHL. That number is more for after, when you’re done with hockey.”

Handzus has 185 goals and 295 assists in his 1,000 games, with 97 playoff games under his belt, too. He was even the runner-up for the Selke Trophy in his second NHL season, losing out to Steve Yzerman.

The Hawks honored him with a pregame video tribute and ceremony. And Blues GM Doug Armstrong and former Blues great Al MacInnis — whom Handzus singled out, along with Pavol Demitra, as helping him as a youngster — presented him with a commemorative plaque and a watch.

“He’s had a nice career,” Quenneville said. “I was glad when he hoisted the Cup.”

Teuvo time

Quenneville said the Hawks still had no timetable for when prospect Teuvo Teravainen would join the team and didn’t yet know how he’ll fit under the salary cap (the Hawks only have about $50,000 to play with). But a source said the Hawks expect to make a decision on if he’ll join the Hawks or the Rockford IceHogs by the end of the week. Once the playoffs start, Teravainen’s salary isn’t an issue. But if he plays at least 10 games (regular season and/or playoffs), the Hawks will burn the first year of his three-year, entry-level contract.

TSN reported that the Finnish hockey federation has cleared Teravainen to come to Chicago.

Injury report

Brandon Saad missed his second straight game with an upper-body injury. Quenneville said “fingers crossed,” he could play Friday against Carolina. Michal Rozsival also missed his second straight game with a lower-body injury. He’s not expected back this weekend.



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