Sunday, March 22, 2015

Michal Handzus Jersey Card

Last month, Michal Handzus' agent Matt Keator told reporters his client was eying a return to the NHL next season, after spending this one recovering from injuries and playing in his home country of Slovakia. The news is a bit surprising, considering his last team, the Chicago Blackhawks, chose not to re-sign him and no other team tried to obtain his services.

He has posted decent statistics this year, though, with 18 points in 22 regular-season games with Banska Bystrica HC '05 - the second-highest points-per-game percentage on the team - and 5 points in 5 playoff games so far.

He had won a Stanley Cup with the Hawks in 2012-13 and played in all 19 of their post-season games last year as they fell in the Conference Finals to the eventual champion Los Angeles Kings, but the team felt it would be better served taking their chances with their prospects rather than with the veteran, who had slowed down in the past few seasons.

His defensive play was still stellar, but he could be counted upon less and less in terms of secondary scoring as he seemed to have trouble keeping pace with the play in the offensive zone. But perhaps healing from his injuries gave him enough life back to play in the NHL again - I hope it did.

He has suited up for Team Slovakia eight times in international men's tournaments, posting 9 goals and 28 points in 43 games, with three World Championship medals: one gold (2002) and two silver (2000 and 2012).

Throughout his NHL career, he has garnered Selke Trophy votes nine times, once finishing as the runner-up (1999-2000), and bested the 40-point mark seven times (with a high of 58 in 2003-04 with the Philadelphia Flyers) and four times reaching the 20-goal plateau (with a high of 25 in 1999-2000 with the St. Louis Blues).

Here he is wearing the Hawks' classic white (now-away) uniform, from Upper Deck's 2013-14 Series 1 set (card #GJ-MH of the Game Jersey sub-set), featuring a black swatch from a game-worn jersey:
He's a pretty big guy at 6'4'' and 220 pounds, and does not shy away from physical play, but the only time he surpassed the 40-PIM mark was in 2003-04, when he spent 82 penalty minutes in the sin bin.


  1. I lost most respect for Handzus after the 2006-07 season.

    The Blackhawks traded their leading scorer from the previous season, Kyle Calder, for Handzus.

    Handzus played 8 games with the Blackhawks in 2006-07. During those 8 games, he and Martin Havlat were nearly unstoppable. Handzus got 8 points in those 8 games, while Havlat was leading the NHL in scoring.

    Then Handzus got injured, followed by Havlat.

    When the season ended, Handzus could have re-signed with the Blackhawks, and perhaps formed a formidable 1-2 punch with Havlat like they did early in 2006-07.

    Instead, Handzus went chasing dollars, signed with the L.A. Kings, and was a mediocre player.

    There's no guarantee that he would have regained his form from those 8 short games in '06-07, and I can't fault a player for going where the money is...BUT, he never really amounted to much during his first go-round with the 'Hawks. The team traded a star player, and got 8 points in return.

  2. Nice to hear from someone who follows the Hawks.

    I thought his play in the playoffs two years ago might have won him the fans back, but I guess not!

    1. True, he did OK in the playoffs, but really, the 'Hawks could have gotten many players to fill in as the number 3 center.

      Honestly, I would not have asked him back to the team after he cut and run in 2007.

      FYI, I've tried posting this three times. Sorry if it ends up posting here three times.