Mar 9, 2014; Buffalo, NY, USA; Chicago Blackhawks center Michal Handzus (26) before the game against the Buffalo Sabres at First Niagara Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Dear Stan, Please Don't Return Q His Crutch


Michal Handzus looked to have played his last game with the Chicago Blackhawks when the Hawks skated off the ice for the last time at the United Center after that unfortunate bounce of Nick Leddy to end the 2014 playoff run. Granted, we were all praising Handzus when he knocked in the Game #5 OT winner over Jonathan Quick‘s glove.

Let’s be honest though, Handzus was a crutch that Joel Quenneville wouldn’t let go at anytime no matter how bad or slow Handzus was playing on a team built on skill, possession and youth. In Handzus exit interview he spoke that he wasn’t ever playing good or healthy but wanted to play next season.  There is a whole lot of things in that comment that has to drive a Blackhawks fans nuts!

First off he wasn’t healthy and knew he wasn’t playing his best hockey. If he knew that and most Blackhawks fans knew that why on earth was Quenneville playing him especially when it mattered the most in the playoffs?  The fact that he was on the ice for only one Patrick Kane goal is mind-boggling but the bigger fact was in the last three games when Q finally took the anchor away from Kane and his line went absolutely nuts. Why would a coach basically sabotage his team for no reason except for the fact that a player that wasn’t defensively responsible even though the myth was he was responsible while players like Brandon Pirri were sent packing.

The worst part of the exit interview is that Handzus still doesn’t want to hang up his skates. There of course has been no hint from the organization or Stan Bowman that they want to re-sign Handzus and that is the worrisome part of the equation! If they wanted to distance themselves from Handzus they would just say thanks for the two seasons instead of remaining quiet.

Please Stan make sure Handzus is playing anywhere else next season and let the Hawks youth take hold of the roster again.  This is a team whose core has been youth built within the organization which many believe is ready to return to its roots with the arrival of Teuvo Teravainen.

Thanks #26 for the year and half of service including some huge goals in big spots, but let’s not do this again this season!

What do you think of Handzus future?

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Tags: Chicago Blackhawks Michal Handzus Stan Bowman

  • tm

    I feel Handzus was only in the lineup because of his diligence and discipline in clearing the puck out of their zone, which was a major problem for the Blackhawks, not only in the playoffs, but throughout the regular season as well. Also, when he was on the ice, he always seemed to be giving his “all” which is something I think Q notices and appreciates in players, even when “all” they have to give is nowhere near superstar level. Lastly, the Blackhawks have a lot of players with a history of mind-blowingly elite execution, “clutch” plays, and top-tier skill sets; by comparison, the purely average look terrible. That being said, it was mind boggling that he remained on the second line as long as he did, he is third line material at best. The Blackhawks top lines are succesful when they operate with speed, something that Handzus was never going to be able to contribute, no matter how hard he tried. So being that he is so purely average, there is no reason to think he can’t be replaced in the offseason by someone equally as predictable, reliable, and average…just with a bit more speed.

    • Keith Schultz

      Well said!

  • tkl60123

    I must admit I’m less concerned about Handzus than I am about Nick Leddy. Granted, they’re at far different stages of their careers. But Leddy always seems to be out of position with a bewildered look on his face. Anyone else share this observation?

    • Keith Schultz

      Leddy’s problem to me is he flies into the opponents zone with no purpose and doesn’t know what to do with the puck. Shoot it pass it but do something instead of creating on odd man break the other way

    • Prgeno

      Leddy wasn’t a problem. To the contrary he was excellent exiting the zone and leading a rush down ice, second only to Kane in that regard.

      Leddy’s problem was when his forwards all baled out on him while he and his revolving door partner were left on their own under heavy forechecking pressure.

      That was the whole problem with the D for the Hawks this postseason. The forwards were constantly heading out of the zone to look for a stretch pass that wasn’t coming because the (Blues/Wild/kings) forechecking was killing the Dmen. The Hawks are at their best when they make short quick passes in their own zone and skate away from the forecheck.

      The stretch pass is great when it’s available, but it simply isn’t there all the time. Quick passing and skating is an always available, and better, option for a puck possession team.

      • LT

        Coaching hockey for twenty plus years up to juniors, Leddy is a big concern, yes he is good on rush, but is brutal in our end, he is a good skater, not a good defender, he is out muscled in front of his net, has difficulty clearing the puck, let alone hitting a simple breakout pass. He is like a poor mans Brian Campbell. But bottom line a D man has to be able to play D. Personally I would trade him, if you could package him and say steeger for van reimsdyk do it! Maybe he works out moving him to forward ala Brent Burns, but I don’t seem him ever stepping up.

    • LT

      Yes, yes and yes ! Always seems like he’s caught out of position and the look is ” somebody pick me up, I lost my guy”

  • tkl60123

    I can’t give you numbers, but it seems there was one common denominator in Kings’ goals, Leddy being out of position or otherwise being ineffective on defense.