There has been a serious love/hate relationship with Michal Handzus with many Chicago Blackhawks fans since his arrival at the trade deadline in 2013 from the San Jose Sharks. Stan Bowman pulled the trade deadline deal for a center that could be great at winning faceoffs, but he seemed to old and slow in his second go around with the Chicago Blackhawks.
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
Michal Handzus may have scored the biggest goal in the 2013 playoffs when he tied Game #6 in Detroit in the third period when he was left all alone for the goal that gave the Hawks the lift they would need to go on and complete the 3-1 comeback.
Handzus would dissappear for most of the rest of the playoffs and with the Hawks trailing 2-1 in the Finals I was calling for a changeup, but Quenneville stuck to his guns and was paid off with a Handzus short handed goal which kicked off the scoring for the Blackhawks in the pivotal Game #4 victory which would in the end lead to a Chicago Stanley Cup. His teammates obviously like him since Toews handed Zus the Cup first after getting it from Gary Bettman.
Bowman made a surprise move by some by bringing Zus back especially when most fans including myself were ready for Brandon Pirri, but Pirri’s days were numbered for not playing 200 feet and we were stuck with Zus. Don’t get me wrong, veteran guys are ok but the Hawks were built with youth and speed and skill and Zus is missing one of those.
The biggest feel for what fans thought of Zus was the huge sensation, excitement, and support for Teuvo Time. The coaching staff saw something in Teuvo in three games to send him to Rockford and give Zus “first crack” at 2nd line center.
Zus looked to be heading to the bench for good Saturday, but he had a huge third period, and then again last night with the Hawks grasping to a one goal there was Handzus blocking shots on the penalty kill and getting rewarded by a very loud chant of ZZZZUUUUSSS by the United Center Crowd.
Zus is here to stay for this year’s playoffs! Love him or Hate he’s #26 in your program and he was big Last Night in the 2-0 shut out of the Blues! There is a lot of love for Zus today, but all it will take is a couple shifts until the Hate comes back out. The one thing history has shown us is that when the chips look to be all the way down Zus “The Warrior” will make a huge unexpected play to save the day!
What is your love/hate relationship with #26?
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