’ career seemed near its end when the
let him depart as a free agent after the 2010-11 season and he signed with San Jose.
But the Slovakian center is still going strong at age 37 and has become the second-line center for the
When the Blackhawks acquired Handzus from the Sharks in April 2013 for a fourth-round draft pick, Coach
This season, he has bounced around a bit but he centered
Handzus signed with the Kings as a free agent in 2007 and became popular with Kings fans during his four seasons in Los Angeles because they appreciated his strong work ethic. He has fond memories of his time in L.A.
"It was fun. It was a lot of fun. The first year wasn't as much, it was a tough year, but I thought we were getting better, and my last year we made the playoffs and it was starting to kind of turn around," Handzus said Wednesday after the Blackhawks' morning skate at the United Center.
"When you lose in the first round you're not happy about that but I had a lot of fun with those guys. I remember they were very good in the locker room and a very good group of guys and it shows now, that they have success because of it, because they're very tight in the locker room and that goes a long way in the playoffs."
He also said he saw the Kings’ organization progress toward its Stanley Cup title in 2012 and a strong run that has carried the team to its third straight West finals. The Kings’ drafting and development of players like
"When I got there they said they were going to rebuild, and they were going to get through the draft, and they had very good pieces," he said. "It was a matter of time when they get together and get more experience and started playing well. It happened, and it doesn't surprise me at all."
Knowing the Kings as well as he does, Handzus said he expects a stronger performance from them in Game 2 — and a stronger performance from the Blackhawks.