CHICAGO -- Chicago Blackhawks forward Michal Handzus doesn’t want his career to end on this note.
A season after playing a major role in the Blackhawks winning the Stanley Cup, he factored into why they didn’t this season. He had 11 points and was a plus-7 in the playoffs in 2013. He had three points and was a minus-8 in the playoffs this season.
Handzus will become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. He was acquired by the Blackhawks in a trade with the San Jose Sharks in April of 2013 and re-signed to a one-year contract in July 2013. He turned 37 years old in March and has been in the NHL since 1998.
“It kind of makes you hungry,” Handzus said on Tuesday. “You’re disappointed right now. I know I haven’t played the way I would like to and am capable of. I still have the hunger and still love the game. I’ll just work really hard in the offseason. I know I can get my body in shape.
“We’ll see. I always said the last three years I’d do year by year. I don’t know what will happen next year, but I still have the desire. We’ll see if I make it or not.”
Handzus was accountable for his play this season and felt he let his teammates down. He thought having a short offseason and having surgeries on his knee and wrist after last season factored into this season's performance.
“You don’t want to make excuses,” Handzus said. “Obviously not having the summer workouts that I usually do, it’s a big part, especially with my body and my skating. I need to have summer workouts. Obviously we had to have surgery last year. I couldn’t do anything pretty much the whole summer. It didn’t help me. I was working hard in the season to get back. It’s not an excuse, but it didn’t help.
“But I just didn’t play well. It’s the disappointing part. Like I said, it was a special group, and I wasn’t helping. Individually, it’s a very big disappointment.”
The Blackhawks are not expected to re-sign Handzus, and he said they haven’t had any discussions.
Handzus said he’d remember his time with the Blackhawks fondly if he doesn’t return.
“Obviously the best time,” Handzus said. “When you win a Cup somewhere, it’s obviously special and it’s always going to be special in my heart. Best group of guys I’ve been with for my career. It’s a great group. I think it’s a special group. A lot of fun last year and a lot of fun this year, too.
“Obviously right now we’re disappointed how it ended, and it kind of stinks, but a special group of guys and really good guys and really great organization. I had a blast.”