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Michal Handzus Joins His Old Rival

New Center Has Faced SJ 3 Times In the Postseason

Saturday, 07.2.2011 / 12:15 PM PT / News
By San Jose Sharks Staff
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Michal Handzus Joins His Old Rival
With the exception of an eight-game season with the Chicago Blackhawks, Michal Handzus has experienced the postseason with every club he’s played for. That list includes St. Louis, Phoenix, Philadelphia and Los Angeles.

While with the Blues, Coyotes and Kings, his club succumbed to the San Jose Sharks in the postseason. Now, he'll be a part of the franchise that has been his nemesis three times in eight playoff series.

“I never beat San Jose so I guess I had (to go there),” Handzus said.

Joking aside, Handzus shares the same goal as the entire Sharks organization and that's why he signed to play in Silicon Valley.

“I was excited when I heard San Jose was interested in me,” Handzus said. “I know them better because I played against them too much in L.A. with the (regular season and) playoffs. I know they have a great team. They’ve won the division many years in a row. They’ve been to the conference final two years in a row. They’re close to getting a Cup.”

Having played on some elite clubs during his career, Handzus was looking to continue that trend, as at 34, his National Hockey League time is running down.

“I’m not young, I’m getting older and I want to win a Cup,” Handzus said. “That’s your goal when you get to the League. I know how much fun it is when you win a lot of games and get to the playoffs and go deep. You want to get that feeling as much as you can and San Jose does that. They win a lot of games and have gone deep in the playoffs the last two seasons, so they have a lot of experience. They have a great team and are one of the favorites.”

Handzus has already spoken with Head Coach Todd McLellan and is very comfortable with the plan for him – continue to play a strong two-way game and contribute goals while shutting down the oppositions top players.

“That’s the game I like to play,” Handzus said. “It’s not only about the defense. I like to score goals like everybody and contribute offensively. I like to play defense also and to be matched against the other team’s top lines. I like the challenge to play that role. I take pride in it. Coming to the Sharks, I’ll do whatever it takes and do what I’m asked.”

Handzus said it's a bit awkward inking with one of the top rivals of his former club.

“I played in L.A. for four years and we didn’t like each other. With the playoffs, it was magnified a little bit more,” Handzus said. “It feels weird a little bit because I played four years in L.A., but it really excites me to think you have a chance to win a Cup next year. I think that’s what the Sharks organization is looking for and it’s what I was looking for coming into free agency. It just excited me so much I don’t think about the rivalry.”

Handzus is on his third Pacific Division team, but said location was not as big a factor as winning.

“I like to play on the East Coast also,” Handzus said. “I think it’s a great division and you play for those games.”

Handzus is currently back in his native Slovakia working out for the coming season and also prepping for his impending wedding, so he may not see his new home until training camp.

“I’m getting married here and I always spend time here in the summer,” Handzus said. “I work out here and will come back in the beginning of September. I’ll find out when camp starts and make my plans.”

And maybe playing on his third Pacific Division team will be a charm for Handzus.




1 x - ANA 77 48 22 7 225 215 103
2 x - NSH 76 47 21 8 218 183 102
3 STL 75 46 22 7 228 186 99
4 MIN 76 44 25 7 219 186 95
5 CHI 74 44 24 6 209 172 94
6 VAN 75 43 27 5 215 203 91
7 WPG 75 39 24 12 212 197 90
8 LAK 75 37 24 14 200 188 88
9 CGY 75 40 28 7 219 199 87
10 DAL 76 37 29 10 236 243 84
11 SJS 75 37 30 8 210 212 82
12 COL 75 35 28 12 205 209 82
13 EDM 75 22 40 13 181 254 57
14 ARI 76 23 45 8 160 252 54


J. Pavelski 75 36 31 10 67
J. Thornton 71 14 48 -4 62
L. Couture 75 24 37 -4 61
B. Burns 75 16 39 -5 55
P. Marleau 75 17 35 -17 52
T. Wingels 68 15 20 -5 35
T. Hertl 75 12 17 -2 29
M. Nieto 65 8 16 -11 24
M. Vlasic 70 9 14 12 23
M. Karlsson 46 13 9 -2 22
A. Stalock 7 7 1 .902 2.60
A. Niemi 29 22 7 .914 2.62
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