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Michal Handzus Joins His Old Rival

New Center Has Faced SJ 3 Times In the Postseason

Saturday, 07.02.2011 / 3:15 PM / 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.



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WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 z - ANA 82 54 20 8 266 209 116
2 y - COL 82 52 22 8 250 220 112
3 x - STL 82 52 23 7 248 191 111
4 x - SJS 82 51 22 9 249 200 111
5 x - CHI 82 46 21 15 267 220 107
6 x - LAK 82 46 28 8 206 174 100
7 x - MIN 82 43 27 12 207 206 98
8 x - DAL 82 40 31 11 235 228 91
9 PHX 82 37 30 15 216 231 89
10 NSH 82 38 32 12 216 242 88
11 WPG 82 37 35 10 227 237 84
12 VAN 82 36 35 11 196 223 83
13 CGY 82 35 40 7 209 241 77
14 EDM 82 29 44 9 203 270 67

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Pavelski 82 41 38 23 79
J. Thornton 82 11 65 20 76
P. Marleau 82 33 37 0 70
L. Couture 65 23 31 21 54
B. Burns 69 22 26 26 48
T. Wingels 77 16 22 11 38
D. Boyle 75 12 24 -8 36
J. Demers 75 5 29 14 34
T. Hertl 37 15 10 11 25
M. Nieto 66 10 14 -4 24
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
A. Stalock 12 5 2 .932 1.87
A. Niemi 39 17 7 .913 2.39
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