You really couldn't have blamed Michal Handzus if he wasn't exactly thinking long term about his career after his NHL debut with the Blues under then St. Louis coach Joel Quenneville.
"We were playing Boston and 'Q' put me on the PK and we gave up 2 goals and I was like 'Oh, my God, this is not a good start,' " Handzus said. "But he obviously trusted me and things got better."
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They absolutely got better for Handzus, who Wednesday played in his 1,000th career NHL game, a number that had him shaking his head at the very thought.
"You never (think you'll play this long)," said Handzus, who was feted in a pregame ceremony. "First you want to make the NHL, then you want to stay in the NHL and establish yourself, and then you want to win a Cup."
Check, check and check.
"He was one of those guys who was probably under the radar when he first started but was a really big part of our team. He was a heck of a player for our team," Quenneville said of Handzus' days with the Blues. "He's had a nice career, but I was very happy for him when he got to hoist the Cup in the spring."
As for his career numbers, Handzus says all that stuff is for down the road.
"You think more about them after you're done when you can reflect on them," he said. "It's a nice achievement, but right now I'm focusing on the season and the games and what we need to do as a team."
As for what the future holds after this season …
"At this age you go season by season," Handzus said. "You see how you feel, how you play, and if you can still help the team and then go from there."
Is he here yet?
According to Bob McKenzie of TSN, Teuvo Teravainen has been cleared by the Finnish Hockey Federation to join the Blackhawks, who still are deciding if he comes to Chicago or is assigned to Rockford
"We'll see how that's going to sort out over the course of the week here," Joel Quenneville said. "I don't know exactly what the plan is right now."
Forward Brandon Mashinter got a two-year contract extension through the end of the 2015-16 season. Mashinter, a native of Bradford, Ontario, was acquired in a trade that sent prospect Kyle Beach to the New York Rangers on Dec. 6.
Since being assigned to Rockford, Mashinter has recorded 23 points (11 goals, 12 assists) in 34 games. Mashinter also appeared in six games with the Rangers this season and has 27 penalty minutes in 23 career NHL games with the Rangers and San Jose Sharks.
"I don't know much about him, but he has played in the league and certainly gives us some size," Joel Quenneville said when the trade was announced. "He can fill that role on one of those lines that can give you energy and some strength and some toughness."
Brandon Saad (upper body), who has been out of the lineup since missing the final 20 minutes of Sunday's victory over Detroit, may be ready to return by the weekend.
"We'll see how he is (Thursday)," Joel Quenneville said. "Good chance by the weekend. Fingers crossed for Friday."
Meanwhile, things aren't quite as rosy for defenseman Michal Rozsival (lower body).
"Rozy's progressing," Quenneville said. "We'll see how he is, but he's out a couple of games here."