Handzus is one tough Blackhawk, and it’s appreciated

One of the ways Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville describes Michal Handzus is to call the 36-year-old center a warrior.

You think?

All Handzus did in the Stanley Cup Final against Boston in June was play with a broken left wrist and torn MCL in his knee.

But Handzus wouldn’t have missed it since he had never been that far in his postseason career.

“Honestly, I don’t think it was that bad,” he said. “I think the training staff did an excellent job to help me through it. It was an exciting time for everybody, for my team. You don’t pay too much attention to it.

“When you are in the Finals the only time you don’t play is when the trainers take you out or if it’s pretty bad and you can’t go.

“You play four rounds and it’s the Finals. In the playoffs, if you go deep you’re going to feel like that. I think our whole team was like that.”

Handzus needed two off-season surgeries to get ready for this season, and even then he missed all six exhibition games. His first game was the season opener against Washington.

“It’s amazing,” Marian Hossa said of Handzus’ rehabilitation. “To see what he went through the whole summer, he was pretty much rehabbing after the surgeries. In training camp, he’s still icing lots of things. It’s amazing when you see him back there. It is what it is, and he wants to play. It’s great for us.”

Quenneville is using Handzus at center on the second line just as he did throughout most of the playoffs. It still amazes the Hawks’ coach to think of how Handzus played during the Final.

“I guess everyone’s got different (pain-threshold) levels,” Quenneville said. “What he went through last year in the playoffs was very remarkable. I would have to say he wants to play, and he’ll find a way to play.

“It’s not like you go looking for guys — ‘We like him because he can tolerate more pain than other players’ — but it’s a nice attribute knowing that you’ll find a way to get yourself out there.”

Handzus played 13½ minutes in Saturday’s shootout loss to Tampa Bay.

“I think it’s all mental,” he said. “I love to play, and I love to play games. If I at least in my head think I can play, I’m not going to take myself out and I’m ready. I love to play the games.”

Saad starts fast:That#146;s two excellent games for Brandon Saad.The second-year left wing scored his second goal in the loss to Tampa Bay and had 4 take-aways.#147;I thought he had an excellent game,#148; Joel Quenneville said. #147;He had the puck a lot, he was dangerous and he was a threat. He could have had 3 goals.#148;Saad said he would have felt better if the Hawks had won.#147;I think the whole team looked good, but I felt good personally,#148; Saad said. #147;I got a lucky bounce (on the goal) and a few other good chances that he made a good save on and one hit the crossbar.#148;Zero shots:When the Hawks held Tampa Bay without a shot in the first period Saturday, it was the first time that happened since Dec. 4, 1946, against Detroit.Goalie Corey Crawford, who had little to do in that first period, called it a nonissue. #147;You try to find ways to stay in the game, talk to our guys, play the puck,#148; he said. #147;There#146;s always something to do when you#146;re not getting shots.#148;

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