The Chicago Blackhawks have won six of their last seven games and are on the verge of getting another important piece back off of the IR in Michal Handzus. He’s been injured since October 26 and has been on the shelf with an upper-body injury. At the time, head coach Joel Quenneville said that the veteran forward would be “out for a little bit.”
That “little bit” has snowballed into seven missed contests for Handzus. It appears that he’s close to returning, however.
Q said Handzus skated well this morning — “there’s a lot of progress there.” But could be another week or two before he plays. #Blackhawks
— Tracey Myers (@TramyersCSN) November 10, 2013
With that sort of timeline, it makes one wonder what is ailing the typically tough-as-nails Handzus.
He played through a broken wrist during the Stanley Cup Final last year and makes his living standing in front of the opposition’s goalie. While the ‘Hawks haven’t struggled without him in the lineup, he does give Quenneville options to work with.
Brandon Pirri is struggling as a top-six forward, and the likes of Patrick Kane can’t seem to find defensive consistency in their games. Handzus is a calming influence that can slow the game down in a positive way. While Chicago isn’t anxiously awaiting his return, there’s little doubt that this team is deeper and stronger with him than it is without him.