Center Michal Handzus -- acquired by the Blackhawks Monday afternoon -- talks to chicagoblackhawks.com about his role, connections to the coaching staff and more.
Welcome back to Chicago. How does it feel?
It’s great. I think it’s a great team. They’ve had a great season, and it’s exciting for me to come into such a good team.
Were you surprised at all or did you have a feeling a trade was coming?
I kind of knew it was going to happen. I didn’t play the last six games, so I knew something was going on.
On the ice, how do you see yourself fitting in on this team?
It’s up to the coaches, but I’ve always been a two-way player. I like to play on the PK a lot and take faceoffs. I'll try to fit in and help the team as much as I can.
Virtually everything about this organization is different since you were last here in 2006-07. What is your sense of the changes that have taken place, watching as an outsider?
Obviously the change is tremendous. When I was there it was one of the bottom teams and there were 10,000 people in the stands. Now I don’t know how many sellouts in a row it has been. They won the Cup in 2010, so it’s a different organization. It’s exciting; it’s exciting to play in front of 20,000 people every night. And they are at the top of the league, too. They’re a great team with a lot of great players. But like I said, I’m just trying to fit in and help.
You've played with Marian Hossa before and have connections to the coaches here. How much easier will that make your transition?
Yeah, it’s good for the transition. I know many people in the city and people in the organization from the coaches to trainers and players. The transition process should be easy and obviously I’m looking forward to it.
Joel Quenneville coached you in St. Louis. What are your memories of him, and how do you view him as a head coach?
He was my first coach in the NHL for three years. I have great memories of him. I was young and I was up-and-coming and he helped me a lot with that. It’s great to come to a team where I know the coaches. I know the assistant coaches too. I knew [Mike] Kitchen in St. Louis and was with Jamie Kompon there and in L.A. I know pretty much the entire coaching staff, and they know me -- what kind of player I am and what they can expect from me. So it’s a little bit easier. But you have to prove it every night and I have to play as hard as I can and help the team to show the coaches I can play.