The Chicago chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers Association nominated Michal Handzus for the Masterton Trophy, given to the player ‘‘who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.’’ Handzus, a 15-year veteran, dealt with serious wrist and knee injuries while playing a key role in the Hawks’ Stanley Cup championship last season.
‘‘It’s just fun to play hockey,’’ Handzus said. ‘‘It’s been a great ride so far, but I still have fun and still want to be with a team that’s winning and having fun on the ice. If you don’t [have fun], I don’t think you can stay that long and play hockey.’’
Handzus has struggled this season but recently played his 1,000th game. And Quenneville said before the game that Handzus likely will have the first crack at second-line center in the playoffs.
‘‘I don’t think it’s been a year I would have liked, but sometimes it is what it is,’’ Handzus said. ‘‘Just try to focus on getting better. I don’t think too much about the season; I just try to think about what’s coming up next.’’