Michal Handzus will be representing his hometown country in the 2012 IIHF World Championship hockey games after all.
The 35-year old Handzus from Banska Bystrica, Slovakia has already played in four world championships in his career and is also a two-time Winter Olympics participant. Although he wasn’t picked to play in the beginning this year possibly because of a struggling year he had this past season he now has his chance to prove that he’s still got it.
In 67 games played this season he scored only seven goals and added 17 assists to put him at one of his career low’s 24 points. Only three times in his 13 season National Hockey League career has Handzus ever scored less than 24 points including one season in which he only was able to participate in eight games.
Never the less he is still a talented player and could do Slovakia some good after an early struggle in the preliminary round. Slovakia lost to Canada in the opening game 3-2 and then was shutout 1-0 against Finland.
Starting off 0-2 is not what people would expect of Slovakia after having NHL players such as Florida’s Tomas Kopecky, Boston’s Zdeno Chara, Buffalo’s Adrej Sekera and former NHL forward Miroslav Satan.
With a big game coming up against the United States it seemed Slovakia thought it was better late than never to make an adjustment before they fell too far back in the rankings and they couldn’t have been more right.
The winless Slovakia team defeated the undefeated U.S.A team 4-2. The addition of Michal Handzus I would say was the difference maker for Slovakia. Though Handzus only had one assist on the second goal for Slovakia the dramatic upset speaks for itself on the importance and difference in the team’s decision to add more offensive force.
Handzus and Team Slovakia will play Kazakhstan next in what should be a blow out for them. Kazakhstan is yet to win a game and does not field a single player from the NHL.