Michal Handzus battled through a hip injury for most of last year, contributing to his disappointing first season in a Sharks uniform, a source close to the situation confirmed to CSNCalifornia.com on Tuesday.
Handzus, 35, had an injection in his hip following the Sharks first round series defeat to St. Louis, and was an effective player for Slovakia in the World Championships with two goals and five assists in eight games. He scored the game-winning goal to beat Canada in the quarterfinals, as Slovakia went on to capture the silver medal.
RELATED: Michal Handzus career stats 2011-2012 game logs
In 67 games in 2011-12, Handzus had seven goals and 17 assists for 24 points, while his -6 rating was better only than Jason Demers and Dominic Moore (-8). Handzus played in just two of five playoff games, and was listed as having a groin strain in the Sharks' official post-season injury report. There was no mention of his hip injury.
Last season was a difficult one for Handzus even before it began, as his good friend and countryman Pavol Demitra was killed in the Lokomotiv plane crash in September. Demitra had served as Handzus best man in his wedding shortly before the tragedy. As a result, Handzus was a late arrival to training camp while attending to matters that were much more important at the time than hockey.
Handzus has one year remaining on his contract at 2.5 million.