Despite strong season, Blackhawks' Panik staying humble

Upon arriving home after the Blackhawks’ 4-1 victory over Pittsburgh on Wednesday, you’d think Richard Panik would turn on the TV and watch highlights of his second-period goal that had announcers and teammates alike gushing over his incredible puck handling.

Right, Richard?

“No, no.”

You didn’t watch it?

“No, I didn’t watch it.”

Why not?

“I don’t know. I just don’t want to get satisfied, you know? Just focus on the next game.”


Just as incredible was the amazing move Panik put on Penguins superstar Evgeni Malkin that led to his 17th goal of the season and a 2-1 Blackhawks lead. If you haven’t seen it, load it up on your phone, iPad, tablet or television.

The reactions from various stunned parties:

• NBCSN’s Pierre McGuire: “That’s a goal-of-the-year candidate right there.”

• A smiling Artemi Panarin: “It’s not the first time he’s tried something like that. And this time it actually worked. Congratulations to him.”

• Patrick Kane: “Great move to get the shot off and bury it where you want to. That was pretty impressive.”

• Joel Quenneville: “He had the wow factor tonight. That was an amazing play. We don’t want to advertise trying that play too often in the offensive zone, but he times that stuff and we see it in practice.”

As amazing as the move was, just as amazing is the season Panik is having for the Hawks. A journeyman of nine professional teams — including three in both the OHL and AHL — Panik has truly come into his own.

The versatile and (finally) consistent Panik, acquired last season in a trade with Toronto for Jeremy Morin, has given Jonathan Toews a winger he can rely on every night. Panik has started with Toews in 31 games this season, including 16 of the last 17 in which he has 7 goals and 9 assists.

Asked how much credit the coaching staff deserves in developing the 26-year-old, Quenneville never hesitated and said: “Ehh … zero.”

Quenneville then praised Panik for well over a minute.

“With Pans, I mean give him some credit,” Quenneville said. “He obviously had a lot of ability. He did a lot of good things in his career. Consistency — that was his problem. …

“But all of a sudden you see a skill set that’s pretty remarkable. Very high-end. Very athletic. Strong, can hit, can shoot, not afraid to make plays. …

“He’s really grown and is getting a little more responsibility based on his performance. But he’s got to be the one doing it, and I think he’s got a little more confidence.”

Make that a lot more confidence. You certainly don’t try and pull a move off like the one he did Wednesday if you’re not feeling it.

Panik concurred, but he also threw out a big verbal assist to Toews and Schmaltz.

“I have better linemates and that helps out too,” Panik said. “When you’re playing with Jonny and now Schmaltzy — (he’s) playing unreal. So we found our chemistry and we’re clicking.”

• Follow John on Twitter @johndietzdh

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Source: Sports

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