Blackhawks News

Chicago Blackhawks’ Richard Panik An Unsung Hero

By Sean Fitzgerald
Apr 23, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; St. Louis Blues goalie Brian Elliott (1) makes a save on a shot from Chicago Blackhawks right wing Richard Panik (14) during the third period in game six of the first round of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the United Center. Chicago won 6-3. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 23, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; St. Louis Blues goalie Brian Elliott (1) makes a save on a shot from Chicago Blackhawks right wing Richard Panik (14) during the third period in game six of the first round of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the United Center. Chicago won 6-3. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports /
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Chicago Blackhawks, Richard Panik Are A Perfect Match

The Chicago Blackhawks unleashed a furious comeback against the St. Louis Blues in Game 6 of their Stanley Cup Playoffs first-round series on Saturday, scoring five unanswered goals to force a Game 7. The second period was pure gold, as the Blackhawks turned a 3-1 deficit into a 4-3 lead. In the game, Blackhawks goals were scored by Andrew Ladd, Artem Anisimov, Trevor van Riemsdyk, Dale Weise, Andrew Shaw and Marian Hossa.

Yet when the the three stars of the game were announced, the first star of the game was Richard Panik. That’s right, Richard Panik, the player that was benched in favor of Brandon Mashinter in Game 1 of this series. Panik was a huge force in the Blackhawks’ latest victory, recording four shots, one assist and six hits. This was Panik’s best game as a member of the Blackhawks and the best game in his playoffs career.

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Since joining the Blackhawks, Panik has been a very good player. When Panik was acquired on January 3 for Jeremy Morin, most people believed that the move was to bolster the Rockford IceHogs’ AHL roster. Panik had not appeared in an NHL game for the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 2015-16 season before the trade. With the Leafs tanking this season, you had to wonder how bad Panik was if he couldn’t break the Leafs’ NHL (more like AHL) roster.

When the Blackhawks announced that Panik would join the team at the NHL level, many people were puzzled by the move. This is why most of us do not run NHL franchises. The move of bringing Panik to the NHL level was the right move.

In 30 games with the Blackhawks, he recorded six goals and two assists. In his last five games before the playoffs, he had one goal and one assist. So when he did not start in Game 1 of the playoffs, everyone was shocked.

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Thankfully, coach

Joel Quenneville

came to his senses and added Panik to the Blackhawks’ rotation.

Panik’s first two Blackhawks playoff games were short lived, as he played under eight minutes in Games 2 and 3. In Game 4, his minutes started to increase, as he saw 11:31 of ice time and recorded two shots. Game 5 is when Panik started to make his presence known, appearing in 21 minutes, 9 seconds of ice time and recording one assist.  After his Game 6 performance, it appears Panik is now a key cog in the Blackhawks’ playoff machine.

Next: 6 Keys To Tying Series Against Blues

The emergence of Panik and Dale Weise in Game 6 also gave the Blackhawks something they have been lacking: depth. The Blackhawks did not get any goals from Jonathan Toews or Patrick Kane and still won a do-or-die Game 6. Forward depth has been the key to all three of the Blackhawks’ most-recent championship runs. Panik’s play as of late has given the Blackhawks their best offensive weapon back in depth.

Depth has won championships for them in the past. Currently, the Blackhawks need that depth to help win one more game in this series.

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