There seems to be an open place on the top line of the Blackhawks and Richard Panik would appear to be one of those players serious consideration to complete.
But the veteran winger did not reflect on the opportunity to skate alongside Jonathan Toews. Instead, Panik focuses on playing his game and let the rest sort itself out.
“I just want to play my game in the playoffs,” said Panik, who scored the first goal of the scrum training camp Hawks Saturday at the United Center. “I played really well and I’m just sort of playing the same hockey. We’ll see where I end up. “
He scored six goals with two assists in 30 games after a trade on January 3 with the Leafs for Jeremy Morin, Panik found his foot in the playoffs and had three assists in the six-game, the first-round series against the Blues . The 25-year-old plans to use this performance as a confidence booster.
“I proved to myself that I can play at this level,” Panik, 25, said. “Before I was playing only in Tampa (in the) playoffs, but it was my first year in the NHL so I was a little nervous. But now I’m pretty shows me that I can play at the highest level. C ‘ is a good start for me and … I’ll go from there. ”
Assistant coach Kevin Dineen said Panik has the skills to play on a line with Toews.
“There is a lot of potential here that has not really tapped into,” said Dineen. “Many of our players here smell opportunity and are excited to try to take advantage of it. Richard is probably top of that list. ”
Staying put: Dineen, who coached the Panthers for two seasons before joining more staff Hawks Joel Quenneville before the 2014-15 season, was a hot commodity in the summer and interviewed for the vacant coach Jared Avalanche Bednar filled.
“It’s always nice to go through a process to talk about the way you do your business,” said Dineen. “It is also a reflection on where you are. … (But) I could not be happier (that) here. I have a great person to work with and a spirit of hockey with Joel. But you know, down the line, things play their way. ”
Opportunity knocking: With 10 of the best players of the Hawks involved in the hockey World Cup and not even in training camp, there is an opportunity for prospects to attract attention.
“There are a lot of eyes on the guys (and) there are possibilities … they’ll get in some places they would not normally get,” Dineen said. “You have to enjoy it, but do not build too much into it. You may not think you’ll play as Duncan (Keith) or (Jonathan) Toews or something. (Just) play your game and show us what you have. ”
Coming soon: Dineen said Patrick Kane, Ville Pokka and Michal Kempny who were on teams eliminated from the World Cup in Toronto, will join Hawks camp Tuesday.