Washington Capitals forward Richard Panik told the media on Monday that “[the fourth-line is] trying to” pick up where they left off before the 2019-20 NHL season paused due to COVID-19 on March 12. The trio, which also features center Nic Dowd and forward Garnet Hathaway, combined for seven goals and 16 points in seven games after being put together. Panik was second on the team with seven points and tied for first with a +6 rating after the NHL Trade Deadline. “That’s what we’re focused on and have a good feeling on the ice,” he continued.
Panik acknowledged it was a tough start to the season for him as he posted just two goals and three points in his first 24 games with the team and missed ten games due to a lower-body injury, which he said “didn’t help. [Those were] tough times, but [they were] getting better and better towards the end.” He added that he does not want to sweat his slow start to his tenure with the Capitals.
The 29-year-old said that he started skating at the end of May back home in Slovakia, which closed its borders early, so COVID-19 was not bad in his home country. With families not allowed in the NHL bubble in Toronto for the first few rounds of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs, his wife and daughter stayed home.
On defenseman John Carlson, who was nominated for the Norris Trophy (given yearly to the NHL’s best defenseman) on Monday, Panik said that he is “just overall [a] great player,” and added he can hit and play both ends of the ice. “Hopefully, he’ll win it. … Everything he touched turned to gold [at the beginning of the season].
By Harrison Brown