Panik didn't expect 2-game suspension for Alzner hit, but 'you accept it and go from there'
On Wednesday, Lightning rookie Richard Panik said he explained to league disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan what happened on Tuesday night when he knocked Capitals defenseman Karl Alzner into the side boards at the Verizon Center.
And he hoped for the best.
"I wanted to poke check the puck and I decided to hit him," Panik explained Thursday. "It was my decision and too bad it went that way."
Panik, who got a five-minute major boarding penalty on which the Capitals scored twice, said he did not expect the two-game suspension for the second-period hit in the 6-5 shootout loss. But he said twice he is glad Alzner is okay, and added about the suspension, "You have to accept it and go from there."
This is an interesting time for Panik. Not playing well he was in the lineup against the Capitals after two games as a healthy scratch. He even admitted he has lost some confidence.
"I'm just going to practice and focus on myself and do things right and get back to good habits and, hopefully, this is going to turn around," Panik said.
Panik, 22, has a goal and 10 points in 27 games, and also is minus-7. More troubling for coach Jon Cooper, though, is that Panik, whom Cooper said has one of the top three shots on the team, has just 29 shots on goal.
"He's got to be more involved," Cooper said. "He's got to be better at that, and when he gets better at that he'll be back in the lineup."
In some ways, Panik's inconsistency is similar to what he went through his first season as a pro, 2011-12 for Norfolk, which also was coched by Cooper.
"He used to have two games on, five games off," Cooper said. "He's got it to a point where he's five games on, two games off. But this is a league that humbles everyone, from players to coaches. I think he's going through a little humble pie right now. I fully expect him, when he gets out of his suspension, to jump right back in. You sit in the stands for four of five games, you get a pretty good indication of what you need to do to get back in. I'm sure he'll be better for it."
Other stuff from the morning skate: Ben Bishop gets the start in net tonight against the Red Wings. ... The Lightning likely will again go with 11 forwards and seven defensemen. ... Cooper said defenseman Victor Hedman "unfortunately" hasn't made much progress overcoming his lower-body injury and will be out at least another week. ... Left wing Pierre-Cedric Labrie (left arm/elbow) skated in a regular jersey and said he believes he will be ready to play by the weekend. Labrie said the illness he had earlier this week that kept him from skating before Tuesday's game with the Capitals was strep throat that caused him to spit up blood. ... Center Valtteri Filppula has already played a game against his former team, the Red Wings, but said games against Detroit "are going to be weird for a while" but "it was definitely good to get the first one out of the way." ... Filppula's 10 goals in 30 games already has surpassed the nine he had in 41 games last season for Detroit. "It's always nice to get goals," he said. "But I really didn't think about last year. I'm trying to forget about that." ... Cooper was optimistic the game that Teddy Purcell played Tuesday against the Capitals is the "first step" to better things. Purcell, who has just three goals in his past 24 games, was thoroughly engaged playing on a line with Filppula and Alex Killorn. Purcell had an assist, three shots, three takeaways and a blocked shot. "I thought Teddy was exceptional," Cooper said. "He wasn't cheating and trying to pick guys' pockets. He was on the right side of the puck all the time. He was skating and back-checking. It gets him in the game. His best game of the year. Definitely his best game in a month. Now, it's just, okay, take that and hit replay." ... So, with Alex Ovechkin with 26 goals in 29 games, some talk in Washington he has a shot at 50 in 50. After watching him score four goals Tuesday, Cooper said anything is possible, and added, "If you're going to play D like we did that night, he might get 80 in 50."