SUNRISE, Fla. — First, Richard Panik overslept. Then, Panik panicked.
“It was as soon as I woke up,” Panik said. “We were staying like 30 minutes away, and I woke up at 11, and I knew I’m not going to make it. It was terrifying, especially when I’m new on the team.”
Panik was scratched from Thursday’s game at Tampa Bay because he missed the team bus to the 11:30 a.m. morning skate.
“I had to wait for a cab, and there was traffic,” Panik said before Friday’s game at Florida. “Everything was going against me. Time is going, and I’m like, ‘Oh, God.’”
Panik knew he’d face the wrath of Joel Quenneville when he finally got to Amalie Arena. And sure enough, after arriving late, Panik stayed late, as Hawks assistants skated him long and hard after the rest of the team left the ice. Even though he had scored in each of his past two games, Panik said he “deserved” the punishment, and that he definitely learned his lesson.
“I understand, it can’t happen,” said Panik, who’s back in the lineup tonight. “I’m a professional athlete and it can’t happen, and it’s not going to happen.”
“Extremely rare [that it happens],” Quenneville said. “First time. It’s something that can’t happen.”