The Allegations Against Artemi Panarin
A disappointing start to the season for the New York Rangers continues to go downhill.
Star left-winger Artemi Panarin has announced he is stepping away from the team after allegations made against him by a Russian newspaper said he assaulted a woman back in 2011.
Panarin has denied the allegations expressively, but figured it would be best for him and the Rangers if he stepped away from the team during this challenging time.
The Rangers have stated that they believe this is a tactic of intimidation against Panarin due to his political opinions that contradict Russian President Vladimir Putin. The New York franchise is backing Panarin and hoping for a speedy return from one of their top players. The NHL has also stated that it supports Panarin and the Rangers for how they have reacted to the allegations.
On Friday morning, the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) announced that they never received any complaints about an accident involving Panarin while playing in Russia in 2011. However, one of Panarin’s former coaches in the KHL spoke out to a Russian newspaper inquiring that Panarin physically beat an 18-year-old woman.
That former coach, Andrei Nazarov, continued by saying the local police were paid off in order for Panarin to get off clean. These statements lead back to the consensus of politics playing a factor in the allegations. Panarin posted on social media favoring Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny.
Navalny was arrested earlier this month for not reporting to parole officers. He has been sentenced to 30 months in prison in Russia.
Panarin is unsure of when he will be able to return to Russia, where his family continues to live. Normally, Panarin resides in Russia for the duration of the NHL offseason.
From a hockey standpoint, the Rangers are losing their top point scorer in Panarin. He leads the team with 18 points.
The next best is Pavel Buchnevich, with 12 points to his credit. New York has been unable to score goals consistently, which should be disappointing to Ranger fans considering their young offensive threats.
The first overall pick from 2020, Alexis Lafreniere, only has two points in his rookie season. Kaapo Kakko, the second overall pick for New York in the 2019 draft, continues to struggle with a distasteful three points to his name.
The Rangers are falling back in the East Division and will have to rebound quickly if they want to have a chance at the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
New York will have to continue to be patient with the delicate situation Panarin currently finds himself in. Panarin is unaware of when he will return to the ice for the Rangers and remains at his Connecticut home for the time being.
Evan Popalis is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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