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Artemi Panarin taking leave of absence

February 22, 2021, 10:45 AM ET [586 Comments]
Jan Levine
New York Rangers Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
Larry Brooks is reporting that Artemi Panarin is taking a leave of absence in the wake of a “report” that he beat up an 18-year old in a bar in Russia. Panarin has been front and center with his anti-Putin views and his decision is likely motivated by his desire to protect his family that still lives in the country. This is a breaking story with more information still to come out.

First and foremost, hopefully the allegations are untrue. Based on what we know, which is minimal, and the reporting associated with it, the piece looks to be specious at best and done to damage to Panarin. Hopefully, that is the case. Irrespective of that, prayers that Panarin’s family is safe. But with his loved ones still back in Russia and Panarin in the US, he clearly will be worried regardless of what happens with the allegations until he can either bring them here or make sure they are safe.

I don’t have really cover the impact to the team as that is well known. There is no timetable for Panarin to be back with the squad and New York will have to make due without him, similar to when he was sidelined by his groin strain. If Panarin is out Wednesday and Kaapo Kakko still on the sidelines, New York will likely need to promote someone from the AHL. The other possibility is to move Brendan Smith back to forward and play Jack Johnson on defense.

More to come.
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