Rangers star Artemi Panarin taking leave of absence, denies 'fabricated' story out of Russia

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Danny Abriano
·1 min read
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312844016 artemi-panarin-canes
312844016 artemi-panarin-canes

Rangers LW Artemi Panarin is taking a leave of absence from the team after a story published in his native Russia alleged that Panarin -- who has been outspoken against Russian president Vladimir Putin -- beat up an 18-year-old woman in a Russian bar in 2011.

“Artemi vehemently and unequivocally denies any and all allegations in this fabricated story," the Rangers said in a statement on Monday. "This is clearly an intimidation tactic being used against him for being outspoken on recent political events. Artemi is obviously shaken and concerned and will take some time away from the team. The Rangers fully support Artemi and will work with him to identify the source of these unfounded allegations.”

The claim is alleged by Andrei Nazarov, a coach who is a Putin supporter, has been fired by the KHL multiple times and has a history of bizarre behavior.

Panarin has been fearful of retribution from Putin after he posted support of opposition leader Alexi Navalny with the caption "Freedom for Navalny" on Instagram on Jan. 21, reports Larry Brooks of The New York Post.

Brooks notes that Panarin still has family in Russia.

OddsMoney LinePoint SpreadTotal Points
NY Rangers
-118+1.5O 5.5
New Jersey
+100-1.5U 5.5