A message for Artemi Panarin

Later today, I’ll share my thoughts about the crazy Artemi Panarin story that was broken by NY Post reporter Larry Brooks yesterday.

He will be taking a “leave of absence” from the New York Rangers for an uncertain amount of time due to a questionable rumor started by former KHL head coach Andrei Nazarov. A former NHL goon with an iffy reputation who accused Panarin of assaulting an 18-year old girl in 2011 when he was 19.

From reading tweets of Russian hockey reporters close to the story, it sounds like made up nonsense to smear Panarin’s name due to his political beliefs. He doesn’t support Russian President Vladimir Putin. This looks to be a deliberate attack by Nazarov to damage his former player.

When it comes to Russia and politics, it’s a lot more serious than anything in the United States of America. We are allowed to voice our own opinions and beliefs due to freedom of speech, religion and press. When it comes to Russia, a lot of that is off limits. I’ve seen people I follow on Instagram video protests stemming from last year during an election. They’ve even made their thoughts known.

Russia doesn’t play games. Whatever is going on with Panarin, he had no choice but to take timeout from his hockey career in NYC to address a much more important and personal issue off the ice. I can only hope and pray everything will be okay for him and his family back home.

I’ll have more on this insane story later with the appropriate quotes, tweets and more from Brooks, Mollie Walker, the Rangers and those key Russian insiders who all but shot down the rumor. Here’s my message for Artemi which should be steadfast.

Я поддерживаю Артемия Панарина!

I Stand With Artemi Panarin!

About Derek Felix

Derek Felix is sports blogger whose previous experience included separate stints at ESPN as a stat researcher for NHL and WNBA telecasts. The Staten Island native also interned for or hockey historian Stan Fischler and worked behind the scenes for MSG as a production assistant on New Jersey Devil telecasts. An avid New York sports fan who enjoys covering events, writing, concerts, movies and the outdoors, Derek has covered consecutive Staten Island Yankees NY Penn League championships in '05 and '06. He also scored Berkeley Carroll high school basketball games from '06-14 and provided an outlet for the Park Slope school's student athletes. Hitting Back gives them the publicity they deserve. In his free time, he also attends Ranger games and is a loyal St. John's alum with a sports management degree. The Battle Of Hudson administrator and chief editor can be followed below on Twitter and Facebook.
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