The intent of the assault allegations against Artemi Panarin or corroborating witnesses by his former KHL trainer Andrei Nazarov in an interview with a Russian tabloid appears to have been to tarnish the reputation of the Rangers’ winger for personal support and promotion political agenda, not to pursue justice.
Panarin has « unequivocally and vehemently » denied the allegation of knocking an 18-year-old woman to the ground in a hotel bar after a game on December 11, 2011, as claimed by Nazarov . The former NHL winger also claimed that Latvian officials were bought off for $ 40,000 in euros after criminal proceedings were opened.
Panarin announced his disapproval through a Rangers statement describing the story as « made up » .
« This is clearly an intimidation tactic used against him in order to speak up on recent political events, » the statement added. “Artemi is obviously shaken and worried and will take some time from the team. The Rangers wholeheartedly support Artemi and will work with him to determine the source of these unfounded allegations. “
Panarin has been an outspoken critic of the regime of Russian President Vladimir Putin, as evidenced most recently by his support on social media for opposition leader Alexi Navalny, who was poisoned and now has a 32 month prison sentence for alleged parole violations which were imposed at the beginning of the trial in February.
A well-positioned source with knowledge of the political dynamics in Russia told The Post that this false attack on the 29-year-old native of Korkino was not a direct government retaliation against Panarin but rather a villain of Nazarov.
It is believed that Nazarov, who was extremely critical of Panarin’s opposition to Putin, tried to recruit the Russian Ice Hockey Federation and its first vice-president, Roman Rotenberg, whose family had close ties to Putin is to gain favor.
This is not the same as a woman who is 10 Years later, charges a man. These allegations need to be taken seriously and investigated independently. That is different. There is no complainant. This is not a « He said she said. » Instead, this appears to be a « third party he is claiming with an agenda with no evidence ».
Indeed, Latvian journalist Aivis Kalnins reported that a hotel spokesman said no such incident occurred. Also, no Vityaz club player who lost 2-0 to Dynamo that night supported Nazarov’s claims.
Also remember: at the time of the alleged attack, Panarin was considered a run of the 20 year old mill that had been completely passed over by the NHL in two design years. He was certainly not a high profile athlete. Hence, there would have been little reason to engage in bribery and cover up.
So here we are again in the vortex of politics that interacts with sport. Here’s Panarin, who almost always seems to be the luckiest man on earth, pausing indefinitely after receiving that punch in the stomach.
If Panarin was previously innocent and far too intelligent and empathetic to to be called naive, then it is certainly not now. The prospect of retaliation and retaliation through various means has always existed, even though this attack on him appears to have been launched by a private individual with an agenda rather than the coordinated efforts of the Kremlin.
Nonetheless, Panarin is paying. This also applies to the Rangers who lose their most dynamic, most important, most valuable and best player indefinitely. To claim that the blueshirts can’t afford to lose # 10 is considered a prizewinner for understatement.
Panarin was a Hart Trophy finalist a year ago, which won the club in the first half of 2019- 20 almost wore. He raised blueshirts on each of his recent wins against Philadelphia and Washington after being sidelined over a couple with an unknown injury. He’s the straw that stirs the drink, and he just stirs it well.
He’s universally popular in this room too, having been to the Chicago and Columbus rooms, where he played his first four NHL seasons for split the Blackhawks and Blue Jackets before signing his seven-year free agent contract for $ 81.5 million with the Rangers on July 1, 2019.
His popularity, personality, marquee stature don’t rid him Allegations of wrongdoing. It is obvious. But there is something very fishy about all of this. It fails the smell test.
One opponent who appears to be motivated by a personal and political agenda has made fire charges against Panarin without the support of evidence. By the way, things like this don’t only happen in Russia.
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