Nazarov stated he was inspired to speak about the alleged incident since he disagreed with Panarin's duplicated criticism of the Russian federal government. " Artemi emphatically and unquestionably rejects any and all allegations in this made story," the Rangers said in a statement Monday. "This is clearly an intimidation method being used against him for being outspoken on current political events. Artemi is clearly shaken and worried and will take some time far from the team. The Rangers completely support Artemi and will deal with him to identify the source of these unproven claims."
Panarin has been a vocal critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin and last month published his assistance on social networks for opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who was jailed last month upon returning to Moscow and was sentenced to 2 years and eight months in jail for violating regards to his probation.
Rangers' scoring leader
Panarin, 29, has played in the NHL because 2015 and was a finalist for the league's MVP award last season. He won the Calder Trophy as rookie of the year in 2016 with Chicago where he played two seasons, went to Columbus for two more and after that signed a seven-year, $81.5-million agreement with New York in 2019.
Rangers teammate Ryan Strome applauded Panarin as an individual and function model for him and other young gamers.
"I believe 'Bread' knows how much we like him, just how much we look after him, just how much we value what he provides for us,' Strome said. "We long for the very best for him and undoubtedly offer him his time to get things corrected."
Panarin leads the Rangers with 18 points on 5 goals and 13 assists. They next play Wednesday versus Philadelphia.
Coach David Quinn said he and his players spoke about Panarin's absence before practice Monday.
"We're going to help Artemi through this tough time," Quinn said. "You have to continue to unite as a group. It's difficult to conquer losing a gamer like Artemi from a hockey viewpoint, but we've got to find a method to do it."