We have some very shocking news to report and unfortunately at this time we have very few details.
According to a shocking report from New York Rangers insider Larry Brooks of the New York Post, forward Artemi Panarin has taken an indefinite leave of absence from the Rangers following serious accusations made against him in a Russia outlet.
The report, which is described by Brooks as a "political hit piece", alleges that Panarin would have been violent towards a young woman going as far back as a decade. The woman, who is described as an "18 year old" by Brooks, was allegedly "beat up" by Panarin back in 2011 according to this hit piece.
I can certainly see why Brooks would consider this to potentially be linked to politics, Artemi Panarin has been a vocal critique of Russian president Vladimir Putin, and recent events in that country have painted a clear picture of how political dissidence is treated in that country. The saga of Russian journalist Alexei Navalny has been well publicized and I genuinely feel bad for Panarin if his situation is one similar to the one currently affecting Navalny.
I believe it is too early to pass judgement either way, but stay tuned for more details on this rather insane development.
This is of course extremely unfortunate timing for the Rangers and quite possibly for Panarin himself if these accusations are proven to be baseless. The star winger was having himself another excellent season with the Rangers having collected 5 goals and 13 assists for a whopping 18 points over just 14 games played. If his season ends up being derailed over false accusations it will be nothing short of tragic, but again we will withhold judgement until we have more details regarding the nature of these very serious accusations.
Update: I am speculating here, but I do find it difficult not to defend Panarin a little here considering the fact that at least Brooks believes the accusations to be politically motivated. Back in January Panarin effectively endorsed the aforementioned Alexei Navalny, and when you consider what has since transferred involving Navalny I would not be surprised if this were indeed politically motivated backlash against Panarin.