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Rangers Star Panarin Taking Leave

Carolina Hurricanes center Sebastian Aho, left, of Finland, skates for the puck against New...
Carolina Hurricanes center Sebastian Aho, left, of Finland, skates for the puck against New York Rangers center Ryan Strome (16) during the second period of an NHL hockey game in Raleigh, N.C., Friday, Feb. 21, 2020. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)(WITN)
Published: Feb. 22, 2021 at 5:08 PM EST
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-UNDATED (AP) - New York Rangers star Artemi Panarin is taking a leave of absence after a Russian tabloid printed allegations from a former coach that he attacked an 18-year-old woman in Latvia in 2011. Ex-NHL enforcer Andrei Nazarov is the source for the report after coaching Panarin in the Kontinental Hockey League. Nazarov says he was motivated to speak about it because he disagreed with Panarin’s criticism of the Russian government. Panarin denied the allegations in a statement released by the Rangers. The team said it backed its star player and called the allegations “an intimidation tactic.”