Rangers’ Artemi Panarin situation is frightening

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We have already moved past it, haven’t we, onto the next story in a life replete with endless news cycles and an inexhaustible amount of fodder over which to be outraged and/or titillated?

Except for Artemi Panarin, his wife, Alysa Znarok, and their families living in Russia, that is.

The scandal here is not that Panarin was charged with having assaulted an 18-year-old woman in Latvia in 2011 by an unreliable third party with personal and political axes to grind by the name of Andrei Nazarov.

Rather, it is that those ostensibly specious claims created enough psychological damage to Panarin that the elite winger has been forced off the ice to deal with the repercussions, whether real or imagined.

How sinister is that?

From 4,660 miles away, Panarin has been threatened, even if not physically, as retribution for his opposition to Vladimir Putin’s regime and support for imprisoned opposition leader Alexi Navalny by a former coach hoping to curry favor with hockey decision makers in the Kremlin.

Panarin, the 29-year-old native of Korkino who quickly became an adopted son of New York with the Rangers, has been vilified in his homeland. Surely some of this will stick to a reputation that otherwise has been spotless. Will he feel comfortable returning to Russia over the offseason? Can he return to the life he had known until last weekend, when the story broke?

Artemi Panarin
Artemi Panarin
AP

We certainly don’t quite know, and may never know if personal security is an issue, why Panarin has felt the need to temporarily step away from the season rather than proclaim his innocence, seek the aid and comfort of his teammates, and strut his stuff. But this surely is his right as he tends to the needs of his family.

It is unsettling that unsupported allegations out of Russia could reach across the ocean and force one of the NHL’s elite talents and most likable personalities off the ice and into seclusion. No, it is more than that. It is frightening.

And here’s the kicker: We, and presumably Panarin, do not know what, if anything, might be coming next.


Here’s an interesting one regarding Carey Price, at whom scads of fingers have been pointed in the wake of Claude Julien’s dismissal as coach of the Canadiens.

And that is, of the 29 goaltenders enshrined in the Hockey Hall of Fame, only one never took his team to at least the Stanley Cup finals. And that man would be Roy Worters, who retired in 1937 after a distinguished 12-year career spent with the Pittsburgh Pirates and New York Americans in which he won the Hart in 1929 and the Vezina a year later.

Twenty-five of the 29 inducted netminders have won the Cup, the exceptions, in addition to Worters, being Tony Esposito, who took Chicago to the finals in 1971 (Lemaire!) and 1973; Eddie Giacomin, who went to the finals with the Blueshirts in 1972; and, Chuck Rayner, who took the Rangers to Game 7 of the 1950 finals before going down to Detroit in double overtime.

Price, who at age 33 and with another five years following this one on his contract has recorded 353 victories. Figure, with good health, at least another 125. That would move him into the neighborhood of third-overall Roberto Luongo (489), who is all but certain to become the fifth Hockey Hall of Fame goaltender without a Cup to his credit, but with the 2011 trip to the finals with Vancouver.

So, whither the Hall for Price, who has never gotten beyond the conference finals, and we all know what happened in Game 1 of 2014 with Chris Kreider, don’t we? Price’s résumé is enhanced by his 2014 Olympic gold for Canada, but if he never gets back to the finals, let alone wins the Cup, it will be an interesting call for the selection committee that does its work behind closed doors.


So, OK, we’ve repeatedly drawn attention to the ongoing cap maneuvers that feature bona fide NHL players being sent to the taxi squad on off-days in order for teams to clear cap space.

It is pretty much scandalous that an employee can, in effect, be docked approximately $5,100 per day despite remaining in the same location and doing the exact same job from one day to the next on a technicality, but dems da rules agreed to by all parties.

This led me to thinking, for sure a dangerous exercise in itself. But what would happen if an NHL player, stowed on the taxi squad for cap purposes, suffered an injury during practice? While on IR or LTI, would that player be paid at his NHL or AHL rate?

According to Bill Daly, the deputy commissioner, in an email to The Post: “All taxi squad players are paid AHL salaries.”

As the Go-Go’s once sang, “Well, that’s no surprise.” But if such a misfortune were to befall a player, you could probably expect a challenge from the NHLPA.


Meanwhile, has there ever been a mid-career, parabolic course correction such as the one we are witnessing from pending Hall of Famer Marc-Andre Fleury, who seemed like burnt toast the middle of the last decade?

Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to identify the number(s) on the backs of these reverse jerseys, or is that now simply beside the point?

That alternate jersey worn by the Golden Knights at Lake Tahoe, would anyone know which team was wearing it without having been told in advance?

Or is that beside the point, too?


Finally, why do I always get the impression that when Steve Yzerman speaks up in support of some systemic change to the system — such as postponing the 2021 entry draft — it is rarely to benefit the greater good, but rather to benefit his team?

But that was always the way of the Red Wings in the days of the dynasty for which Yzerman played, yes?

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