New York Rangers forward Artemi Panarin addressed the media Monday evening after returning to the lineup following a personal leave of absence.
Panarin took the leave of absence on Feb. 22 after Russian tabloid newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda published a story including an allegation from Panarin's former coach, Andrei Nazarov, that he was involved in a physical altercation with an 18-year-old woman in Latvia in 2011. Nazarov alleged that Panarin was detained but was quickly let go by police and did not face any further sanction.
The allegation was not corroborated and Panarin rejected the veracity of the report via a team statement following his leave of absence.
"It's probably not the time to discuss it right now," Panarin told reporters Monday in Russian. "I have nothing to hide. I will address everything after the season, but right now the focus is on the game and not these discussions."
NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly told ESPN's Emily Kaplan on Feb. 22 that the league plans to examine the allegations levied by Komsomolskaya Pravda. The NHL has not commented on the story since.
"Artemi vehemently and unequivocally denies any and all allegations in this fabricated story," the Rangers said in a statement on Feb. 22. "Artemi is obviously shaken and concerned and will take some time away from the team. The Rangers fully support Artemi and will work with him to identify the source of these unfounded allegations."
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