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NHL star taking leave of absence after Russian media report left him 'shaken and concerned'

February 23, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.

Compression ratio: 66.7%. 1 min read.

MONTREAL, QC - FEBRUARY 27: Look on New York Rangers left wing Artemi Panarin (10) during the New York Rangers versus the Montreal Canadiens game on February 27, 2020, at Bell Centre in Montreal, QC (Photo by David Kirouac/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

New York Rangers forward Artemi Panarin is taking a leave of absence from the NHL team, the Rangers announced Monday.

(CNN)New York Rangers forward Artemi Panarin is taking a leave of absence from the NHL team, the Rangers announced Monday.

The Russian star is "shaken and concerned" following "unfounded allegations" made against him, according to a team statement posted to Twitter.

The statement refers to a report from Russian tabloid newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda in which a former coach of Panarin's alleges that Panarin assaulted a woman in a Latvian bar in 2011.

The Rangers said Panarin, 29, is a target for intimidation due to his political opinions, which have been critical of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

NHL. com reported that the league "said it is supportive of Panarin and the Rangers, and it will continue to monitor the situation. " The site did not quote anybody at the NHL by name.

The NHL has not responded to CNN's request for comment but has retweeted the Rangers' statement.

CNN has reached out to Panarin's agent, Paul Theofanous, for comment.

Panarin has played for three NHL teams -- the Rangers, the Columbus Blue Jackets and the Chicago Blackhawks.

Before playing in the NHL he was a member of Russian teams in the Kontinental Hockey League, which also has teams in Belarus, China, Finland, Kazakhstan and Latvia.

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