BCBS For 2/23: The Artemi Panarin Blog. Every Detail, Quote, Piece of Information & Opinion on the Political Attack & Most Likely False Allegations Against Panarin; Panarin Takes Leave of NYR, 2021 Rangers Season Becoming an Emmy Nominee for “Best Drama”, Rangers Issues Grow; Fat Cats Now Must Show, Larry Brooks, Questions That Need Answers, Russian Reporters; Russians in General, DQ, Kakko & More

During this crazy 2021 NHL season, there is never a slow news day in Rangerstown, USA. At this point, the next breaking news story won’t surprise me.

“I unequivocally, categorically deny all of these false allegations coming out of Russia about Artemi. This is false.” – Paul Theofanous, the agent of Artemi Panarin, around 4:30PM on 2/22/21, in response to the lies allegations made by Andrei Nazarov.

Greetings and salutations everyone and welcome to another blog here on BlueCollarBlueShirts.com. What’s the next story-line for the 2021 New York Rangers, a Rangers season that seems like a front-runner to win the Emmy for “Best Drama”?

Up front here, I turn 39 years old this year. I can’t remember a Rangers season that has had as much off-the-ice drama than this one. And just to think, we aren’t even at the half-way mark of the season yet!

Maybe you older readers can point out a crazier season than this one to me, in regards to off-the-ice drama. Was it the “Trader Phil” era? Was it the 1979-1980 season? Or were it the seasons featuring the Worsley-Watson feud? Heck, the only season that may have produced more craziness than this one were the World War II seasons! And even then, it’s not like any of these previous Ranger seasons ever had to deal with a world-wide pandemic.

If the Tony DeAngelo story hadn’t already quenched your thirst for political drama, on February 22nd, 2021, Artemi Panarin became the latest Rangers subject of a politically-fueled story, a story that like DeAngelo’s, seems rooted in hatred from an adversary. While the two situations are completely different, when you look at the roots of each story, both stories began with each player commenting on politics.

For all the progress we’ve made as a civilization, in 2021, politics remains as hot of an issue as ever, if not more so. After all, previous to these recent seasons, when has a fan of the Rangers ever cared about a player’s politics? I don’t recall Emile Francis being asked about Richard Nixon or Chuck Rayner being asked about Harry Truman. All of this is truly incredible.

Of course, while things are much different in Russia than they are here in the United States; it does feel like “Cancel Culture” will come after anyone and everyone. (In the past, like DeAngelo, some fans have thrown the “r” word, as in “racist”, when talking about Panarin. All of that stuff is ridiculous and made-up by SJW’s, looking for a pat on the back from their fellow limp-wristed peers. I truly believe that some people go out of their way, in order to try to find an -ism or an -ist, when talking about their fellow man. It is ludicrous and irresponsible. And most of the time, it are the people using all the -ism’s and -ist’s, that truly are the guilty party.)

Where these two stories differ, is that regardless of everything that’s ever happened with Tony DeAngelo, he and his family are safe. No one is challenging their freedom. As of this writing, you can’t say the same thing, and with 100% confidence, when talking about Artemi Panarin and his family. This Panarin story is somewhat of an international incident and a story that features negative political overtones. Can’t we just drop the puck and play hockey?

Artemi Panarin, the best player on the Rangers, is now embroiled in a story which many are claiming to be false. Photo Credit: Getty Images

By now, you’ve probably heard about what’s going on with Panarin. If you haven’t, the short of the story is that Panarin has been accused of beating up a woman eleven years ago, while in a Latvian hotel. (Sidebar here: Am I the only one who thinks about Cosmo Kramer, George Costanza and “Seinfeld”, whenever they hear about Latvia? The Latvian Orthodox Church!)

As this blog continues, I’ll share with you all of the links and tweets pertaining to this story. At the end of the day, the purpose of this blog is to recap all the news and facts regarding this story, a story which now has Panarin away from the Rangers for an undetermined and unspecified amount of time. After talking all the news and concrete information, I’ll then interject with some opinion and speculation. I also have a few questions that will need to be answered eventually too.

While there have been many crazy stories that have been previously covered on this site, this story is the toughest to talk about. After all, the genesis of this story starts with Panarin’s opinions on Russian politics, which needless to say, is a topic which I know very little about. Unlike others, I can’t pretend to be an expert about what goes on in Russia.

In the effort of full disclosure here, prior to today, the extent of my knowledge of current Russian politics was that Vladimir Putin is the President of Russia. I was also aware of the fact that Putin has a controversial reputation. When it comes to Russian athletes, whether they be hockey players or UFC fighters; I do know that they are very proud and patriotic people. I’m also aware that some of these athletes also have to “kick-back” to the Russian government, in order to stay on good terms with “Mother Russia”. Lastly, I also knew that Drago cheated against Rocky Balboa but still lost anyway! (And how great was “ROCKY IV”? Sly Stallone ended the “Cold War”!)

When trying to gather and collect all the details of this story; the bulk of information, quotes and allegations are all in Russian. While we can understand the general gist of the story, for us Americans who only understand the English language, there’s only so much “Google Translate” can do. (As mentioned on past blogs, whenever you use “Google Translate”, you don’t get word-for-word translations. In addition, whether it be Russian, Swedish or another language, sometimes there are words that don’t exactly translate in English and vice-versa.)

To understand what happened today, you have to first go back to 2019 and understand the differences of being an American citizen versus being a Russian citizen. And I should preface the following with what I always say whenever a story of a political nature pops up on this site – I hate talking politics on this site and I know that whenever you talk politics, you’re bound to alienate half your audience. In addition, no one cares about my opinions on politics to begin with!

That said, this story is purely political and the topic of politics can not be avoided. Furthermore, if you’re like me, a simple American, I doubt you have strong feelings on Russian politics to begin with. What they do is what they do. My priority is America. USA! USA! USA!

Just under a season and a half into his current contract with the Rangers, Artemi Panarin has already made a case for being the greatest Rangers free agent signing of all-time. Photo Credit: NYR

To start off here, as I attempt to cover this story from every angle and perspective imaginable; you have to understand that Russia is not America. I think you guys know this! In America, and as was evident during the Trump administration, Americans can basically say whatever they want about a politician. Americans have that right. Trump wasn’t going to come to your house or threaten your family if you disagreed with his policies, contrary to what others may lead you to believe. In the same vein, you can say whatever you want about current President Joe Biden, and as long as you’re not making death threats, Biden isn’t going to come to your house or threaten your family either. Of course, there is such a thing as “Cancel Culture”, but that has nothing to do with politicians gunning for citizens.

In Russia, the political climate is much different. If a Russian citizen, especially a high-profile citizen, such as a famous athlete, says something negative about Putin or the government, there is a chance that Putin’s government will target you. In Russia, cancel culture isn’t citizen driven as it is in America – the person behind that wheel is the Russian government.

In addition, while there are many problems and issues with the American media, at the end of the day, it’s a free-press, where different people/corporations comment and report on the news. In Russia, the government controls the media. In other words, for however you felt about Trump or currently feel about Biden, neither man ever controlled the media. In fact “Big Tech” in America has tried to silence politicians, which would never happen in Russia. In other words, the media can control their narrative in America, while in Russia, the government controls the narrative.

With Russian citizens more constricted than their American counterparts, in 2019, Panarin, while playing for the Columbus Blue Jackets, was asked by a Russian reporter about the economic glass ceiling in Putin’s Russia. In that interview, Panarin said:

“I may look like a foreign agent right now, but it’s not like that. I think that the people who hush up the problems are more like foreign agents than those who talk about them. If I think about problems, I am coming from a positive place. I want to change something, to have people live better. I don’t want to see retirees begging.”

Conversely, Alex Ovechkin, the most famous Russian in the NHL today; just like other Russian athletes being paid to ply their trade in America, has publicly shown support for Putin. While Panarin is an evil pariah to some Russians, in Russia, Ovechkin gets a hero’s welcome, from both Russian citizens and the Russian government alike. By making it public that he disagreed with Putin, Panarin somewhat became a target.

And I do want to be clear here and stress my opinion on this – I don’t care how athletes feel on politics. Even as a Rangers fan, I love watching Ovechkin play. As I’ve said numerous times on this site and on social media, Ovechkin is my favorite non-Ranger hockey player of today. I was happy when he won his Stanley Cup and I really enjoyed his celebrations! If Panarin and Ovechkin have different opinions on politics, that’s fine. I just care about the on-ice stuff. I do not care about how they vote, nor will I ever care about how they vote. To expand even further, I do NOT care about their views on Russian politics. Just shoot the puck!

In the time since his 2019 interview, Panarin has continued to express his stance on Russian politics, where he’s been viewed as “anti-Putin”, and not a fan of what’s going on in Russia today.

On January 21st, 2021, Panarin posted the following on Instagram:

Photo Credit: Artemi Panarin

Pictured above is Russian politician Alexei Navalny, an opponent of Putin and someone who wants to knock Putin off his lofty perch. Navalny’s own story is intriguing and with many twists and turns; but for the purpose of this story, all that you really need to know about him is that he’s been very vocal in his hatred of Putin and what is currently going on in Russia.

As a ton of support for Navalny increased, Panarin became one of the few Russian athletes to publicly give his support to Navalny. To some Russians, Panarin’s support of Navalny was then interpreted as a huge slap in the face, and the equivalent of spitting on the Russian flag. Panarin’s ex-coach and former NHLer, in Andrei Nazarov, is one of these people. It is Andrei Nazarov that created this current shit-storm of today.

I guess I should also mention here, that when it comes to politician Alexei Navalny, prior to this Panarin story of today, Navalny was poisoned in August of 2020, before boarding a flight. It has been suggested that Putin’s regime was behind this poisoning. Navalny would then travel to Germany, where upon his arrival, Navalny was medically evaluated and treated. Upon Navalny’s return to Russia, on January 17th, (four days before Panarin’s posting on Instagram and the event which led to that posting) Navalny was arrested on what’s being described as “bogus charges”. It is thought by some people, including political pundits, that Navalny was jailed in an effort to prevent Navalny from running against Putin in the upcoming Russian Presidential election. Seriously, this all sounds like something pulled out of a mini-series on Netflix. And yes – I can’t believe I’m even writing about this either.

And before continuing – politics man. While everyone in the world should have political freedom and the right to express their thoughts; here in 2021, players are finding themselves in trouble for making their political opinions public on social media. To me, that’s what really sucks here. Every Joe Schmo (or Josef Schmotsky in this case) should be able to have an opinion on politics. However, whether it’s the Cancel Culture crowd in America, or in this case the Russian government; once an athlete says something about politics, people go nuts, no matter what they say. (Of course in 99.9% of these cases, it’s usually one side of the aisle that goes crazy about people having political opinions which differ from their own. You can guess who those people are!)

With Panarin previously voicing his displeasure with Putin and using social media to share his support of Navalny just a month ago, Larry Brooks of the New York Post rocked the hockey world on Monday morning, with these tweets:

Completely off-topic here, but worth mentioning? Brooks broke this story in America. That can’t be disputed. However, other news outlets, including members of the NYR media, would later run stories, saying how they were “able to confirm” reports on Panarin. Is it that damn hard to credit the person breaking a story? Brooks had it. His peers didn’t. The end! Photo Credit: Larry Brooks

Side-bar, and just as I said in the blog when I talked about the Tony DeAngelo interview that Brooks conducted – there’s a reason why Brooks is a Hall of Famer and why these other members of the NYR media are not.

In addition, this story was originally first reported in Russia on Saturday night. This is important for two reasons. The first reason is that it gave the Rangers at least a full day to get ahead of this story and decide how to handle it. The second reason is that it allowed Brooks to get an accurate translation, where you’d have to assume, he coordinated his report with the Rangers. (After Brooks released his report, the Rangers had a statement ready to go. As we’ve seen and talked about in the past, Brooks has a favorable relationship with Rangers management and rarely runs big breaking stories without their approval and/or comments.)

After Brooks broke the story on social media, his colleague, in Mollie Walker, who also writes for the New York Post, ran an article with all of the details. You can read her story here, as it was the first full-length story on this topic: https://nypost.com/2021/02/22/artemi-panarin-taking-rangers-leave-of-absence-after-russian-hit-piece/

After Brooks broke the story, and as Walker’s report came out, the Rangers released the following statement:

Photo Credit: NYR

Couple of things here.

The Rangers had this statement ready to go, which tells you they knew this story was coming. Based on the strong wording of the statement, it tells you that they feel that this story and the allegations as a result of this story, are complete bullshit too. After all, in the past, there have been so many times where some athlete gets in trouble and where his team replies with something like, “We are doing our due diligence and investigating this matter. We have no further comment at this time.” In fact, I think the NFL has sent out statements like that about 67789689678967896 times over the last few years and they probably have this statement ready to go, in preparation of their next incident.

Of note, the Rangers also pretty much said the same thing during the Zoom incident with K’Andre Miller, where to this day, we’ve never seen the results of their investigation, nor saw them name the person behind that attack. (And I’m not blaming the Rangers here, because after all, this seemed like a troll attack, where it would be impossible to finger a culprit.)

And it should be mentioned here, for all of the hate and lies made up about Tony DeAngelo three weeks ago; the same people who said that “JD IS LYING” or said “MILLER’S AGENT IS COVERING UP”, were the first people today to applaud the Rangers for “TELLING THE TRUTH!” Funny how that works. Hypocrisy anyone? (Also, if Panarin needs a place to hide right now, maybe he can ask Adam Herman?)

Alas, I digress.

The Rangers are a multi-billion dollar organization. They aren’t going to automatically defend one of their players if something is off. The Rangers wasted no time today in their defense of Panarin and in their denials of these presumed false allegations. This tells me that they know this is all a farce, and in what we hope to be a failed attempt in a political take-down of Panarin. That said, there has been some damage done. After all, Panarin is now taking a leave of absence from the team. I also have to add here, after this story, I wonder if the Rangers are telling Panarin to calm down on social media, as they once did with DeAngelo? Hmm, makes you think!

Ovechkin and Panarin are viewed much differently in Russia. Isn’t it funny how this story came out not only on the 41st anniversary of “The Miracle on Ice”, but after the Rangers beat the Caps for the second straight time this season too? Russian collusion anyone? Can you believe I’m even using the term “Russian Collusion” on a Rangers fan blog? Photo Credit: MSGN

At this time, since I profess to have no clue about Russian politics or what goes on in Russia on a daily basis; I want to share with you some information and opinions from several Russian hockey reporters.

Up first, here is what Aivis Kalniņš said. Kalniņš is a reporter who covers the KHL and other European hockey leagues. In this tweet, Kalniņš reports his findings, after calling the hotel where this incident allegedly took place:

Another Russian reporter, in Igor Eronko, (if you recall from prior blogs on this site, Eronko was the guy who broke the CZAR IGOR to NYR news) said the following:

While there is always a minimal chance that this story is true, from all reports, Nazarov made this story up, in an attempt to gain “Putin Points” with the Russian government. Photo Credit: Getty Images

When it comes to the biggest Russian hockey reporter covering this story, Slava Malamud (who has broken many stories that have been previously covered on this site) went on a tweet-storm on Twitter on Monday.

Here are the highlights:

After this tweet, Malamud went on a rampage on Andrei Nazarov, where Malamud said the following:

Andrei Nazarov, the mentally unstable ex KHL coach/NHL goon is claiming that Artemi Panarin beat up an 18-year-old girl in a Russian bar years ago. He says it set a pattern of evil behavior that has culminated in his anti-Putin statements. The Russian media is running with this.

Nazarov is an extremely dubious character who has become a major Putin shill lately. There is NO DOUBT the story’s coming out is a political hit job. Which doesn’t mean it’s necessarily false. Should not be hard to check out, if police records remain.

Regarding the Panarin situation:

1) It may or may not be true (Lativan police records will tell)
2) There is NO DOUBT Nazarov’s motivation is political
3) Nazarov may or may not be acting on his own accord
4) The likeliest motivation is to remove Panarin from the Olympic team.

No. 2 is a fact. Nazarov implied so himself by inserting the bit about “Panarin’s provocative social media posts” for no apparent reason. No. 4 is speculation.

It would be in character for Putin’s cronies to use Nazarov to eliminate a potentially problematic player, but Nazarov is a notoriously loose cannon not known for being smart, subtle or cautious, and this might be just his way of trying to ingratiate himself to the powerful.

More context. The first outlet that ran with Nazarov’s claims is run by a major Putin supporter who was a big contributor in the last presidential election. Like I said, there is no doubt this is political revenge. Whether or not Panarin actually did it is another question.

On a related note, how insanely f-d up is it that Panarin, who has taken immense risks to criticize Putin, is being discussed in the North American media extensively, while Ovechkin, an avowed Putin ass-kisser, is off-limits, because “we cover sports, not politics”?

Nazarov is a dubious character, with clear political motivation, lots of axes to grind and a long, rich history of making extremely provocative and wild statements designed to make himself look like a great Russian patriot.

FWIW, the way Nazarov’s story reads in original Russian, with all the strange details (one player only drank apple juice??), is absolutely reminiscent of old Soviet propaganda pieces. My opinion strictly, but this is at the very least grossly embellished.

Malamud also added the following, where he claimed that Nazarov is a lying drunk with mental issues:

I stand with Panarin! Photo Credit: NYR

As you can tell, this whole story, which is most likely as true as something off of the keyboard of Adam Herman, comes solely from Andrei Nazarov.

This past Saturday night, the Russian website Sports.Ru ran an interview with Nazarov, where he claims this incident took place at a Radisson Hotel Bar in Riga, Latvia, on December 11th, 2011. According to Nazarov, Panarin “sent an 18-year-old citizen of Latvia to the floor with several powerful blows.” Nazarov, who was then the head coach of Panarin’s HC Dynamo Moscow, says that Panarin escaped all charges after giving a bribe of 40,000 Euro. (Today, 40,000 Euro is worth $48,674.60 in American dollars.)

As of this writing, NOT ONE PERSON, has confirmed Nazarov’s allegations. In fact, there have been many people who have disproved and who have spoken out against Nazarov, as you can see in the tweets I included earlier from the Russian reporters.

When this story first broke, it was heavily implied that Putin and the Russian government supported Nazarov’s claims. However, at around 8PM Monday evening, Larry Brooks updated his story, a story which you can read here: https://nypost.com/2021/02/22/rangers-artemi-panarin-is-paying-the-price-for-speaking-out/

When I first saw this story, I had this thought, but since Brooks said it first, I’ll give him credit. Here’s what I thought originally, but which Brooks said first:

Remember this, too: At the time of the alleged assault, Panarin was regarded as a run of the mill 20-year-old who had been passed over entirely by the NHL during two draft years. He was certainly not a high-profile athlete. As such, there’d have been little reason to engage in bribery and engineer a cover-up.

Just think about it. If this really happened, at the time, Panarin was pretty much a nobody, meaning that there would be no reason for a cover-up to occur. In addition, $48,000 in American money isn’t a big sum, when it comes to “hush-money”.

As Brooks would go on to say in his article, it’s now being thought that Nazarov said this stuff, as a way to damage and hurt Panarin and his reputation. More importantly, it’s being reported that Nazarov has gone “rogue” here, meaning that Putin and the Russian government didn’t “green light” this story. That said, politicians lie all the time. And while I think Brooks is spot-on with his reporting here and has been thorough; like any American citizen, it’s not like Brooks knows the inner-workings of the Russian government. After all, it wouldn’t be the first time the Russian government had lied, and it won’t be the last. That said, other reporters are saying what Brooks is saying here, saying that Nazarov is working alone here, in an attempt to curry favor with Putin.

In other news pertaining to this story, both David Quinn and Ryan Strome talked to the media after Rangers practice on Monday. The Rangers YouTube account got these videos up pretty quickly, which shows you how fast they wanted these quotes out there for public consumption. Here are the interviews, where as you’d expect, both Quinn and Strome spoke highly of Panarin:

#FREEBREADMAN Photo Credit: Getty Images

As of this writing, the above information is what we have for now. At this time I want to talk about everything else and what happens next moving forward.

I need to get this out of my system – had this been Tony DeAngelo here, the support in Rangerstown, USA would be different, if I say so myself! As I write these words, I don’t see one Ranger fan talking about Panarin’s thoughts on politics or disparaging him for having such opinions. It always amuses me how quick some people are to spread false information when it suits them best.

Of note, one of Adam Herman’s co-conspirators said the following today, in regards to this story – “we need patience.” There was no patience on display three weeks ago, in the DeAngelo story, a story which now seems like small peanuts when compared to this one. And let’s not also forget, how Herman’s co-conspirators were very quick to dimiss and talk crap about Larry Brooks, after his interview with DeAngelo. A week later, Brooks out-scooped everyone again. That can’t be denied.

I got a lot of feedback to this story today, as I’m still playing catch-up with my timelines/feeds on social media. One question I kept getting was, “if Panarin is innocent, why is he taking a leave of absence? Isn’t that admitting guilt?”

While I can’t speak for Panarin, nor have any type of access to him, I can give you an educated guess here. Family. After all, look at these tattoos Panarin got in 2019:

These two tattoos are the birth years of Panarin’s grandparents, grandparents who helped raise him and tattoos which are NOT World War II related, despite popular opinion. Photo Credit: Artemi Panarin

It’s public knowledge that Panarin’s grandparents helped raise him. Including in interviews conducted while as a Ranger, Panarin often speaks fondly of his two grandfathers (who the tattoos are for) and his grandmother. Panarin is a huge family man. With relatives, including his grandparents living in Russia, and not knowing if this attack by Nazarov was approved by Putin or not, Panarin has to be living in fear, when concerning the safety of his family.

If I learned anything from that FX television show “The Americans”, (one of my all-time favorite shows, so much so, that the show’s theme music is still my ring tone to this very day) I wouldn’t put anything past the Russian government. Not only does Panarin now have to worry about the safety of his family in Russia, he may also have to worry about his own personal safety too.

While these allegations are most likely false and made-up by someone with an agenda against him, all of this has to be crushing for Panarin. Even if Panarin didn’t take a leave of absence, there’s just no way he’d be 100% focused on the ice. Of course, Panarin with even 10% focus, is better than what we’ve seen out of most Rangers this season. That said, there are bigger things in life than hockey and that includes family.

Again, while I have no inside pipeline to Panarin, nor know what he’s thinking, I’m sure Panarin is trying to make sure that everyone in his family will be okay. After worrying about his family, I’m sure he’s worried about himself too.

I have no clue how the legal system in Russia works. Over time, this could all be proven as 100% false, but I’m not sure how defamation of character and libel suits work in Russia. Furthermore, if you’re Panarin, would you even take a chance of returning to Russia right now? He could be locked up the second he touches Russian soil. His own family could even be locked up for all we know. However, if Brooks is correct, and this wasn’t the brainchild idea of the Russian government; then hopefully we can assume that Panarin and his family will be okay and free to live their lives. (And it’s not like Panarin’s family can escape from Russia right now either, especially his grandparents who are up there in age.)

There are a few other things to question and to consider, such as:

— At this time, there hasn’t been a woman that has come out as a victim of Panarin. There is no claimant or victim of this alleged attack. Will the Russian government or Nazarov produce one?

— If Nazarov is working alone here, will the Russian government punish him for his tall tales?

— When does Panarin come back? How much time is needed here? Will Panarin miss the rest of the season over this?

— How does this effect the salary cap? Could the Rangers get some cap relief here, if they choose to do so? (Daily savings on Panarin would help the team, should they try to be players at the trade deadline.)

— Will Panarin learn English? If Russia’s government is involved here, wouldn’t it behoove Panarin to learn English and apply for American citizenship?

— How does this effect Vitali Kravtsov and his potential future arrival? One thing is for sure – don’t talk politics Kravtsov!

— In the same line of thinking, how does this effect Igor Shestyorkin and other Russian Rangers on the team?

— Will “PUTIN SUCKS” replace the dated “POTVIN SUCKS” chant at M$G?

— Why did Nazarov wait until now to make up this nonsense?

And of course, for as highly as unlikely as this may be – what if this story is true? Just pretend that this story is true. While your opinion on Panarin’s character would change, can you really punish someone for an incident that took place over 11 years ago in another country? In other words, and again, I doubt this story is true, but if it is – is this a fireable offense? Let’s face it, if this story winds up being true, if the Rangers cut Panarin, some other team would claim Panarin the second after he hits the waiver wire. That said, this is a hypothetical. After all, based on the Rangers statement, they are 100% behind Panarin.

We went from Tony DeAngelo having to defend himself from assholes on social media to this. Photo Credit: NY Post

At this point, what’s next? I somewhat half-expect to see Adam Herman and his basement brethren trying to make up a story about how Justin Trudeau wants to lock up Alexis Lafreniere after Lafreniere is accused of trying to get Quebec to secede from Canada.

On a side-bar here, and in something that has nothing to do with any of this, whenever I think of Quebec and French Canada, this clip from “South Park” always comes to mind:

For the Rangers, it’s been one step forward, two steps back all season, both on and off the ice. If this Panarin bombshell wasn’t bad enough, on Monday, after Rangers practice, DQ announced that Kaapo Kakko still isn’t ready to return yet. Neither is Filip Chytil. While Kakko could still potentially return on Wednesday night, for now he’s out of the line-up, with Johnny Brodzinski most likely to get called up and play against the Flyers, in the event that Kakko can’t go. (Julien Gauthier would be the other forward added to this line-up.)

There’s no way to find a silver lining here – the Rangers need Artemi Panarin to win. He’s their best player. He’s not only the straw that stirs the drink, he’s the whole effing glass.

If there was ever any time this season for Mika Zibanejad to find his game, it’s right now. For Chris Kreider, the Casper Kreider stuff needs to stop. He needs to be the same player, night in and night out, as he was in that win over the Capitals on Saturday. For all the talk about team leaders, locker room leaders and all that other leader jargon – it’s time for both Mika and CK20 to earn their money. It’s time to play to the level of expectations that everyone has for them.

The Rangers can’t use Panarin’s absence as an excuse. We all know this sucks. No one wanted this, outside of Nazarov. A fat cat MUST step up, as the team just can’t rely on the defensemen and bottom six forwards every game.

All of this blows. I mean just check out my last blog (I’ll link it below) where I said Panarin put the whole team on his shoulders last game. Everyone wanted to see Panarin/Mika/Lafreniere play together again. Everyone wanted to see Panarin boost this Rangers power-play again. With Panarin out, there is now more pressure on Adam Fox to help the team in the scoring department, especially as the quarterback of this now bread-less power-play.

Let’s hope the Rangers can keep these recent winning ways going, rather than becoming toast without the Breadman.

I feel for Panarin. I really do. It truly looks like that he is the victim of a disgusting political game. And I’ll say this one more time, because I really want to stress this after seeing some of the reaction on social media today – if you support Panarin, you should’ve supported DeAngelo too, especially when everyone was attacking DeAngelo over his political opinions. It can’t be one way or the other. Personally, and as stated 7678678967896896 times on this site, I do NOT care how these players lean politically – just win.

Watching the Rangers this year, and following all the stuff off the ice, it really feels like being in a 15 round heavyweight prize fight. Anytime you think you’ve survived a barrage of punches, another big blow lands. If the Rangers are to overcome all of this, they will have then personified the age-old adage of “rolling with the punches.”

Oh, and because this has been a topic in recent weeks – if the Rangers free fall now, DQ’s job will be safe. One day, DQ will write a book or do interviews about his days with the Rangers, where he will talk about this season as being one of the most unusual seasons of all-time. Really, what’s next? Julien Gauthier is a Canadian spy? Chris Kreider to undergo transgender surgery? Brendan Lemieux retires and joins the UFC? Mika Zibanejad shaves his head like Travis Bickle? Or how about this one – Colin Blackwell wins the Hart Trophy? Hey, you never know!

I also want to make mention here, that Larry Brooks, Mollie Walker, Igor Eronko, Slava Malamud and Aivis Kalnins all did a phenomenal job today. Without them, I wouldn’t have had all of this information to give to you tonight.

And you thought the Rangers buying out Henrik Lundqvist was a huge story! That story now feels like ages ago!

A few plugs before I go home here.

First off, here are my last few blogs in case you missed them. Of course, I feel like I jinxed the Rangers again, because after every big win with off-days following, I say, “I’ll be back next game, unless something truly breaking happens.” I guess I shouldn’t say that anymore this season, as anything and everything can happen to this team this season! Anyway, here are my most recent manifestos:

NYR/WSH 2/20 Review: DQ’s Rangers Storm the Capitals; Pick Up an Impressive Team-Wide Victory, Panarin Back To Hart Form; Fat Cats Show Up Big-Time, Lafreniere Snaps Drought; Mika’s Monkey Now Missing Too, “Fire DQ” Crew Gets a Rest; Kakko-19 Test, Strome & Kreider Click, The Impressive NYR Defense vs Trouba’s Contract, A Nice “W” For CZAR IGOR & More From This Overwhelmingly Positive Blueshirts Effort

NYR/PHI 2/18 Review: “The Killer B’s” Snap Rangers Losing Streak with Win Over The Banged-Up Flyers; Same Problems Plague NYR, Bottom Six & Defense Once Again Show Up; NYR Fat Cats Sans Panarin Make You Want to Throw Up, The Adventures of Ryan Strome, Nolan Ryan, Vally, What This Win Means & Overreactions, Georgiev’s Big Day, Ron Duguay’s “Up in the Blue Seats” Podcast Review; Zac Jones Interview & Much More From a Much Needed NYR Victory

BCBS For 2/18: The New York Rangers “Progress/Regress” Report – Ranking & Profiling Every Ranger From First to Worst; Interesting NYR Stats, Trouba Injury Update, Ranger Line Changes; Breadman/Praying Mantis Back, Comments from David Quinn, NYR Podcasts & More

NYR/NJD 2/16 Review: RAGE! The “Find-A-New-Way-To-Lose” Rangers Do It Again; Get Completely Embarrassed By The Devils with a Pathetic, Inexcusable & Unacceptable Effort and In The Worst Loss of This Season, DQ & His Fat Cats = Broken Records/Okay With Losing; Ruff Night at M$G, “Mental Mika” Continues His “No Score Tour”, Terrible MSG Broadcast, Bottom Six > Top Six; Face-Off Woes, Trouba Hurt; NYR Fans Hurting More, Time to Make a Big Change, Bring Back DeAngelo, “FIRE DQ” Crowd & More

BCBS For 2/15: Tony DeAngelo Breaks His Silence; Correctly Chooses Larry Brooks For His Exclusive Interview, An In-Depth Look At This Entire Interview & Article Including “The Game Within The Game”, DeAngelo Haters & Headline Reading, Brooks Debunks TDA BS, Staal Helps Ex-Partner, “Puff Piece” vs Real News, TDA = Ratings, DeAngelo’s Potential NHL and Perhaps NYR Return & More From The Never-Ending TDA Roller-Coaster

I feel like this graphic has become a rallying war cry for Ranger fans right now. Photo Credit: Maurice P.

“The Blueshirt Underground Show” returned on Monday night, where they also discussed the Panarin story. You can watch their show here:

“The Broadway Hat” podcast also returned on Monday. You can listen to their new episode here:

If you haven’t already, subscribe to this blog for the next update:

I really thought I’d use these Ranger off days to finish my “New York Rangers Rink of Honor” book! Maybe I’ll get some time tomorrow, but with the way this season is going, I doubt it! And as you’d imagine, both Frank Boucher and Lester Patrick are heavily featured in this upcoming book. Photo Credit: HHOF

Rangers vs Flyers on Wednesday night, on NBC. If there’s anything bad about this game not being on the MSG Networks, it’s the fact that we won’t get Sam and Joe talking about Putin. “Oh Joe, Putin Joe, he’s a bastard Joe!” “PUTIN IS NOT FABULOUS SAM!”

Until then, and as always here, thanks for reading and…


Sean McCaffrey


@NYCTHEMIC on Tweeter

Follow the BlueCollarBlueShirts.com Facebook Group by clicking this link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1564026407193056/

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12 thoughts on “BCBS For 2/23: The Artemi Panarin Blog. Every Detail, Quote, Piece of Information & Opinion on the Political Attack & Most Likely False Allegations Against Panarin; Panarin Takes Leave of NYR, 2021 Rangers Season Becoming an Emmy Nominee for “Best Drama”, Rangers Issues Grow; Fat Cats Now Must Show, Larry Brooks, Questions That Need Answers, Russian Reporters; Russians in General, DQ, Kakko & More

  1. Crazy news! I do love your site and it is my new main place for Rangers news.

    I didn’t say anything the first two times, but I now have to. You have to learn the difference between effect and affect. You always use the wrong word. This is the third time. Affect is a verb, effect is a noun. I do love your writing though.

    I grew up hating Russia and communism. I did visit Leningrad way back when. That country sucked. Everybody was poor, there was nothing on the shelves, The only colors I saw were big banners of Lenin. The Rubels I bought on the street were worthless, but much cheaper than the government rate.

    1. Not for nothing, I write these manifestos while drinking a bottle of whisky – give me a break on effect vs affect. (I will take your advice though! I didn’t realize I made this error so often.)

      Your experience of Russia reminds me of a few scenes of “The Americans”. After hearing your stories and from what I’ve seen, I have no interest in ever visiting Russia. I’m just happy that Canada has always treated me well!

      Thanks for reading.

      1. God bless you! Thank you for your hard work.

        I am sipping on Vodka, but I don’t publish anything. Just engineering emails to rich clients.

        Once you have done it a thousand times, it is not that difficult.

        please keep it up.

        1. Hmmmm…. Russian Vodka????

          I’ll keep going until my work schedule gets in the way and/or this becomes like a job. Right now, it’s a hobby which I enjoy.

          1. Nope. Svedka.

            I did have this girl buy me Stolichnaya when I was in Leningrad. We had to wait in two lines. one to take the money, and one right next to it to get the alcohol. I realized then that my 7th-grade Social studies teacher was right. Socialism sucks!

  2. As I understand it Coach Punchnik was very detailed in his accusations against Panarin naming a specific game, time, place, Hotel, bar and claiming other players were on the scene and witnessed all of this so if there is anything to it we will surely hear about it.

    This story sounds like an Adam Herman Pizza…….a politically motivated nothingburger served with 3 anonymous sauces.

    “In Russia, cancel culture isn’t citizen driven as it is in America – the person behind that wheel is the Russian government.”

    Cancel culture is government driven here as well but it is quasi governmental actors using private corporations as an end around to first amendment constraints in order to censor political opposition and content so it is basically government censorship by proxy.

    If Facebook removes content based on the demands of a group like the CFR or Atlantic Council, is that a private corporation excersizing their rights or is it government censorship by proxy?

    Cancel culture is a top down social engineering project in preparation for a global banking and financial collapse.

    Cancel culture is essentially an attack on the middle class who will be cleaned out in such a collapse.

    It is an entrenched elite using the left and an underclass to attack the middle class to paraphrase historian Antony Sutton.

    Cancel culture emanates from the central and investment bankers Foundations, NGO’s and think tanks and works it’s way down through society from those institutions to academia, to politicians and government to media to business to finance to corporations etc

    Cancel culture is an establishment agenda.

    When all of the above institutions in society demonstrably and obviously support your “woke agenda” you are not “attacking the system” or “fighting the patriarchy” you are supporting the system

    The irony is that woke activists are hauling water for notorious billionaires from ponzi finance whose real motivations and agendas they know nothing about.

    They don’t intend on canceling themselves that is for sure.

    Every aspect of cancel culture is by design intended to create divisions and fractures in society because a divided society makes for a very weak opposition.

  3. Like you I do not believe this story. It sounds like a personal agenda against Panarin. If this did happen, why wait 10 years to say anything. The players are here to play hockey, who cares what their political opinions are. This is getting ridiculous and it is showing a precedence that anyone can say what they want and is presumed guilty until proven innocent, pathetic.

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