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Hockey star denies Russian report

New York Rangers star Artemi Panarin is taking a leave of absence from the team after a Russian tabloid printed allegations from a former coach that he attacked a woman in Latvia almost a decade ago, which he denies.

Andrei Nazarov, a former NHL enforcer who coached Panarin in the Kontinental Hockey League, told Russian tabloid Komsomolskaya Pravda in a story published Saturday that Panarin attacked an 18-year-old Latvian woman in a hotel bar in the Latvian capital of Riga following a game in December 2011.

Nazarov told the tabloid that Panarin knocked the woman to the floor with “several powerful blows.” Nazarov added that he later heard that the Latvian authorities looked into the incident but that no action was taken after “authoritative” locals negotiated with the police not to pursue the case, allegedly after money changed hands.

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