Panarin is being smashed in the USA. But a poor playoff performance isn’t entirely his fault
The New York Rangers lost to the Carolina Hurricanes in the second game of the National Hockey League’s second-round playoff series and brought their exit from the Stanley Cup closer. Angry American fans blame Artemy Panarin for all the troubles of the team. But the Russian super-forward became only a hostage to his coach’s system.
Series “Carolina” against the “Rangers” on the basis of two games played can be called a real disappointment. In terms of despondency and longing, this confrontation is at the level of battles, “Calgary” and “Dallas” in the first round of the playoffs. But if from the matches of the “lights” with the “stars” initially did not have to wait for something interesting, then the pair “Carolina” – “Rangers” was full of hopes for sparkling hockey. Instead, after two meetings, we have a two-fold advantage of the “hurricanes” in the account and the issue of one of the finalists of the Eastern Conference is practically resolved.
Two factors speak of this at the same time: the Hurricanes players strictly meet the requirements of one of the best NHL coaches, Rod Brindamore, while the Blueshirts have been overcome by a serious crisis.
One of his victims was Artemy Panarin. Right now, the Russian super-scorer is under a huge wave of very harsh criticism from the North American public. Fans of the “Rangers” do not stand on ceremony and do not hold back at all in the most rude statements about Khlebushka. Comments like “Panarin is the worst player in the current playoffs” are still kind.
In part, Artemy himself gives rise to such assessments. In Game 2 of the series against the Hurricanes, he had no shots on target and had three puck losses. One of them, for example, led to the first goal of the Hurricanes, who once again distinguished themselves with one player less on the court. By goals in the minority, “Carolina” is the best in the NHL and today this title has only been confirmed.
Artemy made another “cut” at his blue line, when he seemed to want to get involved in his usual dribbling, but out of the blue he gave the puck to Martin Nechas, who was not allowed to score by Igor Shesterkin. The Hurricanes’ second goal also came from Panarin’s mistake. Four seconds before the final siren, the Russian made an inaccurate pass from his zone and gave the puck to Sebastian Aho, who hit an empty net. 0 points in the series and only seven points in nine playoff games – it is obvious that the fans will expect slightly different numbers from the highest paid player on the team.
However, Panarin’s poor performance is not entirely his fault. And it’s not even about the possible injury to the hand of a Russian, which is actively written about in North America. “Rangers” in the regular season and in the playoffs appeared as two completely different teams. Responsible for such a transformation should be called Gerard Gallan . The head coach of the Blueshirts changed the system of his team in favor of reliability and accurate hockey.
It is hardly necessary to criticize him for this, because in the playoffs, unlike the regular season, there is no room for error, and it is the maximum concentration and attention to detail that most often lead to final success. Try the Rangers to play crazy hockey against such a skilled team as the Carolinas (and Wayne Gretzky himself considers her the main favorite in the fight for the Stanley Cup), and hockey in New York will be forgotten in an instant until the next season.
The paradox lies in the fact that the Blueshirts played their best in the last five years precisely thanks to a risky but spectacular game. This also applies to Panarin.
But it is Khlebushek who is the backbone player of the Rangers, and the whole team depends on his actions on the court. The creativity is gone, the game is gone. Look at Mika Zibanejad, Chris Kreider, Frank Vatrano… Yes, they are productive, but they don’t have anywhere near the impact that Panarin has on the Rangers game. As a result, the Blueshirts, with such an approach to the playoffs, came to the conclusion that Philip Khitil, Kaapo Kakko and Alexi Lafrenier, whose combination is called the “link of kids”, have to “drag” the team.
Now the Rangers are in a stalemate. That open and bright hockey, that attempts to act strictly and accurately will not give them the necessary advantage over the Hurricanes. But if so, then maybe Artemy Panarin and Co. should at least please their fans with the game that they showed throughout the season? This may not bring the desired result, but the audience will enjoy and cheerfulness. After all, without Panarin’s adventurous overtime shot in Game 7 against Pittsburgh, the Rangers might not have made it to the second round of the playoffs.