Discover how Artemi Panarin’s new look symbolizes a fresh start on his quest for playoff redemption. Will the star forward lead the Rangers to victory after a challenging season?
Artemi Panarin strolled out after practice, grinning ear to ear about his freshly shaved head and how he’s becoming a real saver on shampoo bills.
However, behind that humor, there’s a touch of the blues. Last season’s playoffs gave him a case of the hockey hiccups, which stuck with the 31-year-old all Summer.
The breadman said, “There’s no way you can forget it that easily.” It’s like trying to make a slapshot with a spaghetti noodle. He knows the only way to get that grin back is to start scoring some goals.
The star forward was devastated in May after the Rangers fell to the New Jersey Devils in the first round, and he took it hard. He had two points in the seven-game playoff series and none in the last six games.
Artemi Panarin’s Determination to Overcome Playoff Setbacks and Lead the Rangers to Victory:
Instead of taking it easy over the Summer, Panarin sacrificed family time and went all-in on hockey. He had extra workout sessions, put in, and even reviewed every game he played last season to spot his mistakes.
Panarin’s no stranger to hard work. He went from an undrafted, undersized player to a perennial all-star. Now, though, it’s the pressure cooker of playoff expectations that’s cooking his noodles.
“We had a great team,” he said, “and then we lost like that after having a 2-0 lead – especially my performance.”
The Rangers are pinning their hopes on their new head coach, Peter Laviolette, to get Panarin back on track. And Laviolette’s been doing his part to boost Panarin’s spirits.
Before he sat out Tuesday’s practice out of precaution with a lower-body injury, Laviolette said Panarin’s been practicing hard and shaping up nicely. However, he isn’t dwelling on past disappointments. “I haven’t had a playoff run with these guys yet,” the coach said. “There’s a process that any team goes through to get to the playoffs and become a contender and a team that can make some noise.”
Panarin is itching for the season to start. As he put it, “Hockey shows everything.” His haircut symbolizes a fresh start, but the true transformation will be seen during the season.