Artemi Panarin, Rangers have special plans for his Columbus return

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“I’m pretty excited. It’s not going to be a regular game for me,” Panarin said following Wednesday’s practice. “It’s going to be a different game, I’m going to try to show the best I can.”

  • Panarin at his best would be routine.
  • The 28-year-old Ranger, who plays the game with a twinkle in his eye, leads his team with 12 goals, 21 assists and 33 points.
  • If he has not been at his best in every single one of the club’s 26 contests, he’s been close enough.
  • He is having the best year of a Rangers free-agent signing since Marian Gaborik opened his first season in New York by scoring 19 goals (with 14 assists) in his first 22 games in 2009-10.

“This guy never stops smiling. He enjoys life,” David Quinn said. “If I signed an $81 million contract, I’d enjoy life, too, but that’s not the reason this guy smiles every day.

“He loves hockey, he loves playing hockey, he loves coming to the rink every day, he loves getting better. I think about some of the reactions our players have on the bench during the course of a game when he does something. Literally, guys are elbowing each other, [asking], ‘Did you see that?’

“That’s the player he is and there aren’t a lot of guys who play like that in the league.”

  • Panarin had no issues with the Jackets, or their coach, John Tortorella.
  • He simply dreamed of playing in a major market.
  • He simply dreamed of playing on Broadway.
  • So he rejected a Hail Mary eight-year, $96 million offer from Columbus on the eve of July 1.
  • And he rejected a seven-year offer from the Islanders for what was believed up to $12.5 million per season.

“Every day, I wake up and enjoy,” Panarin said.

  • Now, though, a business trip back home.
  • There will be bread on the line and Bread in the building.
  • No one should be surprised if Panarin produces something special.

“I think it’s an obvious situation where the guys will be talking about it and we’ll have a little fun with it,” said Quinn. “He loves the pressure, he loves the spotlight, and I don’t mean that in an [arrogant] way. He loves the pressure and spotlight of, “I’m going to take my team on my shoulders and help us win a hockey game spotlight.’

“I think this is just another moment for him to do what he’s been doing for us since Day 1.”

Sources & Credits: NY Post, Larry Brooks
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