Artemi Panarin was the player the Rangers were looking for and needed

<pre><pre>Artemi Panarin was the player the Rangers were looking for and needed


Part of this good place is the life that Panarin makes with his girlfriend Alisa Znarok and her Jack Russell terrier Riziy, which means "redhead" in Russian. In his first months with the Rangers, his Instagram account showed that they were enjoying Manhattan, even though they have now moved to a house in Greenwich, Connecticut, where Riziy playfully poses for photos for his own Instagram account.

"I love dogs," Panarin said with a big grin. "Maybe more than people."

Panarin grew up in Korkino, a coal mining town with about 40,000 inhabitants, about 1,100 miles east of Moscow. He was adopted and raised by his maternal grandparents after his parents divorced as an infant.

His grandfather Vladimir Levin, a former amateur player, supported and motivated the young Artemi. He gave his first ice lessons at the Traktor ice hockey school in Chelyabinsk, about 40 km from Korkino. Panarin eventually played seven seasons in the Continental Hockey League, including a 2015 championship with SKA St. Petersburg.

"There is nothing better than" OK ". I'll just stop here and that's OK. For me," said Znarok about Panarin. "He puts himself under pressure to keep getting better. That makes me proud. "

At the age of 23, Panarin signed with the Chicago Blackhawks, with whom he and Patrick Kane won the Calder Trophy as the best rookie of N.H.L. in 2015/16. won. After two seasons with the Blackhawks and the Blue Jackets, Panarin was an unrestricted free agent last summer and there was a clear option.

"I just sat down for 10 minutes and really thought about it, and my heart told me that New York would be the better place for me," Panarin said after signing a seven-year, $ 81.5 million contract with them in July Rangers had signed. "I dreamed of playing for the Rangers. I like the people here. I feel the energy. "

Panarin is in the spotlight in New York after being overshadowed by Kane and Jonathan Toews in Chicago and not attracting national media attention in Columbus. In the last home games he celebrated with goals and other awards a Rockettes-like high kick,