Columbus Blue Jackets star forward Artemi Panarin will not play against the Montreal Canadiens Tuesday night. The Blue Jackets say Panarin is out due to illness.
Naturally, some were skeptical of the surprise announcement as sports teams notoriously obfuscate information. Panarin is on the trade block and journalist Frank Seravalli recently reported that Blue Jackets’ GM Jarmo Kekalainen asked teams for their best offers with the trade deadline less than a week away.
During his pregame press conference, Blue Jackets head coach John Tortorella did his best to quell the controversy by getting really real.
“He’s sick. He’s sick as a dog. Yes, he’s very sick. That’s why he’s out,” Tortorella said, according to the Columbus Dispatch’s Brian Hedge. “Today, I was told that he’s sick, not eating. He’s puking… you want me to go into the whole entire (thing) as far as what happened with him, so we can get this speculation done with, as far as that he’s going to be moved? He sh*t his pants, he was puking, he was doing everything, so… enough!”
On January 28, Panarin announced through his agent that he would not negotiate a contract extension until after the season. Panarin has not seemed receptive of remaining in Columbus and is likely to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.
“We have informed the team that we are willing to discuss Artemi’s future after the season,” Panarin’s former agent Dan Milstein said. “Our priority now is to focus on the rest of the season, trying to win a Stanley Cup for the CBJ & their fans.”
Panarin’s teammate, Sergei Bobrovsky, is also an unrestricted free agent this summer. On February 8, Panarin dropped Milstein and hired Bobrovsky’s agent to represent him after the season.
Panarin when he finds out he's been traded mid poop pic.twitter.com/1ehHTUUCwH
— Johan Gärtner (@JohanGartner) February 19, 2019
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