New York Rangers star winger Artemi Panarin is denying allegations he beat up an 18-year-old woman in Russia in 2011 and is taking a leave of absence from the club, the team announced Monday.

“Artemi vehemently and unequivocally denies any and all allegations in this fabricated story. This is clearly an intimidation tactic being used against him for being outspoken on recent political events," said a statement from the Rangers.