New York Rangers: Panarin seeks historic honor

New York Rangers’ Artemi Panarin aims to break the city’s MVP drought.

Athletes meeting expectations in New York City for their respective sport has always been challenging.

It’s one aspect to earn success in the City that Never Sleeps, but exceeding expectations between the white lines or out on the ice typically inks athletes in the fan-favorite category for eternity.

New York Rangers forward Artemi Panarin clearly never received the memo or paid attention to history lessons on how difficult it is to succeed after signing a lucrative contract in the Big Apple.

Panarin, 28, was nominated by the NHL for the Ted Lindsay Award on Tuesday, after recording 95 points (32g-63a) in his first campaign on Broadway. The honor is awarded “to the most outstanding player in the NHL.”

It’s also safe to say that if the season never ended early that Panarin would have been just the seventh skater in Rangers’ history to crack 100 points in a season.

Not bad for his first rodeo at Madison Square Garden, right?

The Russian native now aims to become the fourth Rangers player to win the Ted Lindsay Award, and the first Broadway Blueshirt to earn the honor since the great Jaromir Jagr shockingly took it home back in 2005-06.

Winning an MVP award for any of the four major sports in New York is a historic feat considering how rare the accomplishment is. Not only would Panarin separate himself from a plethora of notable named athletes who once called the Big Apple home, but also mark the first time since 2007 that a New York athlete won an MVP honor.

While former New York Yankees’ third baseman Alex Rodriguez has been in the headlines often lately, “A-Rod” is the last pro to win an MVP award while donning a jersey for New York (2007).

Unlike Panarin, Rodriguez’s start in the city wasn’t as inspirational and he transformed into one of the most controversial pros to ever wear the iconic pinstripes.

Meanwhile, Panarin is New York’s latest beloved player and his ability to exceed expectations this past season on the big stage might just be enough to record history.

Fans can be sure that the energetic leader hasn’t lost sight of the bigger picture, which is a run at Lord Stanley – starting next month.

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Kyle McKenna

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