Rangers' Artemi Panarin suggests players stay home over escrow payments amid potential return

New York Rangers star has concerns about players’ health and safety if the NHL season resumes amid the coronavirus pandemic

New York Rangers star Artemi Panarin expressed his concerns about players’ health and safety if the NHL season resumes amid the coronavirus pandemic and the finances beyond that.

Panarin released a statement on his Twitter account on Thursday about the “long-term prosperity” of the league, specifically the escrow payments by the players in recent years.

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“Players have protected the owners income with escrow, including throughout this pandemic crisis, even as owners' equity continues to grow exponentially,” Panarin said. "It is time to fix the escrow. We as players cannot report to camp to resume play without already having an agreement in place,” he wrote.

“We are all in this together.”

The NHL and the NHL Players’ Association are still negotiating an extension of the collective bargaining agreement along with the potential return to play amid the pandemic.

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While the current CBA expires in 2022, the players have sought Olympic participation and a cap on escrow payments to compensate for a 50-50 split of hockey-related revenue with owners.

Panarin joined the Rangers last offseason. His 95 points were tied for third in the league, making him a candidate for the MVP award this season.

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The Rangers were in 11th place when the season was suspended in March. Under the league’s restart plan, the team would make the playoffs.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.