Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Alexei Yashin Jersey Card

Ah, the much-maligned, enigmatic Alexei Yashin.

Most people remember him from the 10-year contract he signed with the New York Islanders which the team still has a year left to pay from his buyout in June 2007, with $2.204M still owed to him despite his having retired from the sport altogether after a 20-point season in the KHL in 2011-12.

But folks forget his final season with the Isles in 2006-07, though marred by a serious knee injury, had him produce 50 points (on 18 goals) in just 58 games, though he was held scoreless in five playoff games.

All told, the 2nd-overall pick of the 1992 draft (behind Roman Hamrlik) played 850 NHL games, scoring 337 goals with 444 assists for 781 points (but just 11-16-27 in 48 playoff games), finishing as the runner-up for the Hart trophy and being named to the Second All-Star Team in 1998-99.

He is the second-leading points producer of his draft year so far, though you could argue Sergei Gonchar's 797 points are worth even more, his being a defenseman and all, but the rest of the class remains hundreds behind them.

Upon retiring, he was named the general manager of Russia's women's national team, and in his first taste of competition in his official role won the bronze medal at the World Championships. They finished sixth at the Sochi Olympics, though, and Yashin could often be seen partaking in the team's practices, taking hard shots at the goalies; he did try his best to provide his team with the best chance and highest level of motivation possible, but perhaps the pressure of winning on home ice proved to be too much for a team that remains - as the rest of the countries partaking in the sport - lagging far behind Canada and the United States.

And so I've been sitting on this card for nearly a decade, from Upper Deck's (always beautiful) 2005-06 Ice collection (card #FF-AY of the Frozen Fabrics sub-set), showing him in the Islanders' blue (away) uniform from the early-to-mid-00s (and a matching swatch of a game-used jersey):
It could very well be my favourite Isles uniform, too. It has enough of the classic 1980s design but with less cheesy colours, and the sideways stripes on the shoulders look great on it, too. Then again, I didn't completely despise their ''fisherman'' uniform, so that could just be me being weird.

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