Thursday, May 14, 2015

Alexei Kovalev Autograph Card

In a repeat performance, Team Russia will face Team USA in the World Championship semifinal in Prague on Saturday after beating Sweden, which was arguably missing the best goalie in the world (Henrik Lundqvist, whose New York Rangers are still in the NHL playoffs).

It is believed the Russians will have Alex Ovechkin for the game, which will be a boost, and reminds me of when another Russian Alex was viewed as All-World and could have a tremendous impact on games, Alex Kovalev.

Easily the best forward to play for the Montréal Canadiens in the past 25 years whenever he decided to ''turn it on'', ''Kovy'' was named the All-Star Game MVP in front of the home crowd at the Bell Centre as he dominated a game that featured Ovechkin, Evgeni Malkin, Carey Price and the rest of the league's star players.

As I wrote nearly a year ago:
Did he have a tendency to take two or three nights off per week? Short answer: yes. In fact, though, the more honest answer would be this: never in important games, never in the playoffs, never when sporting a letter (be it the captain's 'C' or the alternate's 'A') on his chest, and never in front of an adoring hometown crowd cheering him on. And never when he could take center stage.
If there was a spotlight, he wanted it shined on him, no matter who else was there. The only time it didn't happen was during his rookie season, on a Stanley Cup-winning Rangers team, where Mark Messier stole the show; any other time, even playing alongside Mario Lemieux or Jaromir Jagr, Kovalev looked like the best player on the ice... (exactly) half the time.

Here he is deking and going through a Finnish goalie to score a goal while playing for the Soviet Union (notice the CCCP letters on his jersey, which no longer existed when the card set, Upper Deck's 1995-96 Be A Player collection, from which this is card #S182 - the S stands for ''signed insert version'' - featuring an on-card thin black-sharpied autograph, was released):
The card is part of the set's World Class sub-set, where they could use a player's picture while suiting up for his national team.

No comments:

Post a Comment