Friday, March 4, 2011

Alex Kovalev Autographed Card

Almost lost in the shuffle of this year's Trade Deadline was the trade that sent Alexei Kovalev from the Ottawa Senators to the Pittsburgh Penguins for a 7th-round draft pick. It could be the most meaningful trade of them all, simply because when he wants to, Kovy can be the best player in the league.

And on a team missing the injured Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, that's precisely what he'll need to be.

Statistically, the Pens are the team he's had the most success with: 44 goals, 51 assists, good for 95 points, all career numbers for him, in 79 games in 2000-01. However, he was even more inspired three seasons ago, when he captained the Montréal Canadiens in the absence of injured Saku Koivu and led the team in scoring, going 35-49-84 in 82 games.

It's also weird how he never got a hat trick while playing for the Habs but did get one in Ottawa, where he scored a lot less total goals.

Look for him to dominate for the Pens down the stretch and impress during the playoffs, where he's at his best. Unless the coach doesn't let him play. But with former teammate Mario Lemieux in the owner's seat, I'm fairly positive Kovalev will be given all the latitude he needs to provide for his team.

This card is from Donruss' 1996-97 Donruss set (card #176) and sees him during his first stint with the New York Rangers, where he won the Stanley Cup in his second season with the club. He signed it for me in black sharpie at a Habs team function, saying he'd rather sign a card of him in a Canadiens uniform, to which I replied ''you look almost as good wearing the Rangers' colours'', which made him smile.

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