Saturday, January 5, 2013

Alexander Radulov Autographed Team Postcard

Ah, the enigmatic Alexander Radulov! Like fellow Russian Alexei Kovalev, he has all the talent in the world, but has trouble not igniting controversy.

He came to the Québec Remparts of the LHJMQ to get acquainted with the North American style of play (and a higher draft position) while in Juniors, and he posted a 75-point season as a rookie (in 65 games) in 2004-05, but what knocked everything out of the park and led to unbelievable expectations towards him was his sophomore season, where he scored 61 goals and got 91 assist for 152 points in 62 games (an additional 55 points in 23 playoff games and 9 points in 5 Memorial Cup games as the Remparts won it all that year), leading all Canadian Juniors that year.

He even managed to put together a 50-game scoring streak (second of all time to Mario Lemieux's 62) and to have an 11-point night at some point.

In both of his junior seasons, he won silver at the World Juniors with Team Russia.

After two seasons in the Nashville Predators' system (one spent completely in the NHL, one with an 11-game stint in the AHL), he bolted to the KHL to play with the Ufa Salavat Yulaev, where there is no cap on rookie salaries (he was said to earn roughly $5M per year, tax-free, in Russia). But it wasn't all about the money - he stands as the KHL's all-time leading scorer with 254 points in 210 games (it's a low-scoring league).

As an adult, he's represented his country on many occasions, finishing 6th at the 2010 Olympics, but winning two gold World Championship medals (2008 in front of a loving crowd in Québec, and 2009) and a bronze (2007).

He sparked controversy last season by joining the Preds for the final 9 regular-season games (7 points) after his KHL season ended, thus ''fulfilling'' his rookie contract and no longer being under the ''rookie cap'' of roughly $1M; should he feel like playing in the NHL again, he could ask for a salary similar to the one he gets in the KHL, without having actually played 3 seasons in North America.

Not only that, but he did make headlines after partying too hard with Andrei Kostitsyn and missing a curfew in the playoffs, and was suspended by the team for 2 games. He did manage to gather a team-leading 6 points in 8 playoff games in what was widely considered a disappointing turn.

This team-issued postcard was signed in black sharpie to a reputable collector from Québec City, who traded it to me for a few jersey cards. I'm not sure if he got it during Radulov's run with the Remparts or at the WC, but it was at the Colisée after a game, that's for sure - he has quite a few of these.

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