Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Alexei Emelin Autograph Card

The fifth card I got from my trade with Dave is this beautiful Alexei Emelin card from Panini's 2011-12 Rookie Anthology set (though it uses the Crown Royale design, it is an update/add-on from that set, found in Rookie Anthology, and not the only sub-set from Panini that year to cross-brand):
It shows him wearing the Montréal Canadiens' red (home) jersey and is signed on-card in blue sharpie; the only quip I have is that the font for the numbers makes it look like a self-made printed copy rather than an actual card, but what do I care, as long as it brings me one step further to completing my Habs Numbers Project!

I'm a huge fan of Emelin's (spelled ''Yemelin'' internationally to respect the Russian pronunciation of his name), the Habs' hardest-hitting defenseman who can also contribute on the offensive end, and look forward to watching him play every other night until 2018 and beyond.

He has a wealth of international experience, having played for Russia at the U-18 (gold in 2004) and World Juniors (silver in both 2005 and 2006), as well four World Championships (bronze in 2007, silver in 2010, fourth place in 2011 and gold in 2012) as well as the Sochi Olympics (2014). I believe Russia could have won its quarter-finals game had they just paired him with his Canadiens teammate Andrei Markov for the third period and used its top three lines and four defenders until they tied it.

Those Olympics gave him some confidence back, though, as he was a bit tentative in the early goings of the season after suffering a season-ending injury towards the end of 2012-13, missing the playoffs and virtually taking all of the Habs' physicality on defense with him as the team was eliminated in five easy games by the Ottawa Senators. He's looking like his old self again these days, and that's terrific news.

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