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Alexei Kovalev calls it a career

Jul 3, 2014, 12:51 PM EDT

Image (1) kovalevallstar-thumb-250x326-16571.jpg for post 2731

After 19 NHL seasons, over 1,000 points and a Stanley Cup, Alexei Kovalev has announced his retirement from professional hockey.

“I’d have loved to play until I’m 50 but the injuries from the last few seasons don’t let me continue my career,” Kovalev told a Swiss TV station, per IIHF.com. “It’s a hard decision for me but it is what it is. It was my last season.”

The 41-year-old Russian, who last played in the NHL in ’13 with the Florida Panthers, enjoyed a tremendously successful career in North America. He won his first and only Cup in ’94 with the Rangers — after being taken 15th overall at the ’91 draft — and enjoyed his best production while a member of the Penguins organization.

In 2000-01, Kovalev notched career highs of 44 goals and 95 points in Pittsburgh, averaging 77 points per campaign over a five-year span. He also had good stints in Montreal and again in Pittsburgh — playing out the regular season and opening playoff round in ’10-11 — before bouncing around various European leagues over the last year and a half.

One of the most skilled players to lace ‘em up over the last two decades, here’s a video for all you kids out there that don’t know how talented the guy really was.

  1. ntvd7 - Jul 3, 2014 at 1:05 PM

    When he was on top of his game, no one could touch him

    Congrats on a great career

  2. JoeAvg - Jul 3, 2014 at 1:19 PM

    Thanks Alex. One of the best shots I’ve ever seen.

  3. theageofquarrel - Jul 3, 2014 at 1:28 PM

    AK 27 had the sickest wrist shot. He was one of my favorites when he played for the Pens the first time around.
    Enjoy the retirement,you earned it.

  4. alicesrightfootesq - Jul 3, 2014 at 1:33 PM

    One of the most skilled players ever.

  5. iwt5007 - Jul 3, 2014 at 1:37 PM

  6. tuberippin - Jul 3, 2014 at 2:24 PM

    As with a lot of star players, they let the guy’s contract overshadow his actual play. Kovalev didn’t always give 100%, but when he was healthy and giving full effot there were few players that could exceed his abilities on the ice.

  7. timmons94 - Jul 3, 2014 at 2:33 PM

    Had season tickets during the kovalev years.. So so so good.. He was tough too, took a beating nightly.. But was durable. Class act too… So underrated too. Talent wise- top 5-10 last 20 years

  8. steelcity333 - Jul 3, 2014 at 2:34 PM

    One of my favorite players growing up.

  9. phtjoey - Jul 3, 2014 at 2:45 PM

    All talent, no heart. What a waste of talent. Imagine what Gallagher could do with that talent.

    • pj608 - Jul 3, 2014 at 4:13 PM

      He had to of had a heart to play into his 40′s. Let me guess. Federov was all talent no heart too?

  10. rupp246 - Jul 3, 2014 at 2:46 PM

    Thanks for helping us win the cup in 94′ ! Congrats on a great career!

  11. bleedrangerblue - Jul 3, 2014 at 4:09 PM

    Loved Kovalev. Remember the cup run goals in 94. Go Rangers!!

  12. pj608 - Jul 3, 2014 at 4:11 PM

    One of the last few Russians to play the game “in all four corners”. Great career and will be missed.

  13. al25ny - Jul 3, 2014 at 4:47 PM

    Simply the Best

  14. nothanksimdriving123 - Jul 3, 2014 at 5:51 PM

    I wonder how many other guys scored 100+ goals for each of 3 NHL teams. Frank Mahovlich is one. Any others?

    • pj608 - Jul 3, 2014 at 8:53 PM

      I would say Brett Hull or Gretzky? Maybe? not to sure

      • nothanksimdriving123 - Jul 3, 2014 at 10:59 PM

        I’m amused by your guesses, because I thought of both too, and checked. 99 had huge tons of course with the Oilers, smaller tons with the Kings, but only 65 total with Blues and NYR. Hull had just under 100 with both Stars and Wings.
        But I just found another: Mark Recchi. 120 with the Habs, 154 with the Pens and 232 with Flyers, but really, since the Flyers and Pens fans are such a united, cohesive group, that really should only count as 1 team, right?

      • nothanksimdriving123 - Jul 3, 2014 at 11:01 PM

        Oh, and add Dino C to the list.

      • pj608 - Jul 5, 2014 at 4:01 PM

        Thats impressive. As a NJD fan I know for a fact that Kovalchuk was over 100 but he only played for 2 teams in the NHL maybe if you add in his team SKA St. Petersburg that he would also be up there? I am very suprised about Gretzky but that fact that he was on the rangers i guess doesnt suprise me all that much.He was only on the Blues for 1 season…. I knew Hull had to be very close though

      • pj608 - Jul 5, 2014 at 4:05 PM

        Nevermind. Should of checked before hand. Kovalchuk only had 91 goals for NJ and that was counting what he did in the playoffs. So scratch that thought.

  15. stakex - Jul 3, 2014 at 7:31 PM

    Was always a huge Kovalev fan. Very few, if any, players had more raw talent than he did. Sad to see his career come to an end, but he did get a lot out of it.

  16. c9castine - Jul 3, 2014 at 9:29 PM

    One of the most talented players and.wicked snipers ive ever seen olay the game. If you think this guy had no heart your high on your soap box.

    Thanks kovy.

  17. endusersolutions2013 - Jul 4, 2014 at 5:05 AM

    Great vid, great skill. Hmmm, when I played, you could bend stick blades, wood sticks. Had another 4 D. You paid for every stick.

    Hmmm equipment changed. Skill upped.. I’m trying to frame how hugely obsolete I became, real quick.

  18. pj608 - Jul 5, 2014 at 3:56 PM

    Not a Blomfield post… this is an actual video you will enjoy and has something to do with the story here….

  19. jcornella - Jul 6, 2014 at 3:53 PM

    Probably room left on the Russian diving team if he still wants to compete

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