(courtesy of Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
After leaving the NHL for Russia and Switzerland, Alex Kovalev has once again landed back in the eastern conference. Earlier today, the 39-year-old signed a one-year-deal for $1 million with the Florida Panthers after attending their camp on a tryout basis. Kovalev joins a Panthers team that surprised many last season by winning their first ever division crown before being eliminated by the New Jersey Devils in the first round.
Sergei Miledin, January 18th 2013 |
(Photo courtesy of Phillip MacCallum/Getty Images)
First it was Sergei Fedorov, a month later it was Alexander Mogilny, and tonight, well over six years since a Russian-born player reached the 1,000 career point plateau, Ottawa’s Alexei Kovalev joins an elite club. Kovalev scored a power-play goal midway through the first period(at exactly 10:00) to give the Senators the early lead. With the goal, assisted by fellow countryman Sergei Gonchar, Kovalev became the 76th NHL player to have his career points go into quadruple digits.
Kovalev fired a slap shot past Jonathon Quick after Gonchar’s shot bounced off a LA Kings defender for his sixth goal of the year. The shot was powerful enough to break his stick. Kovalev would add an assist on the game winning goal by Jason Spezza to earn the first star of the game. He becomes the second Senators player to eclipse 1,000 points with captain Daniel Alfredsson doing so exactly a month ago.
Sergei Miledin, November 23rd 2010 |
For the first time in our short history we have two comrades of the night as two of Russia’s most seasoned NHL vets had a memorable night up in Ottawa. Prior to face-off, the Senators honored Sergei Gonchar on his 1,000th game in the NHL by presenting him with a plaque, a silver stick, and a portrait. A video was also shown of his career and the various teams he played for including Washington, Boston, and Pittsburgh respectively.
Gonchar becomes just the fifth Russian (and third Sergei) in league history to surpass the plateau joining the likes of Sergei Fedorov, Alexei Zhitnik, Slava Kozlov, Sergei Zubov, and teammate Alex Kovalev. Kovalev will soon surpass Fedorov for most all-time games for a Russian-born NHLer needing just 11 more games. After being criticized in the early going of the season by GM Bryan Murray, Kovalev scored two goals and added an assist en-route to a 5-2 Ottawa win.
Sergei Miledin, October 26th 2010 |