Former NHL star Alexei Kovalev makes surprise comeback to pro hockey at 43
Now the GM of Swiss club EHC Visp, Kovalev activated himself as an injury replacement
In a moment reminiscent of Roger Dorn in Major League II, former NHL star Alexei Kovalev is activating himself to play while also serving as general manager for EHC Visp, a second-division Swiss pro team.
An injury to forward William Rapuzzi created an opening, so the 43-year-old former NHL all-star is in the lineup for Tuesday's game against EVZ Academy. It is the first time Kovalev will suit up in a pro game since the 2013-14 season, which was also spent with EHC Visp.
And when you're the boss, you know you're going to get top-six minutes. He's slotted on the second line for Tuesday's game:
Und so starten wir ins Spiel gegen die EVZ Academy pic.twitter.com/KnBbjBWUIy— EHC Visp Sport AG (@EHCVisp) October 18, 2016
It is unclear if this will be a season-long comeback or if Kovalev is just hanging out and playing some games while Rapuzzi is out, which is only supposed to be about a week.
In 44 games with EHC Visp three years ago, Kovalev put up 52 points and 17 more in 15 playoff games. And as we saw last year during the Bruins-Canadiens Alumni Game ahead of the 2015 Winter Classic, ol' No. 27 still has some moves. Sometimes you just have to call your own number.
Kovalev's last appearance in the NHL was a brief one as he attempted a comeback with the Florida Panthers in the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season. He appeared in just 14 games and put up five points.
Over the course of his entire NHL career, Kovalev made stops with five different teams, which included two stints with the New York Rangers, a good five-year run and brief 20-game stint later with the Pittsburgh Penguins, five years with the Montreal Canadiens and two seasons with the Ottawa Senators. One of the all-time great stickhandlers in the game, Kovalev had 430 goals and 1,029 points in 1,316 NHL contests.
He also was a key player for the New York Rangers' 1994 Stanley Cup team.
So, uh, welcome back, Kovy?
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