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.