Alexei Kovalev will be hitting the ice in a comeback of sorts Tuesday night for Swiss side EHC Visp.
Due to an injury to forward William Rapuzzi, the 43-year-old Kovalev enters the lineup against EVZ Academy on the second line after sitting out the last two seasons. Rapuzzi is expected to miss a week, and there’s no word is Kovalev will continue playing once he returns to the lineup.
Kovalev, who joined Visp as general manager in March, played 44 games for the club during the 2013-14 season and scored 22 goals and recorded 52 points while helping them to the Nationalliga B title. He’s been practicing with the team since the start of the season, keeping up his word that he’d like to continue playing.
Last January, Kovalev talked about wanting to make an NHL comeback after being inspired by Jaromir Jagr’s success with the Florida Panthers. “I’d come back right away. If Jaromir Jagr can do it, so can I,” he said.
Kovalev’s final NHL season with the Panthers didn’t inspire much hope he could reach a Jagr-like level of old man success in the league; but maybe he can find a new hockey life in Europe?
UPDATE: Kovalev had an eventful debut, assisting on a goal and then picking up a checking from behind minor and 10-minute misconduct late in the third period. Visp would lose 2-1 in overtime.
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