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From Russia with Inscriptions: The Unique Story of Two Cards from 2010-11 Dominion

December 28, 2011

In this age of omnipresent technology and immediate communication, where our next exchange is merely a text, Tweet, Facebook post or instant message away, never underestimate the barrier-breaking, international language of Panini America trading cards.

More specifically, two cards from 2010-11 Dominion Hockey that were intended to be autographed by Russian superstars Alex Ovechkin, Pavel Datsyuk, Ilya Kovalchuk and Evgeni Malkin. Ovechkin got the cards first and returned them signed, but it’s what happened afterward that really spoke to us. And thanks to some translation help from Gary Greenstin, Datsyuk’s agent, we have the rest of the story.

After Ovechkin returned the cards to Panini America, NHL acquisitions specialist Alex Carbajal sent the cards to Malkin. He signed his allotment but also took the liberty of inscribing a few personal notes (in Russian, no less), to Datsyuk and Kovalchuk.

His message to Datsyuk: “How are you?”

His message to Kovalchuk: “Smile”

Undaunted, Kovalchuk had a one-word retort for his fellow countryman: “Relax!”

How’s that for behind-the-scenes scoop? Our only question now is what to do with these two cards? You got any suggestions?

42 Comments leave one →
  1. Jeff J. permalink
    December 28, 2011 11:25 am

    I figure that a fan-oriented company like Panini would love to give them to a collector like me! 😉

  2. December 28, 2011 11:27 am

    What a great, humerous story. I like seeing athletes with a sense of humor. I say keep the process going to get them signed properly by all parties on the card and give them away as part of a hockey-themed prediction contest for the playoffs!

  3. Lee Patton permalink
    December 28, 2011 11:29 am

    Thats Funny!

  4. Jamey permalink
    December 28, 2011 11:44 am

    It is nice to see athletes having fun…and returning their allotted cards in a timely fashion. Swift return is almost as unusual as the unsolicited quotes!
    Fun chase cards that will make someone’s collection…or bring nice coin should they hit the 2ndry market.

  5. stef permalink
    December 28, 2011 11:52 am

    To: Panini,
    I think an amazing thing to do with these cards is to give them away as redemptions in May at the Toronto Spring Expo. Fans like me would be very stoked to win a one of a kind card like this.

  6. December 28, 2011 12:01 pm

    i am a huge odd ball card collector.please send the cards to me!!!!

  7. ernest lantto permalink
    December 28, 2011 12:01 pm

    give’em away give’em away give’em away now.
    that what should happen.

  8. Matt Gilman permalink
    December 28, 2011 12:17 pm

    Sounds like a giveaway to me…..Who wouldn’t want to own a ovechkin auto??!! Very sweet cards.

  9. frankb permalink
    December 28, 2011 12:33 pm

    You should enter them into a draw and pick my name, thank you very much. To all at Panini America have a safe and happy new year.

  10. Mark K permalink
    December 28, 2011 12:36 pm

    As an avid Kovy collector, you should give the card to me 🙂

  11. james permalink
    December 28, 2011 12:49 pm

    Put them in the 2011/12 Dominio series. They would be fantastic pulls to the 2 lucky people.

  12. December 28, 2011 1:06 pm

    Give them to the Russian President . To promote Panini Hockey cards in Russia .

  13. December 28, 2011 1:12 pm

    Give ’em away…..

  14. Eric K permalink
    December 28, 2011 1:38 pm

    Cool cards and a pretty great story. I think it’s pretty cool when the athlete’s signing cards do something unexpected with them like this. I once received a Leaf Drew Henson rookie baseball card that he had signed Q.B. instead of his name. I thought it was the coolest thing.
    If you don’t know what to do with the cards, perhaps you could give them to some random commenter in this thread.

  15. December 28, 2011 1:42 pm

    I would like that card if you’re taking suggestions?

  16. December 28, 2011 1:44 pm

    I would say hold some form of a raffel on the lancers page so folks who are active collectors and follow the latest Panini info. have a shot at getting a real “rare” collectable with a pretty neat story behind it!

  17. bruce sims permalink
    December 28, 2011 1:44 pm

    Sounds like a knights lance givaway to me!

    Thats a funny moment in card collecting and this just replaced my most memorable moment from panini this year.

  18. December 28, 2011 2:23 pm

    Maybe you could do a when the teams play each other who do we think will win and by how much contest and the winner get the card that’d be preety cool.

  19. Ernest Hebert permalink
    December 28, 2011 3:07 pm

    No need for the added pressure guys in determining what to do with those beauties,there is enough on your plates already,I will be more than glad to help resolve this minor issue just send them here ….lol….all kidding aside they would make for a super contest prize …

  20. nick rader permalink
    December 28, 2011 3:19 pm

    Add them to my collection?

  21. Jamey permalink
    December 28, 2011 4:02 pm

    I say sell them and use the proceeds to put a stop, once and for all, to disease, poverty and world-hunger.
    OR….you could use them as a prize in an upcoming promotion. Which option would have the greater impact upon all mankind?
    This one is a no-brainer; some lucky collector will win one or both of these bad boys!

  22. December 28, 2011 4:44 pm

    Hah, really neat thing for those guys to do. I like the idea of throwing them in as bonus hits for next year’s Dominion.

  23. December 28, 2011 4:55 pm

    Hah cool little story, would have been confusion central at first. Just for something different send them into space next time the Russians send up a mission. Have there been trading cards in space before?

    • Jamey permalink
      December 28, 2011 5:22 pm

      Astronauts have signed cards before, but I’m skeptical that cards have been in space. Astronaut Scott Carpenter smuggled a 1-Wood & Golf Ball onto one of the Apollo missions, does that count?

      • December 29, 2011 4:06 am

        Yeah I was only looking at some Americana signed Astronaut ones on the Bay the other week. I figured as the Russians are the ones sending both Russian and American Astronauts up that it would be pretty cool. It’s never going to happen but the T-Hack wanted ideas 😀

      • December 29, 2011 8:25 am

        And you guys have delivered tons of tremendous ideas. Thanks, as always, for such great participation. I’ll share these ideas with the team to see where they take us.

  24. l. anderson permalink
    December 28, 2011 6:29 pm

    sell them on ebay for $1000 each, then withdraw the cash and hide the money back to your products in form of $50 notes. thank you for considering the idea.

  25. Mark permalink
    December 28, 2011 7:26 pm

    As cool a story this is. Marketing guys. I would love to have one of these beauties,,,, but auction both off and give the proceeds to charity. Lets say Make A Wish Foundation ( something for kids I don’t care what charity). Promote the auction via the web and the news. As a collector since I was about 6 years old I think that would be the right thing to do. A win win for Panini and to a kids charity. Are we not trying to get more kids into the hobby what a better way to say you care. I would bid on one or both.

    • December 28, 2011 8:28 pm

      I like this suggestion the best so far.

      A great opportunity to do something that might reach outside the hobby.

      Cool cards!

  26. December 28, 2011 9:08 pm

    Trading card is something I haven’t done before. I know it’s worth a try. I just don’t know where to begin and who to get in touch with.

    • December 28, 2011 9:13 pm

      I think right here with Panini America is the perfect place to start. What sports or players do you like?

  27. darkwolf permalink
    December 29, 2011 1:57 am

    Sounds like a great promotional item for you. I only ask that you make it accessible to everyone. Not everyone can attend a major card show across the country or afford $400 packs of cards. They would make a great set matted and framed.

    • @HockeyCard_Andy permalink
      December 29, 2011 11:04 am


      very cool card. its reasons like this that I continue to collect and support the hobby the way I do. thanks for sharing!

  28. Brad permalink
    December 29, 2011 1:45 pm

    Auction them off as a fundraiser for the Locomotiv fund that the Russian players were behind earlier this year.

  29. December 29, 2011 2:00 pm

    Brad beat me to it, but put them up on Ebay, get the NHL and IIHF to promote it, all the money goes to the Locomotiv fund. I know at least Kovy would be 100% behind that.

    • Jess permalink
      December 29, 2011 2:41 pm

      I agree, all of these guys would get behind that idea!

  30. December 29, 2011 4:32 pm

    really great story, very intersting. its like kids passing notes in class but using hockey cards thru the mail. i find it really cool that they wrote in their native language. u guys should have a contest for the blog raeders to give them away as a set. if they were in my collection they would instantly become the coolest cards in my collection. for me collecting cards is not just about the value but the cool factor as well.

  31. December 30, 2011 12:31 pm

    need now

  32. deloreanfan81 permalink
    January 2, 2012 10:18 pm

    thats too funny, i’d say random giveaway or even ‘auction’ them for a charity


  1. From Russia with Inscriptions: The Unique Story of Two Cards from 2010-11 Dominion - Blowout Cards Forums

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