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?