On Thursday, the NHL and Electronic Arts announced the "final four" for the interactive fan voting contest to see who will be on the cover of EA Sports NHL 13 video game.
The "NHL" series is one of the most successful gaming franchises in the industry and to be on the cover is a true honor. This year, four of the NHL's brightest stars are still in the running and Bovada's online sportsbook has compiled a list of odds to go along with the vote.
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Here are the numbers…
Pekka Rinne, Nashville Predators goalie, 2/1
Rinne has been one of the NHL's finest netminders for the last two seasons and has been rewarded with a pair of Vezina Trophy nominations. The lanky Finn has also carried the Predators to back-to-back second round playoff appearances and has shone internationally for Team Finland at various world tournaments. As such, he's a heavy favorite to win the NHL 13 cover - don't underestimate his legions of fans both in Tennessee and abroad.
Claude Giroux, Philadelphia Flyers forward, 9/4
Fun fact about Giroux - even though his Flyers were eliminated in the second round of the playoffs, he's still the NHL's leading postseason scorer. That just underscores how dynamic an offensive presence he is - that, combined with the passionate Philadelphia fans, has made Giroux one of the most popular players in the league. A recent press release from the NHL claimed that Giroux had the highest-selling jersey this past season, so that might be something to consider, given this is a fan-oriented vote.
Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh Penguins forward, 9/4
Malkin has the most stacked resume of all the final four contestants. He's already won the league's scoring title (Art Ross Trophy) and is a pretty heavy favorite to capture the Hart Trophy for NHL MVP. Prior to this, Malkin has stockpiled a number of trophies - including the 2009 Stanley Cup and Conn Smythe for playoffs MVP - so he's got the "star power" one would expect from a cover of this stature.
John Tavares, New York Islanders forward, 7/2
Tavares is the youngest of the group, and the biggest darkhorse. Although he's an immensely gifted player and the Islanders' scoring leader, Tavares hasn't really shone on the league-wide stage. New York has yet to make the playoffs with him in the fold and every spring it seems like he's front and center at the World Hockey Championships, when all everybody wants to see is him in the postseason. For that reason alone, it's hard to imagine he'll advance and capture the NHL 13 cover, though it should be noted that far, far stranger things have happened throughout the balloting process.
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