Tuesday, June 12, 2007

"Easy, Breezy, Cover Boy!"

As revealed
out in Canes message board land, 850 The Buzz, and by the Canes' own Mike Sundheim, Eric Staal has been made the cover boy for the 2008 edition of Electronic Arts' NHL series of video/computer games.

Not surprisingly, there are a few crying "Curses!" at this news...
and for semi-good "reason", as featured in Mike Chen's blog:

"The first game to feature just one player on the cover was NHL 97. Previously, the other games just had action shots of several players. This game was coming off of Florida's rat-tastic run to the Cup Final, so naturally, they put the John Vanbiesbrouck on the cover. While the Beezer actually had a pretty good season, his Panthers did not, bowing out in five games to Wayne Gretzky and the New York Rangers. Curse? Probably not, though his stats went way down hill the next season. But one thing to keep in mind -- a few years later, the Beezer he went nuts on a crazy racist tirade to junior players and he had to quit his job and sell his part of the team. More on this later.

The next season was NHL 98 (1997-1998) with Peter Forsberg on the cover. Forsberg actually had a great year that year -- 91 points in 72 games. However, keep in mind that a few years later, his spleen exploded and he missed an entire regular season doing some soul searching/rehabbing in Sweden.

NHL 99 (1998-1999) was the infamous Year of the Cyber Athlete with Cyber-Lindros on the cover (accompanied by Rock You Like A Hurricane on the commercials). In April 99, Lindros had a collapsed lung; the following year, he was riddled with concussions and other injuries.

NHL 2000 (1999-2000), besides being the coolest sounding hockey video game title of all time, had towering defenseman Chris Pronger on the cover. A few seasons later, Pronger missed all but five games with injuries.

NHL 2001 (2000-2001) featured one of my least favorite players Owen Nolan on the cover. Not only did Nolan miss the majority of the 2003-2004 season with a variety of injuries (in addition to the chronic back and groin issues that slowed him down post-EA Sports), he was entangled in a lengthy legal battle with the Maple Leafs.

NHL 2002 (2001-2002) came right after Mario Lemieux's amazing comeback season, so of course, it was natural to put Le Magnifique on the cover. In three of the next four seasons, various ailments -- from back problems to hip problems -- limited him to less than 30 games each. Finally, a heart condition caused him to retire for good. You see where I'm going with this?

NHL 2003 (2002-2003) featured Jarome Iginla after his breakout 52-goal season. Iginla hasn't suffered any devastating injuries yet, though his post-EA Sports total hasn't come close to his 52-goal campaign (he was pretty amazing, though, during the 2004 Stanley Cup Playoffs).

NHL 2004 (2003-2004) had current NHL golden boy Dany Heatley on the cover. Shortly after the games release, Heatley was involved in the horrific car accident that claimed Dan Snyder's life. Heatley came back late in the season after serious knee injuries related to the crash, though the emotional damage caused him to request a trade.

NHL 2005 (2004-2005) was the lockout season. A game was still produced with Markus Naslund on the cover. Like Iginla, Naslund's one post-EA Sports campaign was disappointing to say the least, but at least he hasn't been hit with a freak injury.

NHL 2006 (2005-2006) put defending Stanley Cup Champion/World Cup MVP Vincent Lecavalier on the cover. Lecavalier had a disappointing season, but no crazy injuries to report."

Good news to those who are getting ready to jump on me for posting all of that: My personal take on a good chunk of the above is that a lot of it is *really* a stretch. To me, a "curse" would be solidified by the bad things happening to the cover boys in the season that their respective EA game is supposed to represent, NOT a few seasons later.

Therefore, the only ones who have actually fallen victim to the "curse", according to my rule, are Eric Lindros in 1998-99, Mario Lemieux in 2001-02, and Dany Heatley in 2003-04. And the former two of the three are *really* no shock AND should not be counted as part of the "curse", given their injury track record and all. Making the only truly freakish incident in the history of the "curse" be the infamous and life-theatening auto accident into which Heatley got himself.

So if anything comes out what turns out to be a bit a hogwash for Eric, it will most likely be another mediocre season in point production...something that will not surprise me, unfortunately, given how the Canes' lineup is currently looking at the moment. Of course, the off-season is still young...

Current Music: "Johnny, Let's Dance" - World Heroes 2 Image Album

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,