The EA Sports NHL 13 cover athlete voting has come down to the semi-finals featuring Claude Giroux, Evgeni Malkin, Pekka Rinne, and John Tavares. EA Sports held a bracket-style voting war starting in late April. Sixteen players started and we are now down to two semi-final matches. Here is how the final four stack up.
Giroux vs Malkin
This is a monster battle in the rivalry that is the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Philadelphia Flyers. Claude Giroux and “Geno” Malkin have been two of the hottest players all year long. You could call this season a “coming-out party” for Giroux as he was the engine that drove the Flyers. Perhaps the best play-maker in the league this year, Giroux finished second in the NHL in assists with 65 as well as third in points with 93. The Flyers young stud was on a terror in the postseason as he totaled 17 points in just ten games before New Jersey knocked Philly out.
Then there is the 6’3, 195 pound Russian with brilliant hands and stellar vision, Evgeni Malkin. Geno, as many Penguin fans call him, led the league in points with 109 and was second in goals with fiddy (50.) Malkin is one of three finalists for the Hart Trophy, given to the leagues most valuable player. (H. Lundqvist and S. Stamkos also nominated) Giroux could be the second Flyer Malkin has knocked off as he beat Scott Hartnell in round two.
Rinne vs Tavares
The undercard features a battle between goaltender and forward. John Tavares, a former number one overall draft pick in 2009, comes into this semi-final with the city of New York behind him. No, Tavares doesn’t play for the New York Rangers, he plays for their little brother, the New York Islanders. Regardless, the kid is coming off a more than solid season with 81 points in a full 82 games played. What is more impressive perhaps is the upset Tavares pulled off to get into the final four as he downed the Detroit Red Wings Pavel Datsyuk.
Pekka Rinne is the lone goaltender left. Rinne put the Nashville Predators on his back this season, and he carried them successfully. Pekka played in a league-high 73 games and won a league-high 43 of them. The Pred’s keeper was undoubtedly an iron-man this season, and also has a chance to take home some hardware. Rinne is a Vezina Trophy nominee, awarded to the leagues best goaltender.
In these contests that feature world-wide voting, its difficult to predict what the masses are going to do. I truely feel that being a member of a big-market squad can help ones bid. As much as I would like to see the winner of the Giroux/Malkin match become to cover athlete, the city of New York may pull Tavares through. Or does being the only goalie left give Pekka Rinne an edge? Who knows what you people are going to do. Im forgoing my prediction and am going to sit back and watch it unfold. To vote, click on the link posted below. The semi-final voting is going on from now till May 28.
Paul Bentley is a contributor to Rant Sports
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