The folks over at EA Sports should probably should start reconsidering their decision to turn control of their covers over to fans.
Fan voting has determined what athletes would grace the covers of its "NHL" and "Madden" sports franchises in recent years. There have been some hits (Drew Brees, "Madden '11") and some spectacular misses (Peyton Hillis, "Madden '12").
Now the cover of the forthcoming "NHL '14" game will feature one of two baffling choices. Either Martin Brodeur of the New Jersey Devils or Sergei Bobrovsky of the Columbus Blue Jackets will grace the cover (results of fan voting are to be announced later Monday).
Brodeur may have been a good choice for "NHL '94," but his presence in the finals only confirms how obsessed fans with nothing to do but vote on video games can skew an election. The 41-year-old went 13-9-7 this past season and didn't even make the playoffs. He's a sure-fire Hall of Famer but has no place here.
And Bobrovsky is a name not even true hockey fans know of – mention it and you'll get a response along the likes of, "Isn't he that guy who's a Vezina finalist?" He is, indeed, up for the NHL's best goalie honors this season, having posted a 21-11-6 record and 2.00 GAA. but he didn't make the playoffs, either, had barely been a .500 netminder in two prior NHL seasons and plays for a fan base that can barely fill the stadium to 80 percent capacity (the Jackets averaged 14,564 fans per game in 2013, 28th in the NHL). So either the few existing Columbus fans are really Internet-savvy or the Web community is playing a joke on EA Sports.
The same thing nearly happened in "NHL '13," with Nashville's Pekka Rinne making it to the finals in that vote. Sanity eventually won out and Claude Giroux beat him. But these votes, over and over game, amount to little more than practical jokes by Internet trolls who pick a bum candidate and ride him (like voters used to do on "American Idol" before that show, you know, stopped being in any way cool or relevant).
Barry Sanders will be on the "Madden" cover this year, but this is the franchise's 25th anniversary and the bracket was specifically opened up to vintage players, so it's not as much of a surprise. That be beat reigning MVP Adrian Peterson, though, is, and is another testament to how the best/most popular players won't get through if there are not enough voters out there.
No Bills or Sabres players have advanced past the first round for either game any year – not a huge surprise, given Buffalo's relative market size and lack of success in both sports in recent years (Jim Kelly and Stevie Johnson were in the "Madden" bracket this year and Thomas Vanek in the "NHL" bracket).
Tags: Buffalo, Buffalo Sabres, EA, Hockey, Madden, NHL
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