Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa Bay Lightning's Steven Stamkos picked as cover boy for EA Sports' NHL 12 video game

The Lightning’s Steven Stamkos shows off his image on the cover of EA Sports’ NHL 12 video game.

Getty Images

The Lightning’s Steven Stamkos shows off his image on the cover of EA Sports’ NHL 12 video game.

LAS VEGAS — Jinx? What jinx?

As far as Lightning center Steven Stamkos is concerned, the urban legend about players on the cover of EA Sports' NHL video games having disastrous subsequent seasons has long been put to rest.

Look at Chicago's Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, he said. Both had great seasons after being on the cover the past two years.

And how about Tampa Bay's Vinny Lecavalier in 2006, Washington's Alex Ovechkin in '07 and Carolina's Eric Staal in '08, each of whom were stars as cover boys?

"So, I have no worries," Stamkos said, laughing. "I'm just honored to be part of it."

The announcement that Stamkos will grace the 2012 cover was one of the more interesting stories out of Wednesday night's NHL awards show at the Palms Hotel.

It certainly was notable that Tampa Bay wing Marty St. Louis won his second straight Lady Byng Trophy for sportsmanship, something he called "an honor" and general manager Steve Yzerman called "tremendous."

But Stamkos' link to the video game, which brings well-deserved recognition to one of the game's brightest stars and a coincidental dark cloud similar to the one linked to John Madden's EA Sports' NFL game, did prompt some questions.

Stamkos, 21, shrugged them off, saying he is not superstitious in that way. And St. Louis said Stamkos "should not be worried, no, not at all."

Still, Philadelphia's Eric Lindros in 1998-99 sustained a collapsed lung at the end of his cover season. San Jose's Owen Nolan saw his point production fall by 35 in his cover season of 2000-01.

Pittsburgh's Mario Lemieux played only 24 games because of injury in 2001-02. Calgary's Jarome Iginla was down 29 points in 2002-03, and Atlanta's Dany Heatley before his 2003-04 cover season wrapped his car around a pole in a crash that killed his passenger, teammate Dan Snyder.

On the other hand, there are Lecavalier, Ovechkin, Staal, Toews and Kane, who in five of the past six seasons turned the cover into more of a lucky charm. "Hopefully," Stamkos said, "I follow that trend."

That would be good news for Tampa Bay, which needs the unsigned Stamkos to play as he did while scoring 40 goals in his first 54 games last season, not as he did scoring five in his final 28.

Stamkos always has been a gamer. He claims he asked for the EA Sports game every year at Christmas since he was 6 and was "so excited" to buy the first version he was in. He reveled in his version, which hits stores in September, and said he is ready to take on all challengers.

"I played (Wednesday) morning, and I scored a couple of goals when the camera wasn't rolling," he said. "When it was, I think I lost the game. ... My faceoffs weren't very good, so maybe I'll take that as a hint to get better."

"I think he had an outstanding season this year," Yzerman said. "I thought he did an outstanding job in the playoffs. He did a lot of the little things and he continues to evolve as a player."

Enough to overcome any jinx.

Tampa Bay Lightning's Steven Stamkos picked as cover boy for EA Sports' NHL 12 video game 06/22/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, June 22, 2011 11:20pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Ole Miss football coach Hugh Freeze resigns over 'inappropriate conduct'


    OXFORD, Miss. — Mississippi coach Hugh Freeze was at Jackson Country Club on Wednesday night, giving his yearly rah-rah speech about the Rebels overcoming adversity and getting ready for the college football season.

    If Hugh Freeze hadn’t resigned, Ole Miss says it would have fired him for violating his contract’s moral turpitude clause.
  2. Fennelly: With playoff chase in high gear, it's time for Rays to make a move

    The Heater


    Thursday was an off-day for the Rays, who are coming off a solid western swing. I assume there was no rest for the tag-team Rays baseball brain trust of Matt Silverman, Erik Neander and Chaim Bloom, whose job it is to improve this team in advance of the trade deadline. They've done a good job …

    Evan Longoria is glad to see the Rangers coming to town: He’s batting .296 against them with 15 homers and 56 RBIs in 69 career games.
  3. Rays vs. Rangers, 7:10 p.m. Friday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Tonight: vs. Rangers

    7:10, Tropicana Field

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    PORT CHARLOTTE, FL - FEBRUARY 18:  Alex Cobb #53 of the Tampa Bay Rays poses for a portrait during the Tampa Bay Rays photo day on February 18, 2017 at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Floida.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
  4. Good news for Rays on Steven Souza Jr. as MRI shows 'no damage' to hip


    The Rays got good news today on RF Steven Souza Jr., as an MRI showed "no damage" to his left hip.

    Steven Souza Jr. #20 of the Tampa Bay Rays holds his leg after hurting himself trying to steal second base in the first inning against the Oakland Athletics at Oakland Alameda Coliseum on July 19, 2017 in Oakland, California.
  5. Bucs raise prices for single tickets to marquee games


    The Bucs will have single-game tickets for 2017 home games on sale July 28, with a new wrinkle: the best games will cost more for fans.

    Bucs fans cheer Jameis Winston after a victory in their final home game of the 2016 season. Individual tickets for the Bucs' three most coveted home games (against the Patriots, Bears and Giants) will cost more in 2017.