Jonathan Toews: Rumored cover star for EA's NHL '11 game

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toewswithcup.jpgWhile it’s far from official, there are some well-founded rumors that Jonathan Toews will be the cover star for EA Sports’ upcoming NHL ’11 video game. Puck Daddy and various other outlets caught wind of the software giant briefly putting up a page with a mockup of the game cover on its Web site, although it was quickly taken down.

On some level it’s a brilliant choice. After all, Toews won a gold medal, Stanley Cup and Conn Smythe all in the same calendar year (let alone season). Really, if there’s a “player of 2010” so far, there’s little doubt that Captain Serious is the No. 1 choice. Naturally, EA will also benefit from the wild popularity of the Chicago Blackhawks as well.

It’s also a curious decision, though. For one thing, it’s odd that the company chose two different players from the same team in consecutive years (Patrick Kane was on the cover of NHL ’10). That’s kind of like Kobe Bryant being on the cover of NBA Live one year and Shaq following him up, although I’m fairly certain that Toews and Kane don’t despise each other (and neither one will ask for clarification on the flavor of their … nevermind).

Some also point out that Ryan Miller would have been a good choice. He wouldn’t be the first goalie cover star either, as Marty Turco and John Vanbiesbrouck are among the netminders who appeared on the front of hockey video game cases in the past. Miller became close to a household name with his impressive Olympic run for Team USA.

I’m curious as to why Sidney Crosby hasn’t been on a video game cover yet, especially since Alex Ovechkin was the cover star for both major hockey video game titles. Is he too expensive? Do game companies think that he’d be polarizing? Does he hate video games? We need answers to these questions.

One interesting idea for the future: maybe EA should consider going with “localized” cover stars. Maybe at some point EA will try to take advantage of collector culture and come out with “special editions.” Perhaps one star per division or a Canadian/American/European version?

Anyway, allow me to hand out a hasty congratulations to (unofficial) cover star Jonathan Toews. It’s just another in a long line of honors for the young center.

Video: After blowout loss in Dallas, struggling Sharks off to slow start vs. Predators

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Last night, we asked: What is wrong with the San Jose Sharks?

Well, a day later, with the Sharks looking to avoid a sixth straight loss, the struggle continues.

After a blowout loss last night against the Dallas Stars, the Sharks have fallen behind the Nashville Predators by a score of 2-0 after the opening period.

Colton Sissons opened the scoring for Nashville.

It didn’t get any better for the Sharks.

Roman Josi walked right around Brent Burns, hitting the cross bar with his shot. Cody McLeod was right there for the tap-in to increase Nashville’s lead.

Maple Leafs goalie Andersen suffers upper-body injury vs. Sabres

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Anxious times right now for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Facing the Buffalo Sabres and looking to extend their winning streak, Curtis McElhinney took over in net for Toronto to begin the second period.

Adding to the situation was the fact Frederik Andersen, who started the game, was reportedly not on the bench when the teams came back out following the intermission.

And now we know why. The Leafs have announced Andersen suffered an upper-body injury and will not return.

Andersen faced 16 shots in the opening period, making 14 saves.

The Maple Leafs are third in the Atlantic Division with 85 points.

Video: Ovechkin joins elite company with this goal vs. Coyotes

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Barring a miraculous barrage of goals in the final stretch of games, Alex Ovechkin very likely won’t hit the 50-mark this season.

Now 31 years old, there has been talk that this could be the beginning of the decline for Ovechkin.

But on Saturday, he scored the 30th goal of his season, letting that famous Ovechkin shot rip from his favorite spot on the power play.

For Ovechkin, that’s 12 straight seasons with at least 30 goals scored. He has been consistently prolific since joining the league in 2005-06. He’s an elite player, as everyone has known for years, and he once again joined elite company with this latest goal.

Per the Capitals, Ovechkin joins Mike Gartner and Wayne Gretzky — he was good — as the only three players in NHL history to score at least 30 goals in each of their first 12 seasons in the league.

Sharp to undergo hip surgery, expected recovery is 4-5 months

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Patrick Sharp‘s difficult season is now over.

The Dallas Stars announced on Saturday that the 35-year-old forward will undergo hip surgery on Tuesday. The recovery time, according to the club, is between four and five months.

Sharp is in the final year of a five-year contract with a $5.9 million cap hit, per CapFriendly

“We are going to get the surgery done and let him heal. He’s going to train and let’s take a look at him,” said Stars GM Jim Nill, per NHL.com. “We’ve had conversations. If he comes back, he wants it to be Dallas. He thinks he’s a Dallas Star.”

Not only has Sharp dealt with injuries on the ice, but he is dealing with a personal matter off it.

From the Dallas Morning News:

But in battling through two concussions, hip pain, and his dad’s fight with leukemia, Sharp has shown significant fortitude. The Dallas chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers Association nominated Sharp Saturday as its candidate for the Bill Masterton Trophy, given each season to a player who displays the attributes of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.

“It shows what kind of person he is and what kind of hockey player and leader he is,” said Stars captain Jamie Benn. “I think that’s why he’s a winner at every level he’s played at. I think that’s why he’s a great leader for this team and a great guy for a lot of these young guys to look up to.”

Sharp was first sidelined with a concussion in October. He was then placed on injured reserve with another concussion in December.

He has been held to just 48 games, with eight goals — his lowest total since the lockout-shortened season — and 18 points.