Phaneuf EA Sports' cover boy
Herald News Services
Published: Monday, June 09, 2008
Dion Phaneuf got his landmark recognition this week.
No, not the Norris Trophy. The Calgary Flames star defenceman vies for that prestigious bauble Thursday night in Toronto at the National Hockey League's awards party. (Detroit Red Wings ace Nicklas Lidstrom is favoured to edge out Phaneuf and Boston Bruins brute Zdeno Chara, the other short-listed finalist.)
Rather, Phaneuf's big news is of the new-school variety.
He'll be gracing the cover of the EA Sports NHL 2009 video game.
Here are EA Sports' past poster boys -- Eric Lindros (1999), Chris Pronger (2000), Owen Nolan (2001), Mario Lemieux (2002), Jarome Iginla (2003), Dany Heatley (2004), Markus Naslund (2005), Vincent Lecavalier (2006) and Alex Ovechkin (2007).
SI.com did note one, uh, interesting aspect -- "The 'Madden Curse' originally began as an EA Sports curse, notably in its NHL series, after Lindros appeared on the cover of NHL '99."
What is known, however, is that, for defencemen at least, Phaneuf is the (scowling) face of pro hockey's future.
The 23-year-old skated in the 2008 NHL all-star game. He amassed 194 hits -- only five rearguards collected more. He recorded 60 points -- only four rearguards collected more. Sealing his reputation as an agitator extraordinaire, he got nailed with 182 penalty minutes -- no rearguards collected more.
On top of all that, Phaneuf got re-upped in spectacular fashion this past winter, signing a six-year contract extension worth $39 million US.