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giroux wins!


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REDWOOD CITY, Calif. -- Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ: EA) and NHL.com announced today during the live broadcast of the 2012 NHL AwardsTM that Philadelphia Flyers forward Claude Giroux has been selected by fans as the EA SPORTS NHL®13 cover athlete. Giroux beat Nashville Predators goalie Pekka Rinne in the final of the first ever EA SPORTS NHL® Cover Vote campaign by less than a one percent margin, in what was the closest matchup of the entire campaign. NHL 13 will be available on September 11, 2012 in North America and September 14, 2012 in Europe.

"The support fans have given me throughout the campaign has been unbelievable," said Flyers forward Claude Giroux. "I am very excited to be on the cover of NHL 13 and I want to thank everyone who campaigned and voted for me -- especially my teammates, the Flyers organization, and of course all the NHL fans who voted and tweeted."

Between March 29 and June 4, fans cast nearly 26 million votes on NHL.com throughout the campaign, which was sponsored by BlackBerry®. During the finals alone, more than two million votes were cast.

"The level of passion that the fans, players, and NHL teams have displayed throughout the first ever EA SPORTS NHL Cover Vote campaign has been overwhelming," said Dean Richards, General Manager, NHL, EA SPORTS. "The EA SPORTS NHL Franchise has had a rich tradition of outstanding cover athletes and quality games, and we feel privileged to introduce Claude Giroux as the face of NHL 13 as selected by the fans. With Giroux on the cover and our revolutionary new True Performance Skating engine, we feel great about delivering our most innovative title yet with NHL 13."

"The EA SPORTS NHL 13 Cover Vote campaign presented by BlackBerry was a success in every measurable way," said Dave McCarthy, NHL Vice President of Consumer Products Marketing. "From nearly 26 million votes cast, to fan and player engagement across social media platforms, to the validation of NHL.com's standing as the number one destination for hockey fans, the NHL 13 Cover Vote campaign exceeded our expectations."

"Congratulations to Claude on being chosen by the fans as the EA SPORTS NHL 13 cover athlete," said Adam Larry, NHLPA Director of Licensing and Associate Counsel. "We cannot say enough about the amazing job done by all those involved with the EA SPORTS NHL Cover Vote campaign. The terrific support that all 60 participating NHL players received from not only fans and gamers, but also other NHL players, the teams, teammates, friends and Twitter followers, drove the success of the campaign in its first year."

The NHL 13 Cover Vote campaign gave fans the opportunity to select the face of the EA SPORTS NHL® franchise as they were able to vote for their favorite candidate at http://www.nhl.com/covervote. The campaign was embraced by NHL fans, teams and players who utilized social media platforms to campaign. Outstanding examples of team and player engagement during the cover vote final include:

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****, it's the EA jinx.

Didn't Roenick bust his jaw the year he was on one of those game covers? That would probably also be the last year I actually played video games, once my son started whoopin' me consistently it wasn't fun anymore.....

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@sarsippius A list of all NHL cover players for EA sports. Judging from the last few years, Stammer, Towes, Gretz, Kane (before or after the cabbie incident....lol?). Recent winners have been ok, but I do think there is a jinx in another EA sports game....wanna say NFL but not sure.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NHL_%28video_game_series%29#Game_covers

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We had a chance to speak with both Giroux and Rinne for their thoughts on the contest and more.

Q. Does winning the cover garner a ratings bump for your player in NHL 13?

GIROUX: "I don't know my rating, but all I know is four years ago when I came in the league I was playing the Flyers and my player was so bad. He was so weak and slow and couldn't shoot. I was so mad at myself. I think I gotta pick it up here."

Who would you say is the best NHL videogame player in the Flyers' room?

GIROUX: "If we're talking about NHL '91, I think [Jaromir Jagr] would win."

Beating Pekka tonight, does this victory become part of your chirping arsenal next time you play Nashville?

GIROUX: "I'm more worried about scoring on him. I scored one goal against him and hopefully I can score more."

Pekka had the support from the likes of Charlie Sheen, Carrie Underwood and Dierks Bentley. Other than your teammates, did any celebrities get behind you in the vote?

GIROUX: "Yeah, Georges St-Pierre was a guy that Tweeted at me. I've always been a pretty big fan of him so that was pretty special to me."

You and Jaromir Jagr clicked very well this season. It came out last week that he's likely going to test free agency. Have you talked to him to try and convince him to come back to the Flyers?

GIROUX: "Yeah, I talked to him a couple of times. I'm not too sure what's going on. I guess he wants to see free agency. We obviously still want him back. He's a good teammate. Just his passion for the game it's pretty special. He's 40 years old, comes to the rink every day with a smile on his face and he's just happy to be there. It kind of gave us a little wake up call to kind of enjoy it a little bit more."

***

(Here's our chat with Rinne on Wednesday afternoon before Giroux was announced as the winner.)

Who would you say is the best NHL videogame player in the Predators' room?

RINNE: "One of the young guys. Actually, [shea] Weber plays a lot of video games. He'd be a pretty strong candidate."

There hasn't been a goalie by himself on the cover since NHL '97 with John Vanbiesbrouck. Do you believe there's an anti-goalie bias from the people at EA Sports?

RINNE: "I don't know what's going on but hopefully it changes tonight. It's going to be great to see whatever happens tonight up on the stage. Maybe I can get a cover in Finland."

You received some support from of all people Charlie Sheen. Do you think that was the bump that put you into the Final?

RINNE: "Oh for sure. I felt I got a lot of help from Charlie Sheen, Carrie Underwood, Dierks Bentley. There were a few other country [music] people who were supporting me. You need all the help you can get."

Reports came out that Alex Radulov will be heading back to Russia next season. Was the entire situation with hi return to the team then the playoff suspension with him and Andre Kostitsyn a distraction for some guys in the room?

RINNE: "I don't think so. I think us players and the coaching staff handled it really well. It was more out in the media at the time. I thought that it didn't really distract us too much. Obviously it would be easy to blame those guys but that wasn't the case. Alex is a huge talent. There were some mistakes but those were handled the right way and it wasn't a distraction anymore."

Have you reached out to Ryan Suter as far as trying to convince him to re-sign with the Predators?

RINNE: "Yeah, absolutely. He knows what we want him back. He's a huge part of our team. I know that it's him and our organization that have to come to terms to continue in Nashville, but our job to just support and believe they get it figured out."

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