NHL 13 Cover Vote: Claude Giroux, Scott Hartnell ... or neither?

UNIONDALE, NY - MARCH 15: (L-R) Scott Hartnell #19 and Claude Giroux #28 of the Philadelphia Flyers watch from the bench during the game against the New York Islanders at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on March 15, 2012 in Uniondale, New York. The Flyers defeated the Islanders 3-2. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

EA Sports announced Thursday that they're going Madden-style on NHL 13, allowing fans to vote for the star who will be presented on the cover of this year's game. You can get all the details on the voting system here.

In a nutshell, the first round of the voting pits two players from each NHL team against one another. For the Philadelphia Flyers, it's Claude Giroux vs. Scott Hartnell. So ... who do you vote for?

The clear answer is Claude Giroux. He's the face of the franchise now, one of the most dynamic players in the league and without a doubt the most phenomenal talent on the team. He's MVP material, and I see an Art Ross Trophy in his future -- whether that's this year or at some point in the very near future. Oh, and there's the man crush swing. And the lady crush swing, of course. He's equal opportunity when it comes to making people in orange swoon.

A vote for Scott Hartnell is interesting, though. Can you imagine how pissed the rest of the league would be if Hartnell somehow found his way to the cover? Granted, it's a poll that anybody can vote on, and most of the league can't stand Scott Hartnell, so it's unlikely he makes the cover if he beats Giroux.

As awesome as it'd be to see Hartnell on the cover in theory, I can't imagine him actually getting his face on the cover. Just doesn't seem realistic. That's why a vote for Giroux makes sense. He has crossover appeal. Fans of other teams will root him on. They cannot resist his charm. We can't resist Hartsy's charm ... but, well ... everybody else sorta can.

You can vote for Giroux or Hartnell over at NHL.com.

Here's the real question, though: After this first round of voting, should we really campaign hard for the Flyer who advances? It's a popularity contest, and just about everybody is going to be voting like crazy for their man. It's just a matter of getting out to the polls and rallying the troops. We'll do our part in trying to get our guy on the cover.

But there's always that contingent that believes gracing the cover of a video game is a curse. The Madden Curse is sorta real, but is the NHL curse a real thing? Dany Heatley in 2004 might be the wildest example -- he killed a guy after being on the cover, and was promptly removed from that cover after the accident -- but Eric Lindros in 1999 isn't a bad example either.

On the flip side, though, Patrick Kane was on the NHL 09 cover. We know how that worked out. Jonathan Toews was on the year following, but that was after the Cup so it's sort of tough to gauge. Then, last year, Steven Stamkos graced the cover of NHL 12, and while his team sucks, he's scored about 983 goals this season. So, you know.

I'm not sure there's an NHL video game curse. Evidence can support either case. Is it worth the risk in trying to get our guy on the cover?

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