Originally Published: July 12, 2011, on EGMNOW.com

Lightning Strikes: Stamkos Broke Face in Playoffs, EA Using Better Picture

THE BUZZ: Steven Stamkos is an up and coming superstar, so it makes a lot of sense for him to be NHL 12’s official cover boy. The grit and determination he showed in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals when he literally had his face broken by a puck off a slapshot and then came back in the same game and you can see that this kid is a perfect snapshot of “hockey”.

WHAT WE KNOW: Stamkos is quickly becoming a player to watch for hockey fans. After a slow start to his career, Stamkos exploded in his sophomore and junior campaigns for a combined 96 goals, averaging a goal every 1.7 games. Along with this, he shared the “Rocket” Richard award (most goals in the NHL) with Sidney Crosby in the 2009-2010 campaign, was the third youngest player to have 50+ goals in a season behind Wayne Gretzky and Jimmy Carson, and led his team to a Game 7 in the Eastern Conference Finals this year. Hockey has a new face and it resides in Tampa Bay.

WHAT IT MEANS: The boys from EA Canada, which is located conveniently a stone’s throw from Vancouver, may be holding a grudge in not putting Boston goalie Tim Thomas on the cover. Considering that EA’s big new feature for NHL 12 is being able to hit the goalies and have them fight each other, not putting the one who won the Cup, the Cup MVP, and the Vezina (best goalie in the NHL) on the cover doesn’t make a whole lot of sense otherwise.