Last fall, I downloaded the PlayStation Network demo of EA Sports’ NHL 08, and while it was only one period of hockey between the 2006-07 season’s Stanley Cup combatants, the Anaheim Ducks and the Ottawa Senators, I fell in love with the game. I’ve always loved a good hockey game -- from EA’s Genesis classic, NHL 95, to Sony’s old NHL FaceOff series on the PlayStation, all the way through to NHL 2002 from EA on the PS2, which was the last hockey game I bought -- and that demo brought the fun back. Unfortunately, I couldn’t spare the cash for NHL 08 when it came out, but I’ve really been anticipating NHL 09 a lot.
Today, EA revealed that the coverboy for the game will be Dion Phaneuf (that’s DEE-awn fa-NOOF, where the last syllable rhymes with “hoof”), defenseman for the Calgary Flames. Phaneuf has only been playing in the NHL for three seasons, but he’s already established himself as one of the game’s upper-echelon blueliners with two All-Star Game appearances and a nomination for this year’s Norris Trophy, which is awarded to the league’s top defenseman.
However, as a special bonus for Russia and Sweden, the versions of NHL 09 in those countries will feature different NHL stars. Russians will see fellow compatriot Alexander Ovechkin, the young phenom left winger who led the league in goals and points this season with 62 and 112, respectively (he’s only the 19th player in NHL history to reach the 60-goal plateau, and he’s the first to do it since 1996). Ovechkin signed the largest contract in league history with the Washington Capitals this January, a 13-year extension worth $124 million.
Meanwhile, Ottawa Senators right winger Daniel Alfredsson will grace the cover of NHL 09 in Sweden. Alfredsson has been playing in the NHL since 1995, and he has served as the Senators’ captain since 1999. He holds the team’s franchise records for goals (331), assists (516), and points (847). He has also played for Sweden internationally twelve times, including in 2006, when the Swedish national team won the gold medal at the Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy.
You can see five screenshots of Phaneuf in the game in the gallery below, and you can hit up the press release after the jump for more info. NHL 09 will be released on September 9th for the PS3, 360, PS2, and PC.