This isn't the 2011-12 NHL scoring title or the 2012 IIHF world championships gold medal, scoring title and MVP. Penguins center Evgeni Malkin already owns those.
It's not the Hart Trophy that goes to the NHL MVP or the Ted Lindsay Award given to the league's top player as voted by fellow players. Malkin is a top contender for those when they are announced next month.
But Malkin also is far along in the running for another honor, and he doesn't have to put on skates or weave through traffic or take a shot to compete. He has reached the semifinals in the voting for the cover of the EA Sports NHL 2013 video game.
Malkin (@Malkin71_) has, at times, tweeted asking for fan support in the voting.
He was one of 16 players chosen to compete in head-to-head matchups. He got more votes than Tampa Bay's Steven Stamkos in the first round and beat Philadelphia's Scott Hartnell in the quarterfinals. If the brackets hold true, Malkin will be pitted against Philadelphia's Claude Giroux in semifinal voting, which runs from 10 a.m. today through Monday. Giroux beat Los Angeles' Anze Kopitar after getting past Montreal's P.K. Subban.
The rules state that players can be reseeded after each round, so facing Giroux is not a lock. The other two quarterfinals didn't close voting until Wednesday night. Those featured Detroit's Pavel Datsyuk against John Tavares of the New York Islanders and, in a matchup of goaltenders, Nashville's Pekka Rinne against Henrik Lundqvist of the New York Rangers.
The two semifinal winners will have a showdown Tuesday through June 4, with the winner announced at the NHL awards activities June 20 in Las Vegas.
First Published May 24, 2012 12:00 AM