The Carolina Hurricanes are no longer the reigning Stanley Cup champions--the Anaheim Ducks snagged that title last week--but at least the team's star center Eric Staal has a new honor to help fill the Cup-shaped hole in his heart. Electronic Arts today named Staal the cover athlete of the upcoming hockey game NHL 08.
The 23-year-old Staal has played three seasons in the NHL, missing one game, scoring 86 goals and more than 200 points, and winning one Stanley Cup championship for the 2005-2006 season. He joins a number of Cup-winning cover boys for EA's hockey series, including Vincent Lecavalier, Joe Sakic, Mario Lemieux, and Peter Forsberg.
While Staal is the first of his family to grace a game's packaging, he might not be the last. Younger brother Jordan Staal just completed his first year with the Pittsburgh Penguins, led the league in shooting percentage (22.1 percent) and shorthanded goals (7), and is a finalist for the 2007 Calder Trophy, which goes to the most outstanding rookie. Then there's Eric's other younger brothers Marc and Jared, a pair of highly drafted prospects who have yet to make their NHL debuts.
Electronic Arts' NHL 08 is set for release on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 2, and PC this fall.