Phaneuf checks NHL 09 cover

Calgary defenseman set to front Electronic Arts' upcoming pucks sim; gamers in Russia and Sweden get native sons Ovechkin and Alfredsson.

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The NHL is undergoing an offensive renaissance of sorts, with a bevy of up-and-coming goal scorers like Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Alexender Ovechkin lighting the lamp like few others in recent memory. But when it came time to name the cover athlete for this year's edition of its long-running hockey sim, Electronic Arts went with a standout defenseman from the new breed of stars.

Phaneuf looks to bury someone in the boards.

EA today named Calgary Flames blue-liner Dion Phaneuf as the worldwide cover star for NHL 09. The publisher chose the 23-year-old two-time All-Star for the packaging to mirror the new defensive focus of the game within. Where NHL 07 and NHL 08 were noted for their incorporation of the "skill stick" mechanic for puck carriers, EA is introducing defensive skill stick mechanics in NHL 09. This year's game will also include an overhaul to bodychecking.

While Phaneuf will appear on most copies of NHL 09, EA also announced a pair of stars to front the game in their own countries. Ottawa Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson will appear on the cover in Sweden, and NHL 07 coverboy Alexander Ovechkin will reprise that role for NHL 09 in his native Russia.

NHL 09 will be released in September for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 2, and PC. For more on the game, check out GameSpot's first preview.

Discussion

69 comments
Pattymac801
Pattymac801

How about putting a goalie on the cover for once, like Brodeur or Luongo

xunhallowed
xunhallowed

If you're a hockey fan, and you don't know Dion Phaneuf or what he does, then you're not a hockey fan. Great choice, EA.

nhlhero89
nhlhero89

phaneuf is amazing so much better than eric staal

CarCrazy709
CarCrazy709

They haven't put a goalie on the cover since '96 with Vanbiesbrouck. How about they show they've actually improved the awful goaltending by putting an all-star netminder like Kiprusoff on the cover?

Knight_Revan
Knight_Revan

ovechkin was in 07 dude.. phaneuf is a really good guy.... dion phaneuf "tatatadada" dion phaneuf "tatatata" hahahaha

acebrawler
acebrawler

cmon!!!!! where a wii version?????ive been watein about 2 years and they give me this????

juanito-24
juanito-24

i think phaneuf is good as long as crosby isn't on the cover he's gay

Goliath_unit
Goliath_unit

i like them choosing a young d-man on the cover. it makes it something a bit new, and reflects what EA is trying tod do. if they were going for young defencemen, there really is no other choice in the league. if they were just picking defencemen in particular, they couldve put lidstrom on, yet he is not as physically great as phaneuf, or pronger, but he already was on the 2000 boxcover.

Ranteal
Ranteal

and in Canada it is *the* sport. __________________________ That says it all right there

BuryMe
BuryMe

Damn it, I wish I could get the Sweedish version. I want my team's captain :cry:

LordReithgar
LordReithgar

uhm a better d-man? At the tender age Dion Phaneuf is, it's a phenomenon to be in the elite of the league, Not many d-man were this strong as early as him and as dominating in his zone. Jay Boowmeester, Jack Johnson and Erik Johnson aren,t comparing to him yet and they are expected to be the elite later on. They picked Dion Phaneuf to pormote high and upcoming players, because the yrepresent teh future. It's why we've seen Eric Staal and Alexander Ovechkin these past few years. My main concern is that every players who gets selected on teh cover of NHL, they have a disapointing year. Hopefully Phaneuf won't suffer of this curse hehe.

EvilStealth64
EvilStealth64

glad to see a defenceman on the cover, because that is what I play, but, i think they could of picked a better defenceman though, maybe a detroit player because they won the cup, or maybe even a goalie (brodeur)

profballplr
profballplr

Wow people need to shut up about hockey's popularity. Who cares if it is not as popular as other American sports? Watch a game or two, or play nhl08 or the 2k series, and you'd realize that hockey is so awesome that all that crap about TV ratings is irrelevant. Anyways, its popularity in America is regionalized and in Canada it is *the* sport. gg

Ranteal
Ranteal

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

mustained13
mustained13

Good call on the cover guy. After Ovechkin's stellar season this past year, I think we can say there's no cover curse. Just a bad coincidence.

mad_tyger
mad_tyger

I'm skipping this just because it's a Flames player on the cover. GO SHARKS!!!!!!

kos1085
kos1085

I havent played a hockey game since the genesis days.

jaredcrazy3232
jaredcrazy3232

YA BABY!!!!!! go Flames go Flames. I will have you know that Calgary is the main producer of AWESOME and THUNDER BABIES, 400 BABIES!

ScottEFresh
ScottEFresh

YAWN!....Don't get me wrong I'm a huge hockey fan but not a huge EA fan. These games have been MEDIOCRE at best lately. Let's hope NHL 09 is actually a good game and not worry about who is on the cover.

Guts5
Guts5

"Hulabaloza The Wings have won 4 of the last 11 Stanley Cups, but the last time one of them appeared on the cover was in 1996, and it was a group shot (Yzerman & Scott Stevens...right after the Devils bored them to death in the '95 finals no less). Datsyuk, Lidstrom or Zetterberg? No, they pick someone only Alberta natives will know." That's not true at all. The friends I play with here in Michigan chose him as our 5th choice in create a team. We love the kid and he was the 2nd defensman we chose. He's a great defender. Reghre was the first. We only took Zeterberg by the way, he was underrated but that'll change in 09 for sure. LOL The create a team feature is awesome. We're the Hawian Warriors. LOL

Guts5
Guts5

08 was a great game. I almost didn't get it, because Hockey had lost it's luster to me. That being said it's the best multiplayer sports game I've ever played. Setting up the scoring oppportunities with 3 or 4 friends. We played a whole season and then some. We're still going. You know what they say about people that assume something... Don't assume the game isn't fun to play because it is and it requires a good understanding of offense and defense. Unless of course you play on the lowest difficulty. 08 did have one major flaw that they better fix. WAY WAY too many penalties were called against us and none were ever called on the AI team. That was fixed by turning off penalties for us. Turning em down didn't even work, because that mean the we did get fewer, but the CPU team didn't get ANY. It was more than a 10-1 difference.

turkwhip
turkwhip

Um... therealFrek? Sub-star? Dion is arguably the best defencemen in the league, so please... zip it. For the first time in a while this game is interesting to me. The 'Be a Pro Mode' sounds very interesting. For those that no not what I'm talking about..."will let you strap on the stakes as an up-and-coming hockey player. After creating your player from scratch, you'll sign up with an AHL team (EA naturally has the full AHL license) and begin to find your way through your career as a hot minor-league prospect." Very Interested.

brettak81
brettak81

this is a waste of EAs money. nobody likes hockey.

Jade_Monkey
Jade_Monkey

@therealFrek: Don't hold your breath. I think soon enough our PC version will go the way of Madden and die.

therealFrek
therealFrek

Guess the budget must have dropped for EA NHL. They had to get a sub-star quality player for the cover. Anyways, who really cares anymore, I haven't bought an NHL game in years now. When they actually put some effort into the PC version I'll consider it.

XXMadManVII
XXMadManVII

Give it up for the D-man!!!! bout time defense was overhauled, it has been seriously lacking to date. can't wait to see how they did it, hope it is all they say it is. oh and btw... every real hockey fan knows who thew Flames are...

xXHackettXx
xXHackettXx

Really!?! He's still developing as a player hes no where close to super star status, but hes on the cover?

wilmepe
wilmepe

Who? lol Go Rangers!

metsys_redux
metsys_redux

"with the way hockey is going these days, it really would of benefited everyone if they chose a bigger/recognizable name to help sell the game and sport." dion phaneuf is THE biggest hitter in hockey and one of the best and 3 time nomanee for the norris trophy. maybe you should check up on your hockey news before you start to think that he needs more recognition.

feryl06
feryl06

wow, way to pick a franchise name that everyone will recognize. :P with the way hockey is going these days, it really would of benefited everyone if they chose a bigger/recognizable name to help sell the game and sport.

khaixiii
khaixiii

Yet another year where PC owners will get shafted by EA by not having the full features of the console versions. Or does everyone continue to forget the continuing disappointments? Whatever, it's a business decision in the end. Console game sales generate more revenue than PC game sales, so why waste the money on making the PC version as amazing as the console version? So, who wants to guess at what's being left out this year?

Hulabaloza
Hulabaloza

The Wings have won 4 of the last 11 Stanley Cups, but the last time one of them appeared on the cover was in 1996, and it was a group shot (Yzerman & Scott Stevens...right after the Devils bored them to death in the '95 finals no less). Datsyuk, Lidstrom or Zetterberg? No, they pick someone only Alberta natives will know.

Lum_Yatsura
Lum_Yatsura

Wow. NHL over Madden for PC. I hope they use Madden's time off from PC to return with a boom later, rather than give up.

ThisIsntLeonard
ThisIsntLeonard

EA can make some really good sports games. They just need competition to do so. The NBA and NHL genres are the closest fought sports in the videogame industry. Which is why both genres have extraordinary games. Madden doesn't have competition, and neither does MLB2K (on all systems but Sony), so neither have to put much effort, whereas NBA Live and NHL 09 have to be worked on year after year to become the superior game. So far, EA's NHL is winning, while NBA2K has taken the other side, seeing as NBA2k8 was one of the best sports games I've seen in a long time.

Nifty_Shark
Nifty_Shark

Not one of my favorite players but hey the cover is not what matters anyway.

mitchconlin
mitchconlin

its actually sweet they are improving hitting..... honestly how sick am i of 454354534 hip checks a game

daabulls23
daabulls23

The NHL series proves that EA can make good sports games when they put their mind to it.

BraindeadRacr
BraindeadRacr

Not a suprise, seeing that he's in nine out of ten screenshots.

dieselD017
dieselD017

Im excited to see them overhauling body checking and expanding defensive options

GoldenRamoth
GoldenRamoth

Yay, haven't played an NHL game in a while, so This looks great. I wanna go Pown with my favorite team: The Detroit Red Wings. They even won the Stanley cup this year! Boo-Yah!

snipeshot11
snipeshot11

Kinda figured that, he is in all the screens..

AmazoLK
AmazoLK

Cool, but why someone so random all of the sudden? First it was Staal last year, now Phaneuf? Odd. He's good, but kinda random.

maverick_76
maverick_76

Personally if they want to make a defensive point to the game, is there anyone else to choose over Chelios? The man is a forever young beast!

Ranteal
Ranteal

They should have put Brady,no wait thats football. They should have put Kobe,wait thats basketball.Um....A-rod? Dam! I know!!! Gretzky! Yes, there you go. I mean thats when people cared about the now 6th most popualr sport in America.(1.Football 2.NASCAR 3.Basketball 4.Baseball 5.Extreme Shipping and Receiving 6.Underwater Wine Drinking)Im sorry, 7th most popular.

Scooter540
Scooter540

As long as the game is good,I don't care who graces the cover.I'm just happy to not see Crosby there.

PapaJohn24
PapaJohn24

Hasek should be on the cover, like they did with Favre and Madden.

Chargeagles1
Chargeagles1

Acegamer89 Sydney is not the capital of Australia. The capital is Canberra.