Thornton, Ovechkin score NHL game covers

Face-off of hockey cover athletes announced today; 2K Sports goes with all-star Sharks center, EA selects young Capitals sensation.

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With a few major sports having wrapped up their seasons this week (the Carolina Hurricanes took home the Stanley Cup and the Miami Heat won their first NBA championship), the leagues' foci are now on the upcoming drafts. Selecting the right player is key to each franchise's future, and choosing from the available talent is a long, arduous process.

The same goes for gaming publishers at this time of year, as they announce the cover athletes for their respective sports simulations. Yesterday, Electronic Arts revealed that Houston Rockets all-star Tracy McGrady would front NBA Live 07. But today was hockey day, as both EA and 2K Sports announced the NHL pros that would appear on the cover of their upcoming games.

EA's NHL 07 will see Washington Capitals left-winger Alexander Ovechkin grab his first game cover after just his first year on the NHL ice. The number one pick in the 2004 NHL entry draft, the young Russian wasted no time making his mark, finishing third in the league in points scored and goals scored. He's also a bit of a gunslinger, leading the NHL in shots taken with 425 attempts. At the young age of 20, Ovechkin has already won the Valery Kharlamov Trophy for the NHL's best Russian player.

NHL 07 is being developed by EA Canada in Vancouver and EA Montreal, and has been announced for release on the PC, PlayStation 2, PSP, Xbox 360, and the Xbox. EA has not yet announced a release date for the game.

Facing off against EA and Ovechkin is 2K Sports and veteran all-star center Joe Thornton of the San Jose Sharks, who was announced as the face and spokesperson for NHL 2K7. Thornton was the league leader in overall points, using his keen passing sense to dish out the most assists. Thornton, who was traded from Boston to San Jose in the beginning of the season, helped the Sharks turn around their luck and make a run for the Stanley Cup. Thornton is also one of the front-runners for the Hart Trophy, which is awarded to the league's most valuable player.

NHL 2K7 will be released this fall on the PS2, PlayStation 3, Xbox, and the Xbox 360.

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