Start Voting And Get JT On The Cover of NHL 2013

So the Islanders have made it to the semi-finals. Some probably doubted the team's ability to make it this far, especially when competing with some of the biggest stars in the league. But it comes down to these next few days to see whether or not they will be competing in the final round.

That is, of course, for the cover of EA Sports' NHL 2013. John Tavares so far has eliminated Jordan Eberle in the first round and Pavel Datsyuk in the second round and is currently facing off against Pekka Rinne, the starting goaltender for the Nashville Predators. Rinne might be tough for JT to beat, considering he received more votes than New York Rangers goaltender, Henrik Lundqvist. (Photo courtesy of the Official New York Islanders web-site)

To me, seeing Lundqvist out of the running was a bit surprising. He's arguably one of the best goaltenders in the league and has been outstanding in this years' playoffs; and he's still in the playoffs, two wins away from going to the Stanley Cup Finals whereas Rinne and the Preds were eliminated a while ago. If anything, I think that goes to show that the Predators have a very strong fan base.

But the Isles fan base has been just as strong, and Tavares was very quick to show his appreciation for all that have voted for him.

Per the New York Islanders official web-site:

"I'm flattered that I am moving onto the next round of the EA Sports NHL13 Cover Vote.  I've always said that we have amazing fans on Long Island that support this team.  I appreciate the hours of voting they've put in for me and look forward to seeing what they can do as I'm up next against one of the NHL's great players, Pavel Datsyuk.  Don't count Islander fans out, they'll always end up surprising you."

It would be a nice way for Islanders fans to head into the off-season once the Stanley Cup playoffs are over. There hasn't been much to talk about on the Island since the end of the season, and it doesn't make it any easier to see two of your biggest and most hated rivals still playing at the end of May.

Tavares getting on the cover of a game that was once voted as the best sports game of the year would be a great honor and something that would make Islanders fans feel proud. It might not be an award or a banner raising ceremony, but it would show that Tavares is getting the recognition he deserves after evolving as one of the NHL's most elite talents. This year was a big step in his development, joining the 30 goal club and scoring 81 points, one shy of averaging one point per game. He is a more than worthy candidate of winning this online tournament.

Even other players around the league have been showing their support for JT since the beginning, including former Team Canada teammate P.K. Subban, as well as Steve Stamkos, Patrick Sharp and Jeff Skinner.

If you haven't started voting, now is the time, and you can do it here for as many times as your heart desires.

Wouldn't it be nice to give the Isles some positive recognition on a league-wide basis? With all the talk surrounding the Coliseum, the potential of the team moving after 2015, worrying about who the Islanders will or will not sign as they head into free agency, who wouldn't be able to sit back and smile if the Islanders center piece ended up in every hockey fan's living room? 

-Rob McGowan
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