Originally posted on Fox Sports Tennessee  |  Last updated 5/29/12
Nashville Predators goalie Pekka Rinne has a 5050 chance to land on the cover of EA Sports NHL13 video game. On Tuesday, the company announced on its Twitter page that Rinne had bested the New York Islanders' John Tavares in the semifinals of an NCAA tournament-style bracket challenge based on fan voting -- NHL13 Cover Vote -- and will face off against Philadelphia's Claude Giroux for the right to be on the cover. The voting, which takes place on NHL.com, will end on June 4. Through the quarterfinal round, 19.5 million votes had been cast. The winner will not be announced until June 20 at the NHL's annual awards ceremony in Las Vegas. For a second year in a row, Rinne also is a finalist for the league's Vezina Trophy, which is given to the NHL's top goaltender, as voted by the general managers, so it's possible he will walk away with two awards that night. To promote the candidacy of the 6-foot-5 Finnish goalie, the Predators have used social media and in the semifinal round they employed creative graphics. One had the heading "Pek Man" and showed an image of Rinne on the game's cover and the Pacman character gobbling up Islanders logos. Another said, "Slicing Through the Competition" and showed Rinne's photo with a cartoon body, halving a watermelon with a sword, along with the logos of some of the teams whose players he faced or had already eliminated (including the New York Rangers, whose goalie Henrik Lundqvist Rinne ousted in the quarterfinals). Rinne also defeated Chicago forward Patrick Sharp during the competition. At about 3 p.m. Central, the Predators also posted on their Facebook page a list of the top five reasons to vote for Rinne (as submitted by Facebook responses) to defeat Giroux, one of the league's highest-scoring forwards. Having Rinne on the cover of a popular game could be a marketing boon for the Predators, who have qualified for the playoffs seven of the last eight seasons and were eliminated by Phoenix in the second round earlier this month. Approximately 750,000 EA Sports NHL games are played on line each day, according to the league, and sales of the game were up 15 percent year over year in North America in 2012 and 30 percent in Europe. If Rinne were to win, he would be the first goalie on the cover since Florida's John Vanbiesbrouck in 1997.
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