RALEIGH, N.C. – On the road, Wayne Simmonds and Jake Voracek are roommates.
Last night, after arriving at the team hotel here, the two were sitting in their room talking about things that most 20-something guys talk about, when suddenly the conversation shifted.
Suddenly, the two close friends started discussing their newly formed rivalry.
For the next week, Voracek and Simmonds will go head-to-head in the first round of the EA Sports “Cover Vote” to see which NHLer ends up on the front of the NHL14 video game.
Of course, the NHL13 cover boy was Claude Giroux, which makes the odds of a Flyers repeat a little long, but you can never underestimate the determination of the Flyers fan base, who could carry them through all the way to the end.
“Oh, no doubt,” said Voracek. “I saw it last year with Giroux and [Scott] Hartnell with how well they did. I know how great the fans are. We’ll see how this first round goes and then we’ll see if they can help one of us get pretty far.”
Giroux defeated Hartnell in the Final Four (TM) of the voting.
But, back to the conversation in the hotel…
There they sat, talking about having to be off-ice rivals for a week.
“We were talking about it and trying to come up with ways that we could promote ourselves without going too far,” Simmonds said. “We’re such good friends that we almost want to wait to see who wins this round first before we really try to push it hard on Twitter and Facebook, but it should be fun.”
Fans can cast their vote by logging onto NHL.com/CoverVote to select either Simmonds or Voracek. First round voting ends on Sunday, April 28.
The voting process will consist of two preliminary rounds, followed by a 16-player bracket as a field of 60 NHL players is narrowed down to one. The winning player will be unveiled during the Stanley Cup Final in June as the EA SPORTS NHL14 cover athlete.
This year, fans have the opportunity to register their votes by tweeting to custom hashtags on twitter. Voting on Twitter takes place on Thursdays from 12:00 a.m. until 11:59 p.m. Fans can vote for the Flyers by using the designated hashtags #NHL14VORACEK and #NHL14SIMMONDS. Voting on Twitter counts as double votes.
“Really,” asked Simmonds. “I didn’t know that. I’m going to have to push it hard on Twitter then on Thursday.”
Then, he looked around the room to make sure Voracek wasn’t close by.
“Don’t tell Jake, O.K,” he said.
I promise Wayne.
Meanwhile, a few players were asked anonymously as to who should win the first round matchup between teammates.
And although the vote was close, Simmonds had a slight edge in his own locker room.
“Jake’s had a great year and he would deserve it based just on that,” said one teammate. “But Wayne just plays the game with that Philadelphia personality. I think that resonates with the fans just a little more and they’ll probably get behind him just a little bit more than Jake. But, they are both deserving.”
Giroux, ever the diplomatic captain, wouldn’t vote for either one, but offered up some quick advice for both of them.
“Have fun with it,” he said. “That’s all I did last year and it seemed to work.”
Visit the EA SPORTS NHL Facebook page for insider updates and additional content.
To contact Anthony SanFilippo email firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @AnthonySan37