Totally called it.
Standing in the non-labelled EA room on the E3 floor, I had a quick discussion with fellow media about the new features of the game and of course who was going to be featured on the cover. He was insisting EA would never tap into Blackhawks line-up twice in a row, but I was positive that Toews was the obvious choice.
EA revealed this morning that the 22-year-old will be the new face of the series, and the first ever from the franchise to be back-to-back from the same team (Last year's title featuring Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane).
The series boasts 22 Sports Game of the Year awards over the past three years and definitely raises the bar once more this year. They've tagged in the Fight Night physics engine for real-time collisions, added broken sticks, a new face-off mechanic (toe swipes, stick smacks), better dekes, and the ability to grow a beard during the playoffs.
There really isn't anyone more deserving either. Toews was third overall in the 2006-07 entry draft, and after just two seasons the guy is considered one of the best centers in the game racking up more than 65 points in each of his first two seasons. He has an Olympic gold with Canada, a Conn Smythe trophy (MVP in the NHL), and a Stanley Cup.
"I am really excited to be on the cover of NHL 11," said Toews. "It's been an amazing year for me and the team, and it's nice to end it by being a part of a game I played growing up."
EA Canada in Burnaby, B.C. is developing the title and will release NHL 11 in North American retail stores this September.
Side note: Ryan Kesler of the Vancouver Canucks will adorn the cover of the rival NHL 2K11 video game.