Many notable players aren't on the initial list, which disappoints fans' visions of a "Vote for Rory" ballot for snubbed individuals like Sidney Crosby,Alexander Ovechkin, and Teemu Selanne.
While this should be construed as only the popularity contest that it is, this is a great chance to have some fun with the cover vote. Below are some choice battles and who I'm encouraging people to vote for until Evgeni Malkin or Pavel Datsyuk take their rightful place on the cover.
Team: Buffalo Sabres
Players: Tomas Vanek vs. Ryan Miller
Vote: Ryan Miller
Reason: Vanek is having a great season and Ryan Miller is a tin foil hat away from joining Northeast Conference rival Eugene Melnyk in searching for missing ships in the Bermuda Triangle. Plus Miller may not be on the team by next year, so the photo shopped uniform and helmet will be fun.
Team: Boston Bruins
Players: Tyler Seguin vs. Zdeno Chara
Vote: Tyler Seguin
Reason: What, no Jagr? Chara is actually more deserving but giving the edge to Seguin gives the possibility of having a trash cluttered cover as well as mocking Maple Leafs fans once again for the trade involving...wait, your guy wasn't on the cover vote list? Oh that's too bad...
Team: Carolina Hurricanes
Players: Eric Staal vs. Jordan Staal
Vote: Jordan Staal
Reason: It's Eric's team so voting for Jordan is just funny, even if everyone will say it's just the Penguin fans flexing their muscles. In terms of awkwardness, this will be most felt around Thanksgiving or another Staal family gathering. Although, probably less awkward than some other NHL brother battles in the past.
Team: Ottawa Senators
Players: Craig Anderson vs. Milan Michalek
Vote: Craig Anderson
Reason: The goalie who got a reputation for leering at Ice Girls needs to grace the cover without his mask and just staring into the soul of whoever holds the box. Oh yeah, and he's, you know, actually good.
Team: Anaheim Ducks
Players: Matt Belesky vs. Andrew Cogliano
Vote: Doesn't Matter
Reason: On a team with Bobby Ryan, Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, the forever young and amazing Teemu Selanne, and Jonas Hiller (who they should have a box that has a 60's psychedelic cover to commemorate his unfortunate bout with vertigo a few years back) they went with two players that even the Anaheim fans can't pick out of a lineup if they weren't wearing their jerseys.
Team: Chicago Blackhawks
Players: Duncan Kieth vs. Patrick Sharp
Vote: Hockey Face vs. *Swoon* - Your pick
Reason: If you're trying to increase the number of boxes sold amongst females, Patrick Sharp may be the better decision (also see Seguin, Tyler for Boston). And that doesn't count Kieth's recent suggestion that a certain female reporter doesn't know anything about hockey that was generally taken as sexist.
Team: Phoenix Coyotes
Players:Shane Doan vs. Keith Yandle
Vote: Shane Doan
Reason: The biggest awkwardness for this is if the team, finally, relocates in the off-season. Doan, all things aside, is the type of player that should gain serious consideration to be on the cover.
Voting continues until April 28th. So stuff that ballot box like your Montreal hosting an All-Star Game.