2K Sports announced today that Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals, the 2009 Maurice "Rocket" Richard Award winner and Hart Memorial Trophy candidate, will be featured as the cover athlete and spokesman for the next iteration of the popular NHL 2K franchise, NHL 2K10. While leading the National Hockey League (NHL) in goals scored for the second consecutive season, Ovechkin has become one of the most recognizable faces of the NHL in only his fourth season, and will bring his electrifying personality and unmatched passion for the game to NHL 2K10 this year.
"It's a good time to be Ovi!," said Ovechkin, left winger for the Washington Capitals. "It's an incredible honor, and I look forward to working with 2K Sports to make NHL 2K10 the most fun and amazing hockey video game experience ever. I can't wait to put some of my moves in there."
In celebration of the announcement, Ovechkin will be participating in 2K Sports' first-ever outdoor hockey motion capture session tonight in the Roman Plaza at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas from 8:30-11:30pm PT. The open-air rink recalls the September 27, 1991, LA Kings vs. New York Rangers hockey showdown when Wayne Gretzky led the Kings to victory in a similarly unusual and picturesque open-air setting at the famed Las Vegas resort. Joining Ovechkin on the ice will be Vancouver Canucks center and 2009 Selke Trophy finalist, Ryan Kesler, along with play-by-play commentator for the San Jose Sharks, Randy Hahn, who will act as host MC.
Only media will be allowed into the rink area for this private event, as synthetic ice will be laid down to create a special hockey rink and 2K Sports' game producers will put Ovechkin through a number of dynamic drills to capture his signature style data for NHL 2K10.
The 2009 NHL Awards will take place on Thursday in Las Vegas, and Ovechkin is one of three finalists that are being considered for the highly coveted Hart Memorial Trophy, an annual award given to the player judged to be the most valuable to his team. The winner is selected via a poll of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association in all NHL cities held at the end of the regular season. Ovechkin is also a finalist for the Lester B. Pearson Award, which honors the NHL's most outstanding player as selected by the members of the NHL Players' Association. Ovechkin was the winner of both awards last year, and has already received this year's Maurice "Rocket" Richard Award for leading the NHL in goals scored during the regular season.
Ovechkin, also known to fans as "Ovi", was the first overall selection in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft and is one of the most heart-pumping players to watch in the NHL today. After winning the Calder Memorial Trophy for Rookie of the Year in 2005-06, Ovechkin went on to lead the NHL during the 2007-08 season with 65 goals and 112 points to capture the Maurice "Rocket" Richard Award and Art Ross Trophy. That season, he also won the Lester B. Pearson Award and the Hart Memorial Trophy. He is the first player to win all four awards in the same season, and has participated in the NHL All-Star game in 2007, 2008, and 2009. This past season, Ovechkin led the NHL again with 56 goals, winning his second Maurice "Rocket" Richard Award in as many years, joining Jarome Iginla and Pavel Bure as only the third player to win the award twice, and the second player after Bure (2000-2001) to win the award in back-to-back seasons.