Kevin Durant and Jonathan Toews will be the cover athletes for their respective EA Sports gamesWhile EA’s NHL franchise is arguably one of the best sport simulations around, and NBA Elite is looking to shine with its rebirth, both games can raise glasses to their cover athletes for the 2010-2011 seasons. NBA scoring champ Kevin Durant will be on the cover of NBA Elite 11. Stanley Cup champion and Conn Smyth Trophy winner Jonathan Toews will be the face of NHL 11.

As you know, EA has been fighting an uphill struggle to compete with 2K Sports’ NBA2K franchise. Hopefully, with the re-branding to NBA Elite and a fresh faced super star like Kevin Durant on the cover, they can make strides to regain their former glory. NBA Live ’03 was one of my favorite sports games, and while NBA 2K10 is very good, there is always room for improvement.

NHL 11 marks the first time in the series’ 18 year span when teammates have been on the cover in back-to-back years. Chicago Blackhawks’ Patrick Kane was the cover athlete for NHL 10. After a great Stanley Cup performance (which EA saw coming), in which Toews became the second-youngest man to captain his team to the Cup, this is an honor he greatly deserved.

While I am excited that NBA Elite 11 is attempting to turn it around, I don’t think this is going to be the year they make a big change. Hopefully I’ll eat my words after seeing some video and getting some hands on game-play, but I think it’s going to be good in the long run, and push basketball games to the next level.

On the other hand, I am psyched for NHL 11. I’ve recently gotten back into hockey games in a huge way and NHL is the big dog on campus. NHL 11 is such a dominating force that  NHL 2k11 is not even coming out for PS3 and Xbox 360. Hopefully this huge head start doesn’t get EA complacent. I’m looking for the NHL series to be dominant for years to come.

While EA is known for having their cover athletes be dominant in their games, who do you think will have a bigger impact on the game, Kevin Durant, or Jonathan Toews?

NHL 11 is shipping in September for PS3 and Xbox 360.

NBA Elite 11 is shipping in October for PS3 and Xbox 360.

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