EA Sports NHL Curse
The "Madden Curse" originally began as an EA Sports curse, notably in its NHL series, after Lindros appeared on the cover of NHL '99. <br> During the 1998-99 season, Lindros had amassed an impressive 93 points in 71 games, until his season came to an abrupt end with a collapsed lung during a game in Carolina. The following season he was stripped of his captaincy after criticizing team doctors and missed 10 weeks to post-concussion syndrome. During Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals, he suffered a major concussion when hit by Devils' defenseman Scott Stevens in just his second game since returning from PCS. That would be his last game in a Flyers uniform, as he sat out the entire 2000-01 season in a contract dispute and was consequently traded to the Rangers.
Pronger may be the only exception in a seven-year span of jinxed NHL cover boys, posting a career-high 14 goals and 62 points following his cover appearance. However, he would miss nearly the entire 2002-03 season, requiring a high-risk surgery on his left wrist that threatened to end his all-star career.
Nolan scored a career-high 44 goals and 84 points the previous season and found the net eight times in 10 playoff games with the Sharks. After the 2000-01 season, he had just 24 goals and 49 points, with only one goal in six playoff games. His scoring-touch has declined even further since.
Super Mario stunned the hockey world when he returned to the NHL in December 2000 after a three-year retirement. It appeared as though he'd never left as he scored 35 goals and 76 points in just 43 games. The following season (2001-02) Lemieux spent all but 24 games on injured reserve and scored just six goals as the Penguins failed to make the playoffs for the first time since 1990.
Iginla was the league's leading scorer in both goals (52) and points (96) in 2001-02. He finished the following season with 35 goals and 67 points in 75 games, not even among the top 30 scorers in the league.
After EA's original choice, Joe Thornton, was charged with assaulting police, the up-and-coming Heatley was selected for the cover of NHL 2004. Four days after the official release date, he crashed his Ferrari into a wall at around 80 mph, ejecting him and his passenger, friend and teammate Dan Snyder. Heatley suffered a broken jaw, a minor concussion, a bruised lung and kidney, and tore three ligaments in his right knee. Snyder was critically injured with a skull fracture, fell into a coma, and died six days later. EA switched the cover to Joe Sakic following the accident, although many copies had already been shipped and sold.
Naslund had finished among the top four scorers in the league in each of his three seasons prior to the NHL lockout of 2004-05. While the majority of players have benefited from the post-lockout NHL, Naslund has not. In 2005-06, he was not even in the top 25 in scoring. Despite having played in all 82 games this past season, he scored a paltry 60 points.
While the "Madden Curse" continues, the NHL curse may have ended with the lockout, since Lecavalier and Ovechkin have experienced little, if any, ill effects since their covers were released.