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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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