Wayne Simmonds Bests Evgeni Malkin, Eyes John Tavares Next

Wayne Simmonds Bests Evgeni Malkin, Eyes John Tavares Next

For the second consecutive year, a Philadelphia Flyer spurned Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malin in a popularity contest. In 2012 it was Claude Giroux, a mild upset at best. This time around it was Wayne Simmonds knocking off the two-time Art Ross Trophy winner.

Simmonds was pitted head-to-head with Malkin in EA Sports’ annual cover contest for its NHL video game series. Hockey fans from all across North America voted for Simmer – a player with no major awards or accomplishments in his professional career – over the four-time All Star, last season’s league MVP, and a member of the Penguins no less.

Simmonds moves on the quarterfinals to take on New York Islander and Hart Trophy finalist John Tavares. So far the Wayne Train has rolled past teammate and Flyers MVP Jakub Voracek, then survived a round of 32 before his knockout on Malkin.

As you can see, Giroux won the whole thing last year, beating out Nashville goaltender Pekka Rinne in the finals.

Obviously these cover contests are completely irrelevant, but you’ve got to love hockey fans sticking it to the Penguins when they are given the opportunity. Simmonds’ run might come to an end this week against the immensely talented Tavares, but he already made it farther than we thought he would.

If you have a moment, you can vote for Simmonds here. Oh, and if you need any extra incentive, voting enters you into another contest: fans can win a trip to this year’s Stanley Cup Finals. The Flyers won’t be there, but that could be fun.

>> NHL 14 Cover Vote [EA Sports]

TicketIQ: Penn State to face USC in most expensive Rose Bowl this decade

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TicketIQ: Penn State to face USC in most expensive Rose Bowl this decade

Editor's Note: The following is sponsored content written by TicketIQ.

Penn State is headed to the Rose Bowl Game, and it will cost a pretty penny to be on hand in Pasadena on January 2.

With a statement win over Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship Game Penn State clinched their first Rose Bowl berth since 2009. The No. 5 school in the nation will face No. 9 USC in a rematch from seven years ago. Such a long absence for both schools in the bowl game is driving resale ticket prices to new heights, so much so that the Rose Bowl Game will be the most expensive bowl game this season – including the two Semifinal games.

On TicketIQ, an event ticket search engine that pools tickets and data from over 90 percent of the secondary market, the average resale price for Rose Bowl Game tickets is now $804. Not only does that make it the most expensive Rose Bowl since at least 2010, but also the priciest bowl game of the last seven seasons. If looking just to get in on January 2 the cheapest tickets are now priced from $346 each.

The showdown between Penn State and USC is so expensive that it will be more than twice the average price of both Semifinal games. As it stands now the resale average for Peach Bowl tickets between Alabama and Washington at Georgia Dome is $389 with a get-in price of $185. Clemson and Ohio State will clash in the Fiesta Bowl to the tune of a $241 average and $71 get-in price.

Prices are so high for this year’s game in Pasadena that they rival the 2015 National Championship Game. The first-ever Championship Game under the new College Football Playoff system, that year’s game between Ohio State and Oregon averaged a $858 ticket and $317 get-in price.

While Penn State fans, students and alumni raced to snag tickets during the general on sale, prices were quick to skyrocket on the secondary market following the school’s invitation to the Rose Bowl Game. On Saturday afternoon, several hours before the Big Ten Championship kickoff, Rose Bowl tickets were averaging under $600, marking a nearly 40 percent increase since that time. The cheapest resale ticket price has jumped more than $100 since Saturday, climbing from its $245 price tag since.