While the 2012 NHL Lockout is underway, every Friday will be known as “Flashback Friday.” On this day of the week, a classic installment of PUCK YOU! will be released for your enjoyment.
This was originally published on Oct 24, 2011
And so, the debate about ice hockey continues… here is the second part of the Wonderpod Online Crew sounding off about the start of the 2011-2012 NHL regular season.
For “Part 1” click here.
Our panelists include Bruce McGee, Al Creed,
BaptisBlacktick (Maybe next episode?), ThinkSoJoE, G, ThatDamnDoubleC, and Armchair MVP.
Question 4: What are your thoughts on Electronic Arts NHL 2012? If you do not plan on purchasing this video game, do you have a favorite ice hockey video game?
ThinkSoJoE: I’ve read that some people refuse to buy an EA Sports title every year with the thought process being that it’s nothing more than a roster update from the previous year’s game. I absolutely disagree with that. While the improvements from year to year are subtle, they’re there, and every year the game gets better and more realistic. This year is no exception. If you haven’t bought NHL 12 and you’re a hockey fan, put the mouse down, get up off the chair, and head down to the local video game store and pick it up RIGHT NOW! Then come home, finish reading this article, and then designate the rest of your October to playing.
Bruce McGee: I probably won’t be picking up NHL 12 as I have to many other games I want. My favorite hockey is probably NHL 3 on 3 hockey for the 360. Not a full blown hockey video game, but a lot of fun and a damn good time waster.
I am quite happy with this year’s installment of EA NHL. Two features that remain constant, and the current draw for my own interest, have been tweaked and cleaned up. These are the dual analogue control system, and the online player-lock multiplayer mode.
Since the introduction of the dual analogue control playing style, it has received mixed reviews. Usually this can be associated with people fearing change, the shift away from the traditional button mashing style of the franchise. EA has allowed players to control their game both ways, but we have gotten to a point where the so-called simpler analogue method is vastly superior. This season has brought in battling in front of the net and cleaned up the physics of checking, poke-checking, and skating.
EA still remains stubborn in using their own servers to host multiplay. However, one of the biggest flaws in last years edition was the difficulty in joining team matches with your friends. They clearly wanted people to focus on their personal league teams or drop-in casual play. However, the problem here was that the league play has dissolved into a “This is serious business, guys” uber elite community. And the drop in casual play left very little trust in one’s teammates to actually play their position, or not sabotage one’s team. Especially a problem when your goalie decided to start doing laps around the net because your defensemen decided they wanted to be cherry pickers and leave them hung out to dry.
Overall, it’s a solid improvement. The physics are better than ever, and the more open online play takes some of the frustrating elements out of the title.
ThatDamnDoubleC CC NOTE: Here is the link to my NHL 12 review..
As for favourite hockey game? NHL Breakaway ’98
Armchair MVP: I’m definitely loving NHL 2012. I was a huge fan of Madden NFL’s Superstar mode when it first came out, because it was ridiculously in-depth with interviews, movie shoots, earning endorsement deals, and all kinds of stuff like that. While this year’s Be A Pro is still not quite at that level, it’s still pretty great. I like the addition of being able to play through your junior career. I decided to go with one season in the CHL, to build my stats up a little bit before I get drafted. I love HUT mode as well, except for the fact that the best player on my roster is Brett effing Lebda, after I’ve bought almost 10 card packs. Ugh. Overall, I think it’s a fantastic game.
Al Creed: NHL 12’s a pretty good game. I REALLY REALLY like that this version included the Winter Classic (FINALLY), and the fine-tuning of the realism is good (being able to run the goalies is OH SO MUCH FUN). Other than that, it’s hard to gush about a game with an annual frequency that only gets seriously updated once every 4-6 years. Now, NHL 11, THAT was a game to write about!
Pictured: Secretly thinking about his NFL pool. BETTMAN!!!
Question 5: What are your personal expectations for your favorite NHL club entering into the 2011-2012 season? What are some of the highlights that occured in the offseason/preseason that have you excited, and what are some of the glaring problems you think your club should address?
ThinkSoJoE: I am more excited this season to be a Sabres fan than I’ve ever been. Terry Pegula took over as owner at the end of last season, and he’s letting us know that he’s here to win. The team is far more in touch with the fans here in Buffalo now than they’ve ever been, and I believe they’re going to be a force to be reckoned with this season.
ThatDamnDoubleC It’s nice to know the rest of the questions haven’t been as long winding as that first one. Although that first question did allow me the chance to get a couple of hours sleep before you finished reading it. My favourite NHL club is the Quebec Nordiques, and my prediction for them is to win the Fantasy NFL team that they are win. I’m hoping the recruitment of a.. Tom.. Brady? Must’ve been that member of the Brady Bunch that was always locked in the basement and was feasted on by the rest of the family. No family is ever that joyous.
I think that not finishing dead last is a pretty realistic goal for my Oilers. The club certainly has had some wealth of young forwards coming into the system, and watching the likes of Hall, Eberle, Paajarvi, Ganger, and Nugent-Hopkins develop is a treat.
However, with years of injuries plaguing first line players at all positions, they have not had any breaks (other than bones). Combine this with an unmotivated Khabibulin (or just plain terrible, if you want to get right to it), and a serious lack of depth on the blueline, will not bode well for this club.
When buying into a “rebuild” and drinking the proverbial Kool-Aid, one has to expect at least 4 seasons of terrible results. I can’t see this year being the one where the turn around happens, especially if the Oilers do not address their defensive shortcomings. At best, I would like to see them almost make the playoffs. That’s about as realistically optimistic as I can be.
Armchair MVP: Well, as a Flames fan, I couldn’t help but to notice that the team was a little bit handcuffed by cap issues, and as such decided to try the addition-by-subtraction route. This included getting rid of the two guys I had on the back of my jerseys, Robyn Regehr and Daymond Langkow, so that’s a little bit of a piss-off, to say the least. On paper, this team isn’t really flawed in any specific area, in my opinion, but they have never managed to produce the results that much of the city expected after the lockout ended. And I kind of expect more of the same this year, a 9th-to-11th type finish. Next offseason’s the big one though, as a lot of salary comes off the books, so I almost expect the Flames to just kind of play out the string until then.
Al Creed: Welp, Paul Holmgren has made “WIN NOW” the motto of my beloved Flyers. In an obvious sign of frustration from SOMEONE (probably Ed Snyder), Paul broke up a much beloved, quite cohesive home-grown unit, and brought in some ringers. Granted, the Flyers NEEDED a goaltender in the worst way, I’m pretty sure they could have done without an over the hill, overvalued and overrated old fart like Jaromir Jagr.
IN ANY EVENT, I fully expect this team to make the Conference Finals, at the very least. If Paul wants to WIN NOW, they better do it, or every single move he made, from casting out two cornerstones, to not resigning Danny Carcillo, will be all for naught, will be heavily scrutinized (and that’s putting it lightly – the fine people of Philadelphia might burn him in effigy…), and Holmgren will probably be without a job.
Bruce McGee: Being a Detroit Red Wings fan my expectation this year aren’t any different than any other year. Go out and make the playoffs. Then find a way to beat the damn San Jose Sharks in the playoffs for FFS.
“Last Chance To Rant”
G: I’ve ranted enough, I think.
Armchair MVP: The offseason produced some uniform changes that I really liked, and then one that I thought was absolutely horrible. The new Jets jerseys look great on TV, and I’m just really happy that Winnipeg got the team back. I’m loving the red Panthers jerseys, and the alterations made to the Predators uniforms as well. But what the hell were the New York Islanders thinking? I can’t even describe this thing, Google Images that shit, and you’ll know what I mean. The league’s most dependable current comedy option isn’t even trying anymore.
ThinkSoJoE: I actually can’t think of anything to rant about. I’m a happy hockey fan at the moment.
ThatDamnDoubleC Last Chance To Rant.. whatever happened to Steve Moore? I know he’s a big pussy for going down after just one punch from Todd Bertuzzi, but still.. I’d have gotten up from that. Anyone with more than a half-inch penis would’ve gotten up from that. My theory is , is that Steve Moore was a woman, and in fact the second woman ever to play in the NHL behind the 1999 Buffalo Sabres. Biggest bunch of whiny girls I’ve ever seen. So what if it came off his skate. I guarantee, that if it you scored the Stanley Cup winning goal, with it coming off of the skate of Miroslav Satan, you wouldn’t say ‘oh, it came off my skate.. no goal.’ Besides, they had Satan on their team. If Satan really does live in Hell, then the ice would’ve melted.. although, if Miroslav Satan really is the ruler of Hell. Why would be play have played for the Buffalo GirlyBoys, wouldn’t the Flames have been a better fit?
This season, the PUCK YOU! crew started an NHL fantasy pool on Yahoo Sports. If you would like to see who we drafted and how we are doing, click here.
We are participating in head-to-head style of play, where each week will have two fantasy teams square off against each other in an attempt to capture each category for skaters and goalies, and ultimately, bragging rights. While this pool is barely underway, do you have any “special” messages you’d like to send out to your current opponent and/or the whole pool in general?
ThatDamnDoubleC I have a message to all those involved in the hockey pool. I’m going to win, fuck the lot of you. There’s no point competing. I could play the starting side of Lokomotiv Yaroslavl and still beat anyone. In fact, I have Jaromir Jagr and Sheldon Souray, and at time of this being written, I was leading everyone.
G: I already wished everyone good luck. Now I wish you nothing but failure. I’m taking this pool.
Armchair MVP: I don’t think I have room to trash-talk after a tie in week 1, but it’s time to put the rest of the league on notice. Rinne, Vokoun and Halak (yes, I still believe) are beast mode as a goaltending unit. Time for this team to charge up the rankings on the backs of my wicked awesome Euro backstops.
ThinkSoJoE: OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOZE! (for our readers, my team name is the St. Mucus Ooze, a team from the old Sega Genesis game “Mutant League Hockey.”)
Hockey fans! We want to hear from you. The point of this panel is to allow fans to chime in, not the professionals. You pay their salaries, so tell them what YOU think below in the comments section.
Here at Wonderpod Online, we encourage discussion and celebrate debate. The internet can be stifling for some, but we prefer to open our doors to authors and writers from elsewhere to come on board in our panels and discuss passions that might not be represented at their other homes. With that being said, we hope hockey fans are enjoying the regular season up to this point in time.
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Some of our panelists write elsewhere on the internet, and we’d like you to check out some of their websites!
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A weekly podcast about the world of video games, from player experiences to current events in the industry, Bruce McGee, Pat Man, and Gun Sage provide insight into the medium for any gamer (whether casual or “pro”).