Another NHL '11 Trailer: Previewing new physics, faceoff engine, etc.

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With the scary and sad summer sans hockey already upon us – but the free agent flood gradually downgrading to a trickle – we’ll have to entertain ourselves with debates and various other topics. That actually should be a lot of fun, but many hockey fans will get their hockey fix in polygonal form.

Electronic Arts’ NHL series is the gold standard in hockey video games, so we’ll probably devote a little extra attention to their games. (Don’t worry, though, 2K Sports. We haven’t forgotten you, even if your games are kind of incomprehensible to Wii-novices such as myself.)

That means getting way too excited about every little nugget that comes our way, especially in the form of videos. Such as this one, via Gametrailers.com.

 

I’m still in the “broken sticks are just going to lead to broken controllers” camp. Sports video games face an eternal crisis of fun vs. realism – and while I haven’t experienced it personally – the idea of one of the worst things in hockey being replicated in a game makes me queasy. I don’t want to hear bad locker room music and would prefer to avoid being yelled at by Barry Trotz, so why should we experience one of the other things hockey players would rather avoid?

(Actually, angry red Trotz face would be something I’d love to see in polygonal form.)

I just know that I’ll overreact to a breakaway goal allowed because my defenseman broke his digi-stick and whomever is with me will lose those precious little bits of respect they had left for me after I flip over a coffee table. That will be a bummer.

While I was originally on the fence about the faceoff changes (the NHL2K series really dropped the ball with their changes, in my opinion), the idea of being able to shoot from the faceoff like Mario Lemieux nearly made me wet my pants. Seriously, that is incredibly cool.

As you can guess, I was already planning on buying the game anyway, but that doesn’t mean I can’t critique (and play) the game endlessly. What do you think of the series and the changes promised in the trailer?

(H/T to Sean Leahy.)

Wild must overcome Alex Ovechkin’s 14th career hat trick

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Death, taxes and Alex Ovechkin winning the Maurice Richard Trophy.

OK, the third thing on that list isn’t technically inevitable. It just feels that way lately in the NHL.

It’s unclear if the Washington Capitals can hold on against the Minnesota Wild, but we know for certain that Ovechkin already has a hat trick, the 14th of his high-scoring career.

This propels Ovechkin to the goals lead as of this writing, as he already has 34. As impressive as Patrick Kane has been, No. 8 is heating up, and may just edge No. 88 if Ovechkin can remain healthy.

One has to feel a little sympathy for the struggling Wild. They played well but lost against the Dallas Stars earlier this week and now must deal with Ovechkin and the just-as-hot Capitals.

Bylsma believes league will look at Gudas’ hit on Catenacci

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Rugged Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Radko Gudas may get in trouble with the league once again.

At least, it will be that way if Buffalo Sabres head coach Dan Bylsma has his way regarding Gudas’ five-minute charging major hit on Daniel Catenacci.

“I think there’s no question it’s head hit,” Bylsma said, according to the Buffalo News’ John Vogl. ” … I know the league will look at that hit and deal with it.”

As far as the injury portion of possible suspension considerations go:

Marcus Foligno‘s analysis of Gudas was … well just check it out.

The Flyers ended up winning 5-1. Gudas was a busy man overall, racking up 17 penalty minutes.

Fight video: Patrice Bergeron vs. Blake Wheeler (seriously)

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Regular Selke winner Patrice Bergeron can do it all on the ice, it seems. Apparently that means he’ll even drop the gloves.

That was the unlikely scene during Thursday’s Boston Bruins – Winnipeg Jets skirmish, as Bergeron fought fellow finesse forward Blake Wheeler.

Perhaps unusual feisty behavior was just in the air, as Tyler Myers squared off with Matt Beleskey.

(Not as unlikely, but still.)

Video: Dion Phaneuf’s assist is his first point with Senators

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Dion Phaneuf‘s first home game as a member of the Ottawa Senators is going more smoothly than his debut did on Wednesday.

Ottawa fell 3-1 to the Detroit Red Wings last night, and they need another goal to tie up the Colorado Avalanche. Still, Phaneuf’s making a bigger impact on Thursday, collecting two assists … his first two points in a Sens’ sweater.

You can see his crowd-pleasing first helper above.

Here’s his second assist for good measure:

Update: The Avalanche held on, taking a 4-3 edge. Even so, Phaneuf’s getting a warm welcome in his new hockey city.