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?
If someone told you that the New York Rangers started a goalie on back-to-back nights, and that goalie wasn’t Henrik Lundqvist, you’d probably wonder if he was hurt or retired.
Nope. It just so happens that Antti Raanta is playing at an incredibly high level, Alain Vigneault noticed, and that decision paid dividends on Friday night. Raanta won both nights of a back-to-back, allowing a single goal (with the Rangers protecting him, being that he only needed to stop 43 of 44 shots during that span).
Raanta and the Rangers blanked the Chicago Blackhawks with a 1-0 overtime win, at least briefly climbing to first place in the massively competitive Metro Division:
1. Rangers – 39 points in 29 games played
2. Penguins- 37 points in 27 GP
3. Blue Jackets – 36 points in 25 GP
4. Capitals – 35 points in 26 GP
5. Flyers – 35 points in 29 GP
Nick Holden ended up scoring the only goal of the game:
Meanwhile, the Blackhawks lost but at least salvaged a standings point and it seems like Patrick Kane is OK after this injury scare:
Raanta improved to 7-1-0 on the season, allowing two goals or less in all but one of his appearances so far this season. That’s the kind of work you’d expect to see if you’re going sit a guy who’s, you know, a living legend.
Blue Jackets remain in thick of things in Metro on tough night for Red Wings
As the Columbus Blue Jackets keep rolling, the Detroit Red Wings are probably just happy to get Friday behind them.
For the second straight game, the Blue Jackets beat their opponent 4-1.
They’re now on a five-game winning streak, and like the climbing St. Louis Blues, things look great if you go back a little further. They’re 10-1-2 in their last 13 games and 13-2-3 since November began.
The New Jersey Devils have been incredibly difficult to beat at home. Lately, the St. Louis Blues have been on a roll just about anywhere.
On Friday night, the Blues were the hotter team, handing the Devils their first home loss in regulation in 2016-17. And it wasn’t particularly close, with St. Louis winning 4-1.
It’s a convenient time to note that the Blues rank among the hottest teams in the NHL. Most recently, they’re 5-1-1 in their last seven games, but they’ve been especially impressive since they flirted with .500 at 7-6-3. Beginning with a 4-1 win against the Buffalo Sabres on Nov. 15, the Blues are on a 8-2-1 tear.
This leaves them second in the Central with a 16-8-4 record.
That’s impressive stuff.
This 4-1 win was quite the showcase for Robby Fabbri and Vladimir Tarasenko, in particular. Tarasenko collected three assists while Fabbri scored two goals on Friday night. His second goal was particularly slick:
The Blues are right in saying that this was a pretty fitting opportunity to drop a “Holy Jumpin.”
Minnesota Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk has been the most difficult goalies to score against this season. Leave it to a high-level player like Leon Draisaitl to make it look this, well, “easy.”
Draisaitl scored his 13th goal of 2016-17 by capping this pretty give-and-go play with Benoit Pouliot. You can see the frustration from Dubnyk at the end of the tally, as if he was saying “How was I supposed to stop that?” (though probably with more colorful language).
Draisaitl came into Friday with five goals and three assists in his last five games, so he’s been almost unstoppable lately.