NHL 2K11 releases on Wii and (unexpectedly) on iPhones today

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Thumbnail image for nhl2k11kesler.jpgWhile EA Sports’ NHL series wrestled the critics’ championship belt* from the 2K games without question with their second “next-generation” game NHL ’08, the 2K series has been fairly bold in jumping on different platforms. After all these years, Electronic Arts if finally putting out a Nintendo Wii title after 2K had a polygonal puck monopoly for years, but now 2K is ahead of the pack yet again.

* – They already owned the gold for sales every year, which I guess is the most important thing anyway.

Though it’s unclear how high quality the game will be, they’ve broken ground by becoming the first NHL-licensed game to appear in the near-ubiquitous iPhone market. Here is more from the video game blog Joystiq.

2K Sports has announced that, tomorrow, puck enthusiasts on the go will be able to access a version of NHL 2K11 optimized for iOS devices — the first officially-licensed hockey game to lace up its skates on the iPhone and iPod Touch, actually. Sadly, 2K Sports has not furnished us with any media for the new game, but has revealed that it can be yours for $1.99 during its first week of availability.

The company also promises the scaled-down skate-’em-up will sport “a new control system designed from the ground up; animations and graphics taken from the console version of the game; and fully realized season, shootout and free skate modes of play.” You can find it on the App Store starting tomorrow.

Interesting. Both the Wii and iPhone versions of NHL 2K11 released today, but I haven’t stumbled across any reviews of either game just yet. At $1.99, you have to wonder how beefy or responsive the handheld version is, but if they managed to make a pretty good game out of it 2K Sports might really be onto something.

And, besides, it can’t get much more awkward than the Nintendo version(s) are, right?

Here’s what deal between women’s team, USA hockey is reportedly worth

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It’s great news that the U.S. women’s national team and USA Hockey came together on a deal for the upcoming world championships.

Still, all we really know is that the contract lasts four years, as the two sides decided to keep the dollar figures between each other.

The Hockey News’ Ken Campbell laid out a lot of the possible numbers on his Twitter feed, giving us an idea of what reportedly sealed the deal.

First things first, Campbell reports that the deal is worth $3.7-$4 million overall.

That’s quite the impressive number on face value, but what does it mean for players over a four-year contract?

Campbell reports that earnings will range between $850K and $950K, depending upon how they perform in the tournament:

They’ll also receive the same travel and other miscellaneous amenities as the men’s team, but what about years that are more about training than competition?

Interesting stuff. Definitely check out Campbell’s feed for additional details.

This fight between Tom Wilson, Chris Stewart got downright gory (Video)

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For those who decry the decline in fighting – in “blood and guts” hockey – Tuesday presented a bloody moment, one fairly high on this season’s Muta scale.

Also, for some, seeing it happen to Tom Wilson specifically may provide additional pleasure.

Anyway, as you can see in the video above, Minnesota Wild winger Chris Stewart bloodied the Washington Capitals pest in a fight. Whether you’re for, against or neutral toward Wilson, it’s quite the sight.

Wilson may be hurt, by the way. He missed some time but returned later in the contest.

Milestones: Matthews, Nylander break Leafs rookie records; Chara hits 600

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Auston Matthews likely ranks as the top reason that many Toronto Maple Leafs are starting to get the same feelings they had in better times, so it only makes sense that he broke a beloved Buds’ record on Tuesday.

With his 35th goal of a potential Calder season – but a brilliant debut either way – Matthews passed Wendel Clark for the Maple Leafs’ rookie record for goals in a season.

That goal was also meaningful for William Nylander, as he extended his point streak to 12 games with an assist. This team, fueled by young players, just keeps shattering first-year marks:

Switching gears, let’s go from new to (relatively) old: Zdeno Chara collected the 600th point of his outstanding career with an assist:

Yes, it’s true that most people think of his imposing size and all-world defensive instincts in praising Chara, but he’s been a respectable point producer, too.

U.S. women end boycott, will represent USA Hockey at worlds

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The U.S. women’s national team voted in favor of accepting USA Hockey’s deal, so they’ll participate in the world championship tournament. USA Hockey recently made the news official with this press release.

The press release confirmed a report that the contract will last four years, while financial terms were kept confidential. (Team members had been seeking a living wage to represent USA Hockey.)

“Our sport is the big winner today,” Team captain Meghan Duggan said. “We stood up for what we thought was right and USA Hockey’s leadership listened. In the end, both sides came together. I’m proud of my teammates and can’t thank everyone who supported us enough. It’s time now to turn the page. We can’t wait to play in the World Championship later this week in front of our fans as we try and defend our gold medal.”

The U.S. women’s national team is scheduled to face Canada on Friday.

Here’s a screen cap of the press release for your convenience: