Hockey video games will always have some wonky player ratings. For one thing, it’s human nature. These things are also almost exclusively subjective.
Years ago, long-washed-up players would still be given the benefit of the doubt (I remember players such as Eric Lindros were great long after their eggs were scrambled beyond effectiveness in real-life). A Stanley Cup ring will make an otherwise goalie just a little too good.
Still, for the most part, game companies get it right. If nothing else, player ratings are an interesting barometer of how a player is perceived. Since NHL ’11 arrived in video game stores on midnight, I thought it might be a good time to take a look at some of the ratings. (Note: these ratings are based on the first roster update found online)
- Washington Capitals fans rejoice: Alex Ovechkin is a 94 while Sidney Crosby is a 93.
- American hockey fans can rejoice as well: Ryan Miller is the best goalie in the game at 91. Martin Brodeur is out of the 90’s for the first time in more than a decade (I’d guess) at a still-pretty-good 88.
- Zdeno Chara is the game’s highest rated defenseman at 89. Robyn Regehr clocks in at an 88 while a handful of D (including Duncan Keith, Nicklas Lidstrom, Chris Pronger and Drew Doughty) are almost there at 87.
- Mason Raymond earns the highest speed rating in the game at 95. Conversely, a handful of players earn the lowest (NHL-level) speed rating of 70, yet somehow Hal Gill isn’t in that group (he’s at 75).
- Chara earns what I would guess is a perfect body checking rating of 99 (I’ve never seen a 100 rating).
- As great as Chara is, I’m not sure he really is more defensively aware as Nicklas Lidstrom, even if this is the height of nitpicking. Still, Chara takes that category with a 95 over Lidstrom’s 93.
- Now that Rod Brind’amour retired, Manny Malhotra is the crowned king of video game faceoffs with a 94 rating.
- I’ve never seen EA list “hand-eye coordination” as a rating until this year. Alex Ovechkin narrowly takes the category with a 94 rating.
- Sidney Crosby, Marian Gaborik and Ovechkin are tied for the most accurate wrist shot in the game at 95.
So those are some of the more interesting ratings in NHL ’11. What are some of the most and least accurate ratings? Should Ovechkin be better than Crosby? Is Ryan Miller worthy of the highest goalie rating? Feel free to discuss these and other matters in the comments.