Yzerman, Roy, Roenick and Salming added to NHL 12’s legends list while nitpicking begins

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EA Sports is wisely generating a steady trickle of buzz for NHL 12 by slowing releasing its list of legends who will appear in the upcoming video game.

Last week, we took a look at the unveiling of the first three: Wayne Gretzky, Chris Chelios and Ray Bourque. Through various means – apparently at least one of the names leaked – we now know four more of the former NHL stars who will appear in the title: Patrick Roy, Steve Yzerman, Borje Salming and Jeremy Roenick. The speculation continues as the next two legends might be revealed, with names like Mario Lemieux, Gordie Howe and Pavel Bure surfacing the most often. (Perhaps EA Sports might have a trick up its sleeve involving legends via downloadable content or some other venue? We’ll need to wait and see.)

First, let’s look at the video of Yzerman and Salming (Again, PD reveals that Salming’s name leaked, an idea that is strengthened by the release date on this video. The actual planned release date is September 13 rather than September 9.)

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Kudos to EA for showing off the fact that legends can be on any team by having Yzerman skating with the guy he recently signed, Steven Stamkos. (There’s a lot more finesse to going that way instead of having Stevie Y in a Colorado Avalanche uniform, for instance.)

Later on, EA Sports released a new legends video that featuring Roy and Roenick – a playful nod to the two players’ smack talking rivalry – which you can see below.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

So, this all looks awesome, right? I think most people would agree, but as per typical with anything that’s being dissected on the Internet, the nitpicking has already begun. The sticking point, at this moment, seems to be the authenticity of the legends’ gear.

Doug Miller tackled some complaints that Yzerman was using Reebok gear rather than Easton gloves and sticks.

I didn’t even notice this myself at first, as I was more excited about the news itself, but I knew something didn’t look quite right. It is quite surprising that EA would make such a simple oversight, considering what we have seen in the few teaser trailers for Legends so far, and it looks like they went to great lengths to capture each Legend’s smallest little nuances… yet made such a simple and basic oversight when it comes to Stevie Y’s equipment.

Personally, I don’t really think it’s that big of a deal… I’m just thrilled that he’s going to be in the game, as life-long Red Wings fan. Plus, you can always go in and “edit” players in the game, so if you are really anal about this kind of thing, you can go and “fix” this little oversight by slapping on the “correct” gear. As I’ve had to do for the past two seasons with Jimmy Howard’s neck-guard. That is if this minor oversight isn’t already fixed in the game by the time it is released, via a roster update, in which they not only adjust stats, but also update equipment to be accurate, usually for goaltender’s pads.

Meanwhile, Rick Moldovanyi of Houses of the Hockey wishes that Roy’s Habs-era mask was replicated.

Not that it will matter to the gameplay at all, but it bothers us a bit that Patrick Roy’s iconic Montreal Canadiens mask was not properly duplicated for the game.

In defense of EA, the equipment quibbles might be related to the fact that these players are available to all 30 teams. Maybe the company will indeed “patch” the players’ vintage equipment, but it seems like a small quibble if the legends emulate their real-life counterparts.

We’ll keep an eye out for the final two (or maybe more?) legends who will be included in the game. Which players are you looking forward to being on the “roster” the most in NHL 12?

The West’s next round is now set (and wide-open)

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Saturday was a great day for fans of brevity and revenge.

Three of a possible three series ended on this day, with the Rangers dispatching the Canadiens, the Blues eliminating the “better” Wild, and the Oilers knocking off the Sharks in six.

The Rangers await either the Bruins or Senators and the Penguins face the winner of the Leafs – Capitals series out East, but we now know how the West shakes out.

St. Louis Blues vs. Nashville Predators

Both teams provided some of the upsets of this young postseason. Each features a red-hot goalie in Jake Allen and Pekka Rinne. Interesting.

Anaheim Ducks vs. Edmonton Oilers

There will be a lot of orange. We may also see a ton of goals with Ryan Getzlaf on fire, Oscar Klefbom headlining the list of unhealthy players and Connor McDavid possibly able to really take off against a Ducks defense that is beat up in its own right.

It’s already been a strange season out West, with the Kings missing the playoffs and first-round exits for the Sharks and Blackhawks. Get ready – and giddy – for things to get even weirder as the postseason goes along.

Oilers win first series since 2006 after Sharks fall crossbar short of overtime

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After making the playoffs for the first time since 2006, the Edmonton Oilers weren’t just “happy to be there.” They confirmed as much by eliminating the San Jose Sharks with a 3-1 victory in Game 6, winning the series 4-2.

Yes, those young Oilers just eliminated the team that represented the West in the 2016 Stanley Cup Final. Wow.

Ultimately, winning the breakaway battle in the second period indeed made the difference. Leon Draisaitl and Anton Slepyshev scored on their chances in the middle frame while Patrick Marleau could not; Slepyshev’s 2-0 goal ultimately became the series-clincher.

Now, that’s not to say that Marleau was a drag on San Jose. If this is it for one of the faces of the franchise, he had a great 2016-17, including generating the Sharks’ final goal of the postseason.

The Shark Tank was alive after Marleau reduced the Oilers’ lead to 2-1, and more than a few blood pressures rose – both in Edmonton and San Jose – after the Sharks got this close to tying things up.

Wow.

With this result, the West is set. The St. Louis Blues will take on the Nashville Predators while the Oilers face the Anaheim Ducks.

As much as people try to put the training wheels on Connor McDavid & Co., the West is wide-open enough that it’s not so outrageous to imagine a big run for Edmonton.

Beating the Sharks is a pretty nice way of adding an exclamation point to that statement win. And hey … they beat the Sharks last time around, too.

Canadiens sound a lot like Wild after playoff exit (without ‘better team’ talk)

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Much like the Minnesota Wild earlier on Saturday, the Montreal Canadiens are stunned to approach the golf courses so rapidly.

Many of the responses after the New York Rangers eliminated them in Game 6 sound a lot like what the Wild uttered, though there’s no potential bulletin board material like Bruce Boudreau’s line about the better team failing to win four games.

Max Pacioretty viewed this early exit as a “missed opportunity” and never really believed that an elimination was coming.

Claude Julien provided parallel comments to Bruce Boudreau, believing that Montreal generated chances but lacked “finish.”

Brendan Gallagher? He worries that this might have been the Canadiens’ best chance, something the Wild must also worry about with a difficult offseason ahead.

Now, it’s likely that most teams speak about being shocked and expecting better after being booted from the postseason.

Still, these reactions do shine a light on the staggering nature of some of these exits. Will the likes of the Blackhawks, Canadiens and Wild struggle to be in such prime positions in the future? With the Sharks needing a comeback against the Oilers, could the trend continue on Saturday?

The bottom line is that, instead of preparing for a Game 7 after winning the Atlantic Division, the Canadiens are packing up their stuff and worrying about re-signing Carey Price. That’s a pretty stunning turnaround, regardless of the soundbytes available.

Video: Draisaitl, Slepyshev score on breakaways, Talbot spurns Marleau

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Some playoff games or even series come down to something as stupidly simple as one team taking advantage of their opportunities while the other fails to capitalize on chances.

If Game 6 of the Oilers – Sharks series follows the story of the second period, then San Jose may join Saturday’s stream of eliminated teams.

It’s not fair to boil it down to three breakaways, but some might feel that way.

Leon Draisaitl looked like a gritty, strong veteran during his first career playoff goal, bulling his way to the net for 1-0 breakaway tally. About a minute later, Anton Slepyshev was even more alone against Martin Jones, and he scored his first postseason goal to make it 2-0.

That stings for the Sharks, and it doesn’t help that they had a similar chance not long after. This time around, Patrick Marleau couldn’t beat Cam Talbot, so it remained 2-0 for Edmonton.

That’s the same score as the game enters the third period, even with some dangerous late chances for the Sharks.

If the Sharks don’t score at least two goals in the third, their push to return to the Stanley Cup Final could end in the first round.