Steve Yzerman

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?

Antoine Vermette’s 10-game suspension upheld by Gary Bettman

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The NHL announced on Saturday afternoon that commissioner Gary Bettman has upheld the 10-game suspension the league issued to Anaheim Ducks forward Antoine Vermette for an abuse of official incident that happened earlier this month.

Bettman met with Vermette on Thursday and heard his appeal, and has ruled that the 10-game ban will remain in place.

Vermette was ejected from the Ducks’ Feb. 14 game against the Minnesota Wild after he slashed linesman Shandor Alphonso in the leg following a face off. The NHL ruled that it was a Category II abuse of official foul, which carries an automatic 10-game suspension. He has already served four of those games. He will lose $97,222.22 in salary as a result of the entire suspension.

Vermette’s suspension is the third abuse of official suspension we have seen in the NHL over the past two years following the 20-game ban Dennis Wideman received last year (later reduced to 10 games) and the three-game suspension given to Arizona Coyotes defenseman Anthony DeAngelo this season.

After signing a two-year, $3.5 million contract with the Ducks in free agency, Vermette has eight goals and 14 assists in 58 games this season.

Blackhawks’ Hjalmarsson ‘day-to-day,’ will not play on Sunday

CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 11:  Niklas Hjalmarsson #4 of the Chicago Blackhawks fires a shot against the Washington Capitals at the United Center on November 11, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. The Capitals defeated the Blackhawks 3-2 in overtime.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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Just about the only downside to the Chicago Blackhawks’ latest win, a 6-3 dismantling of the Arizona Coyotes on Thursday night, was the injury suffered by defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson.

He ended up leaving the game after taking just four shifts in the first period and did not return.

Along with missing almost all of that game, he will also be out of the lineup on Sunday when the Blackhawks look to continue their recent hot streak when they host the St. Louis Blues.

In 60 games this season Hjalmarsson has five goals and nine assists while mostly playing alongside Duncan Keith. On Thursday the Blackhawks had seven defensemen in the lineup and relied on Michal Rozsival to fill some of the minutes left vacated by Hjalmarsson. He ended up scoring his first goal of the season in the win.

The Blackhawks have been on a roll over the past few weeks, winning eight of their past nine games and scoring at least four goals in every win during that stretch.

They will miss Hjalmarsson on Sunday, but it seems to only be a short-term issue.

Kris Letang won’t play in outdoor game; Schultz game-time decision

PITTSBURGH, PA - OCTOBER 17:  Kris Letang #58 of the Pittsburgh Penguins talks before a faceoff during the game against Colorado Avalanche at PPG Paints Arena on October 17, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
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An already shorthanded Pittsburgh Penguins defense is going to be without another key player on Saturday when Kris Letang misses their Stadium Series game against the Philadelphia Flyers due to an upper body.

Coach Mike Sullivan announced the news following the team’s morning skate and would only add that Letang remains day-to-day with an upper body injury.

Letang, the Penguins’ best defenseman, played more than 28 minutes in their most recent game, a 3-1 win over the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday night.

In 41 games this season he has five goals and 29 assists. Ron Hainsey, recently acquired in a trade with the Hurricanes, is going to have to immediately take on a pretty substantial role with his new team.

Anytime the Penguins are without Letang it’s a big deal because of how impactful he is on the blue line, but it is an even bigger issue now given the injury situation they are dealing with. Trevor Daley and Olli Maatta are both sidelined for what will most likely be the remainder of the regular season.

Justin Schultz, a game-time decision on Saturday night according to Sullivan, has missed the past three games due to a concussion.

NHL On NBC: Penguins, Flyers meet in Stadium Series

PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 29: Sidney Crosby #87 of the Pittsburgh Penguins skates up the ice with the puck against Philadelphia Flyers during the third period at Wells Fargo Center on October 29, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
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NBC’s coverage of the 2016-17 NHL season continues on Saturday night with the final outdoor game of the season when cross-state rivals the Pittsburgh Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers meet at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh in the NHL Stadium Series.

It’s only the second meeting of the season between the two rivals after the Penguins won aa 5-4 decision earlier this season in Philadelphia.

 

The Penguins come into the game fighting through some recent injury woes that have decimated their defense. Olli Maatta and Trevor Daley are likely to miss the remainder of the regular season, while Justin Schultz is recovering from a concussion that has sidelined him for the past three games. As if that wasn’t enough, Kris Letang, the Penguins’ best defenseman and arguably their most irreplaceable player given the role he has, the minutes he plays and the impact he makes, is day-to-day with an injury of his own. That recent rash of injuries forced the team to make a trade with the Carolina Hurricanes earlier this week to acquire veteran defenseman Ron Hainsey, who is expected to make his debut with the team on Saturday at Heinz Field.

The Penguins have also been dealing with injuries to forwards Conor Sheary and Bryan Rust.

Even with all of that the Penguins have managed to remain in second place in the Metropolitan Division and are 6-1-3 in their past 10 games.

The Flyers, meanwhile, are struggling.

With only nine wins in their past 27 games they have lost a hold on a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference and enter Saturday five points back of a wild card spot. A loss on Sunday could even lead to them starting to sell off assets in advance of the NHL trade deadline this week. They have one more game (Tuesday at home against the Colorado Avalanche) between now and the trade deadline.

So it could pretty big game for them on Saturday night.

Faceoff is 8 p.m. ET and can be seen on NBC or our live stream.