More and more, it seems like EA Sports’ upcoming NHL 17 is about bolstering all the substance with some style.
While the biggest hopes for on-digital-ice changes seem to hinge on much-needed tweaks to goaltending, plenty of focus revolves around what your players will be wearing and where they’ll be playing.
Polygon provides a great breakdown for some of the tweaks:
Even more exciting is EASHL’s brand-new arena editor, which is a massive step up from last year, when the only things you could add to your team’s rink were championship banners if you won them. Your club will now make its way upward through five different arenas — a small community rink, a larger community rink, a Canadian Hockey League-size venue, an American Hockey League-size arena and an NHL arena — and you’ll be able to customize the last four venues in that progression.
Maybe most interestingly, you can relocate teams to one of 20 other hockey-friendly locales, whether it means bringing the NHL to Las Vegas a year early, rebooting the Hartford Whalers or a number of other possibilities.
(Does this mean the dream of “The KC Masterpiece” could come true?)
The increase in goal celebrations has been touched upon, yet seeing the fruits of such labor is another thing entirely. Hockey Twitter was delighted to learn that Jose Bautista’s memorable “bat flip” is included in the mix:
Nice nod to Toronto Maple Leafs fans, who can use such an animation after forcing the Tampa Bay Lightning to trade Steven Stamkos “home.”
Need another trailer for the game? Why not:
At least, that’s what he’s saying publicly, as Sportsnet reports.
“I’d been with him for nine years, so it’s going to be very strange to come into the locker room and not see P.K. there, joking around with him all the time,” Pacioretty said.
He added that, in the Subban-for-Shea Weber trade, the Canadiens “lost a friend and hopefully gained another.”
Again, there’s been plenty of speculation that Pacioretty and other Habs viewed Subban as anything but a pal. Jacques Demers ranked among the many who believed that Montreal suffered from a “divided room,” with some believing that it came down to Subban vs. Pacioretty.
Pacioretty dismissed the claims back then:
While Subban responded in a way we’ve come to expect, wondering if he’d have to “make out” with Pacioretty to prove doubters wrong.
That Pacioretty passage might just sum it up the best: you can be friends with someone while (gasp) also occasionally being annoyed by their antics. Really, have you enjoyed a lengthy relationship – business or personal – that never had those moments of minor friction?
The good news for “Patches” is that he won’t field nearly as many questions about Subban now that P.K.’s plying his trade in Nashville.
The not-so-good news is that he’ll be an obvious target for blame if Montreal’s fate doesn’t change with Weber replacing Subban.
We’ll find out soon enough if Pacioretty has enough help from his friends.
It began with Blumenthal’s letter to Bettman and the NHL, dated June 23, which cited the NFL acknowledging a link between football and CTE. He then asked Bettman nine questions related to how the NHL handles brain injuries and how it might be different from the NHL.
“The relationship between concussions and the asserted clinical symptoms of C.T.E. remains unknown.”
Blumenthal was “appalled” by Bettman’s take, according to Sports Illustrated and the Senator himself.
Perhaps you could chalk this up to a public relations battle of sorts, although TSN reports that this latest round of comments might provide fuel for lawyers working on a concussion lawsuit against the NHL.
“We should have the chance now to walk him through some of his denials and find out why he has made his statements and ask him what makes him so sure,” Lead counsel Charles Zimmerman said. “Why is he so willing to go against conventional science which says repeated blows to the head cause damage to the brain?”
As familiar as some of this might feel for those following the way the league is handling concussions, it could mean that the NHL will follow in the NFL’s footsteps in a costly way.
At minimum, it’s been a mess for the league, and it doesn’t seem like things will get easier anytime soon.
If Chris Kreider is penciled in to finish with about 20 goals and 45 points each season, the New York Rangers got a solid deal for the 25-year-old.
That nice $4.625 million cap hit could become a steal if Kreider blossoms into the 30-goal force the Rangers were hoping for, however.
NHL.com details how the Rangers hope he returns to the form that, to quote assistant Scott Arniel,* made him “a nightmare for defensemen.”
“I remember we had a conversation asking him about what kind of player did he think he was, and he didn’t say I’m a toe-dragging, stick-handling guy who can beat guys 1-on-1,” Arniel said. “He knew what he was. He said it. I wrote it down on a piece of paper and it was five things that a true power forward needs to do every game. Then he got away from those things [last season].”
As New York Newsday notes, Kreider shares that viewpoint, aiming to be “big, strong, fast, mean, imposing” and to play a “power forward game.”
(If you’re playing Power Forward Buzzword Bingo … yes, Kreider also talks about his north-south game.)
How much room is there to grow?
The biggest question circles back to the beginning; how much higher is Kreider’s ceiling than what we’ve already seen?
Kreider indicates that a strong finish to 2015-16 salvaged his numbers, but the end result is near-identical production compared to 2014-15. He spoke of pucks not going in early in the year, yet his shooting percentage was a career-high 13.5.
About the only difference that really stands out does possibly denote a dip in physicality, as his 58 PIM were low in comparison to 2014-15 (88) and 2013-14 (72). The Rangers probably don’t want him off the ice and in the box more often though, right?
Really, the big thing for Kreider might just come down to opportunities.
Despite becoming more experienced, he’s still averaging just under 16 minutes of ice time per game.
The key, then, might be for Kreider to convince Alain Vigneault to deploy him more frequently, which might come down to bring that physical edge more often.
* – That story is an interesting little peek into how the Rangers handle and develop players like Kreider. Arniel almost seems quaint at times in the piece, bringing to mind Dan D’Antoni’s inspirational notes to Leondaro Barbosa.