EA Sports introduces “GM Brain” in NHL 13

20 Comments

As much as video games have advanced, some believe it is too easy to beat up on digital GMs in various modes.

If EA Sports’ promises about “GM Brain” come to fruition, we’ll get closer to a time when it might be tougher to swindle a video game opponent than some believe it would be to fool real-life execs.*

First things first, general managers will think more long-term.

Now, thanks to the accuracy of the new Player Progression model, the CPU GM knows exactly what roster it has today, and is able to ‘grow its players instantly to predict what its roster will be like in the future. The ability to predict that it will be a Cup Contender in X years based on the players it has now, allows a CPU GM to understand what assets are expendable, and which ones must be kept at all costs. We could never do that before now.

EA reveals that players will be more conscious of their potential when signing contracts.

No longer can you sign the ‘up and coming prospect’ to an 8 year deal at 650K a year, and lock him in to a long term contract as he becomes the next Claude Giroux or Steven Stamkos. Now, players understand (via their growth model) that they may be an ‘AHL first liner NOW and will accept that type of money for the current year, but in three years, they’ll be good enough to be a first liner in the NHL, where they’ll expect bigger bucks.

(It might be worth mentioning that the Philadelphia Flyers actually signed Giroux before he reached his ceiling; they’re getting him at $3.75 million per year for two more seasons.)

This story includes details about tweaks to the trade system and how scouting is done.

It all sounds like it will make armchair GMs’ jobs more realistic than ever.

* – Go ahead, make a Scott Howson joke.

Erik Karlsson played through hairline fractures in foot to help Sens advance

Getty
1 Comment

Remember when many were keeping an eye on Erik Karlsson after he was seemingly cramping up after logging more than 40 minutes in an OT contest against the Boston Bruins.

It’s possible he was also dealing with that sort of ailment, but he earned some “hockey tough” kudos on Sunday after word surfaced that the Ottawa Senators defenseman was dealing with hairline fractures in his left heel through the series.

Sportsnet’s Jason York refers to the issue as “two small fractures” while ESPN’s Joe McDonald went into specifics, noting that Karlsson explains that the injury happened on March 28 (and was why he missed some games late in the season).

There’s some optimism as the Senators ready for the New York Rangers, at least according to Karlsson.

Hmm.

Either way, that’s impressive stuff from the Senators defenseman, and the sort of information that usually only surfaces after a team has been eliminated. We’ll see if he’s hindered by such issues as the playoffs go along.

Gaudreau, Granlund and Tarasenko: 2017 Lady Byng finalists

Getty
Leave a comment

The NHL officially announced the nominees for the 2017 Lady Byng on Sunday, and they’re a star-studded bunch: Johnny Gaudreau, Mikael Granlund and Vladimir Tarasenko.

The PHWA determines “the player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability.”

(Did Tarasenko help eliminate Granlund’s team in a gentlemanly fashion?)

For more on the three finalists, click here.

MacArthur, Senators end Bruins’ season in OT after controversial calls

16 Comments

It’s a feel-good story, especially if you can look beyond questions of officiating.

Clarke MacArthur could have very well never played another NHL game considering his lengthy battles with concussion symptoms. Instead, he drew a penalty on the Boston Bruins in overtime of Game 6 and then managed to score the series-clinching goal.

Now, this isn’t to say that MacArthur didn’t rightfully draw a penalty; it most clearly was. And, in the bigger picture, it’s one of those stories that almost makes you wonder if real-life sports actually do follow Hollywood scripts.

People just wonder about some other decisions during that overtime, in particular, making it frustrating for some Bruins fans to see the season end in such a way.

Whether they like it or not, that is the case, though.

The Senators took Game 6 by a score of 3-2 (OT), winning their series 4-2. They can breathe a sigh of relief in avoiding a Game 7, an especially valuable bonus since Erik Karlsson had been pushed hard lately, logging more than 40 minutes in a recent game.

Ottawa avoids a do-or-die contest. Instead, they’ll face the New York Rangers in the next round while the Bruins enter the summer following an up-and-down campaign.

Bergeron takes advantage of slow Sens change, sends Game 6 to OT (Video)

Leave a comment

Every game in this Senators – Bruins series has been decided by one goal, so why not send Game 6 to overtime?

Oh, and speaking of overtime, this contest going beyond regulation makes it 17 OT games, tying an NHL record for the most in a single round.

Ottawa appeared to take a “lazy change” with a 2-1 lead, and Patrice Bergeron made the Senators pay, putting in a rebound to collect the goal that eventually sent this contest to overtime.