EA Sports introduces “GM Brain” in NHL 13


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.

Flyers want to prove doubters wrong

Jakub Voracek, Claude Giroux
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Jakub Voracek totally understands why nobody’s expecting much from the Philadelphia Flyers. When a team finishes 14 points out of the playoffs the year before, that’s typically going to be the case.

“We weren’t good enough last year, let’s face it,” Voracek told CSN Philly. 

So, no, it doesn’t upset him that the Flyers aren’t considered among the Stanley Cup favorites.

That being said, “it makes you feel you want to prove them wrong.”

The Flyers get going tonight with a tough game against the Lightning in Tampa Bay. They also play Saturday in Florida against the Panthers, before a rematch with the Panthers Monday in Philadelphia.

“My biggest concern would be getting off to a good start,” GM Ron Hextall said. “That’s one thing that we need to do.”

That’s something they didn’t do last year. In fact, they won just once in their first six games. By the end of November, they were 8-12-3 and in a big hole — one that proved too deep to climb out of.

Related: Flyers to start season with seven defensemen

Coyotes place towering enforcer John Scott on waivers

John Scott, Brandon Davidson
The Canadian Press via AP
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The Arizona Coyotes might not be using John Scott‘s services after all.

The team waived him this afternoon, per Craig Morgan. It’s possible that the Coyotes are simply giving themselves options as Scott clearing would allow them to send him down quickly at any point until he plays in 10 games or 30 days pass. At the same time, any team looking for a gritty fourth-line forward or third-pairing defenseman might be tempted to claim him in light of his affordable $575K cap hit for the 2015-16 campaign.

Scott is an imposing presence on the ice at 6-foot-8 and 260 pounds, but he doesn’t bring much to the table other than his physical play and willingness to drop the gloves. In terms of offensive abilities, he’s among the least capable in the league. In fact, the four points he recorded last season with the San Jose Sharks represented a career-high for the 33-year-old.

Meanwhile, Dan Cleary went unclaimed on waivers, according to Bob McKenzie, setting the stage for him to be reassigned to the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins.