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EA Sports introduces “GM Brain” in NHL 13

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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.

Video: Evander Kane believes he won his fights vs. Alex Petrovic

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The Florida Panthers are beating up the Buffalo Sabres where it counts – on the scoreboard – but Evander Kane was happy to highlight his perceived victories in a couple bouts.

Buffalo’s power forward fought Alex Petrovic twice on Tuesday, and Kane wasn’t shy about holding up a “2-0.”

You can watch the second fight above, and the first one below, via Hockey Fights by way of MSG:

This GIF might just say it all, really:

Update: Apparently they fought again moments after this post went up.

Probably safe to call it a rivalry between the two, right?

Fight video: Yes, a visor-breaking punch

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Some hockey players resist the urge to wear a visor, at least if they’re given that choice.

Perhaps a few will say “Hey, Nathan Beaulieu will just punch it off anyway.”

Maybe not, but Beaulieu provided a rather unique moment in his fight with Cedric Paquette during the Montreal Canadiens – Tampa Bay Lightning game. You can watch that bout in the video above, and see a cut on the Lightning pest’s face from that blow.

Want it in GIF form? OK then:

Sending a message: Flames scratch Gaudreau, Monahan, Bouma

Calgary Flames' Sean Monahan, left, celebrates his goal with teammate Johnny Gaudreau during the third period against the Carolina Hurricanes in an NHL hockey game Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2016, in Calgary, Alberta. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press via AP)
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Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau figure to be a big part of the Calgary Flames’ forward group, both in the present and the future.

That said, it the very specific present, they’ll be watching Tuesday’s game from the press box.

After an unsatisfactory practice amid flailing playoff hopes, Flames head coach Bob Hartley made a big statement tonight, taking Monahan, Gaudreau and Lance Bouma out of the lineup as healthy scratches against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Wow.

It’s amusing timing, too, as the Maple Leafs will roll with a bit of a skeleton crew of their own after that splashy Dion Phaneuf trade.

Some background

Sportsnet’s Mark Spector was there for the practice, which was unusually short at 25 minutes.

“He wasn’t happy with the way we were practicing,” David Jones told Spector. “It’s a little embarrassing when we’re not (making) five-foot passes.

“I think he was pretty pissed off about the way things were looking.”

Call it a combination of poor execution and maybe a tardy arrival … perhaps from a Super Bowl party or two?

Bruins pay warm tribute to Milan Lucic

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Milan Lucic may or may not spend a big chunk of his career with the Los Angeles Kings, but the Boston Bruins haven’t forgotten his contributions.

(Their fans haven’t, either.)

The Bruins shared a tribute video for Lucic, decked out in a loud, retro-style Kings sweater on Tuesday. The hulking winger seemed to appreciate the nod from his former team, and also acknowledged fans who watched him develop into one of the league’s most formidable power forwards.

(H/T to the Score by way of The Hockey Beat for the video.)