Tag: Video

Tampa Bay Lightning v Boston Bruins - Game Seven

Video: Zdeno Chara puts his own spin on accepting the Prince of Wales Trophy

When the Boston Bruins managed to protect their 1-0 lead and win Game 7 against the Tampa Bay Lightning, many shifted their thoughts to their matchup against the Vancouver Canucks. Yet after they finished the time-honored tradition of the post-series handshakes,* a subset of the hockey public wondered: would Bruins captain Zdeno Chara touch the Prince of Wales Trophy?

In case you aren’t aware, many players are superstitious when it comes to touching the conference championship trophies. The gesture is obviously made to signify the belief that the ultimate goal is still four wins away.

Still, many captains decide to touch the trophies anyway. This post points out the fact that captains who touched one of the conference trophies are 4-5 since 2001, then polled PHT readers to see if they believe captains should touch the trophies. (A little under 52 percent said “No.”)

At first, it seemed like Chara would go the predictable route and not touch the Prince of Wales trophy. Chara did refrain from touching it, but he put his own spin on the ceremony by inviting his teammates over to pose around it. One might say that Chara channeled his inner Mike Eruzione in that moment, albeit on a much smaller scale.

(Eruzione – captain of the 1980 “Miracle on Ice” U.S. Olympic team – invited his teammates to cram on a podium intended for one person during the gold medal ceremony.)

It’s probably a stretch to say that Chara made an homage to that moment, but either way, it was an interesting twist on a rather silly tradition. Both Chara and Vancouver Canucks captain Henrik Sedin refrained from touching the respective trophies this year, so the record will stay at 4-5 for another year.

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* The most emotional moment there likely belonged to Tim Thomas and Martin St. Louis, who were college teammates at the University of Vermont.

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EA Sports’ NHL ’12 bits: First video preview, release date set at September 13


With the 2011 Stanley Cup playoffs still in high gear, EA Sports is starting to allow some information about NHL ’12 to come out. Last week we discussed an intriguing screenshot that indicated that the Winter Classic would be playable in the game, but more information came through on Wednesday.

Before we delve deeper into some of the interesting information made available in that preview, it’s important to note the expected ship date is September 13. There was some concern that the NHL series would follow Madden’s example of shipping shortly before the beginning of the 2011-12 season, but it’s a relief to see that NHL ’12 will only come out about a week later than NHL ’11 did in 2010. (NHL ’11 released on September 7, 2010.)

Before we get into some of our analysis of the preview, check out the video EA Sports released on your own if you feel like it. (Video via Operation Sports.)

Our take

A lot of people will get excited about the possibility of checking their friends’ (or online foes) players through the glass or into the benches, but the gameplay changes are probably the most exciting thing about the video.

Most precisely, seeing that goalies might have a little more personality is heartening. Too often goalies are either a) impregnable digital forces or b) gullible, padded masses of Swiss cheese. I haven’t enjoyed fighting in hockey video games since the Sega Genesis days so the goalie fights aren’t a huge draw for me, but it’s amusing that the feature will be added nonetheless.

The fact that the game is paying more attention to some of the “little things” like screening goalies (and goalies fighting through those screens) should help improve the depth of an already deep game. If there’s one thing NHL ’11 lacked it was a certain sense of spontaneity, so hopefully that will be fixed a bit in NHL ’12.

Additional takes

IGN points out that the game is expected to have a presentation style that will ape the league’s TV presentations. The preview details stats that might go a little deeper than previous editions, which could be an exciting thing for dorks such as myself.

Operation Sports points to an EA Sports press release that details the game’s revamped “Be a Pro” mode as another possible area of improvement.

In the revamped Be a Pro mode, experience the pursuit of greatness and legendary moments in your playing career, shatter historic records and cement yourself in NHL history. Additionally, the better you play, the more ice time you’ll get where you can simulate to your next shift so you’re always on the ice as you play out your entire career in pursuit of the Stanley Cup.


Overall, it seems promising. EA Sports might not feel much competition nipping at its heels (more on that later), but the company is still making some tweaks to a winning formula. Hopefully the company will continue to prove that it won’t just crank out “annual roster updates” for its great hockey franchise.

If they follow through on some of the promises they made in that preview, then NHL ’12 could be another great hockey title.

(Screenshot via Operation Sports.)

Video: Zdeno Chara reflects on his time with the Boston Bruins

Zdeno Chara

Zdeno Chara traveled an interesting path to becoming a Norris Trophy-caliber defenseman with the Boston Bruins.

It was reasonable to wonder if Chara would find a way to grow into his body when he was a struggling young defenseman with the New York Islanders. After two straight -27 seasons in 1999-2000 and 00-01, he was shipped to the Ottawa Senators in a trade that would be retrospectively criticized. It didn’t take him long to become an impact player on a talented (but ultimately disappointing?) Senators team, but the front office faced what seemed like a tough decision at the time. They had two expensive defensemen to choose from and opted for Wade Redden instead of Chara, possibly due to the perception that Chara didn’t come through in the playoffs. Obviously, this was another case in which hindsight wouldn’t be friendly to the team that passed on “Big Z.”

The Bruins were looking for an identity after trading Joe Thornton and found it thanks to a big free agent deal to acquire Chara in 2006. The team has blossomed since, although they’ve fallen victim to some tough losses along the way. The video below spotlights Chara’s highest and lowest points with Boston, although that story will continue in the 2011 playoffs and beyond considering the seven-year contract extension he signed during this season.

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Video: Hockey Central previews Sharks-Canucks Game 5

Sharks Oilers Hockey

This San Jose Sharks team has excelled in many ways that people rarely associate with their franchise. They avoided coughing up a 3-0 series lead against the Detroit Red Wings even if every game of the series was a nail-biter. The Sharks completed one of the best comebacks in playoff history against the Los Angeles Kings before gutting out a 4-2 series win. In a nutshell, this is a team Sharks fans should be proud of.

It’s quite possible that they met their match in the Vancouver Canucks, though. A lot of people want to say that the Sharks are choking, but that ignores the fact that the Canucks were far and away the best team in the NHL this season. Can you really choke if the other team is just better?

There are a few Sharks players who need to produce better results, though. Dany Heatley has been virtually invisible, a tough thing to stomach considering his $7.5 million annual salary cap hit. What might be more disturbing is the struggles of Joe Pavelski, who was a playoff hero in 2010.

Meanwhile, the Canucks are enjoying the benefits of the Sedin twins receiving some easier matchups than the previous two rounds. Henrik Sedin generated four assists in Game 4 while his brother Daniel had three of his own. That explosive performance placed Henrik alone atop the list of 2011 playoff scorers with 19 points.

Win or lose, we’ll find out something about these two teams in Game 5 (starting at 9 p.m. ET on Versus). Jeremy Roenick and Keith Jones provide their takes on this contest in the Hockey Central preview below.

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Video: Vincent Lecavalier enjoys Tampa Bay’s return to playoff relevance

Vincent Lecavalier

A lot of people want to see Vincent Lecavalier return to the form that made him a 108-point player in 2006-07 and a 92-point guy in 07-08. The Tampa Bay Lightning might rank on top of that list considering the staggering amount of money* they’ll pay him through 2019-20 (barring a trade or retirement).

It seems like the true Lecavalier is the one we’ve seen during the last few years, though. Injuries shortened his 2010-11 regular season, but his 54 points in 65 games followed the pace he achieved during healthier seasons in 09-10 (70 points) and 08-09 (67 points).

Such productivity might be unsatisfying considering his enormous pay checks – especially after Steven Stamkos gets a huge raise this summer as a restricted free agent – but the team’s patience with Lecavalier is paying off in the 2011 playoffs. The large, talented captain of the Bolts is tied with his teammate Martin St. Louis and two other players for second place in playoff points with 17 in 15 games played.

That’s the kind of output you hope to see from your highly paid captain in the games that matter the most. Honestly, these impressive results are reminiscent of the kind of run Lecavalier, St. Louis and the 2004 Stanley Cup-winning Lightning produced seven years ago. Tampa Bay’s franchise has gone through some serious lows since then, with Lecavalier feeling some serious heat in that span.

Those bitter moments probably make the triumphant times that much sweeter, though. Lecavalier discusses his journey in the video below.

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* – Lecavalier’s contract calls for a $10 million annual salary through 2015-16, followed by $8.5 million in 16-17, $4 million in 17-18, $1.5 million in 18-19 and $1 million in 19-20. Yikes.