Another NHL '11 Trailer: Previewing new physics, faceoff engine, etc.

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With the scary and sad summer sans hockey already upon us – but the free agent flood gradually downgrading to a trickle – we’ll have to entertain ourselves with debates and various other topics. That actually should be a lot of fun, but many hockey fans will get their hockey fix in polygonal form.

Electronic Arts’ NHL series is the gold standard in hockey video games, so we’ll probably devote a little extra attention to their games. (Don’t worry, though, 2K Sports. We haven’t forgotten you, even if your games are kind of incomprehensible to Wii-novices such as myself.)

That means getting way too excited about every little nugget that comes our way, especially in the form of videos. Such as this one, via Gametrailers.com.

 

I’m still in the “broken sticks are just going to lead to broken controllers” camp. Sports video games face an eternal crisis of fun vs. realism – and while I haven’t experienced it personally – the idea of one of the worst things in hockey being replicated in a game makes me queasy. I don’t want to hear bad locker room music and would prefer to avoid being yelled at by Barry Trotz, so why should we experience one of the other things hockey players would rather avoid?

(Actually, angry red Trotz face would be something I’d love to see in polygonal form.)

I just know that I’ll overreact to a breakaway goal allowed because my defenseman broke his digi-stick and whomever is with me will lose those precious little bits of respect they had left for me after I flip over a coffee table. That will be a bummer.

While I was originally on the fence about the faceoff changes (the NHL2K series really dropped the ball with their changes, in my opinion), the idea of being able to shoot from the faceoff like Mario Lemieux nearly made me wet my pants. Seriously, that is incredibly cool.

As you can guess, I was already planning on buying the game anyway, but that doesn’t mean I can’t critique (and play) the game endlessly. What do you think of the series and the changes promised in the trailer?

(H/T to Sean Leahy.)

Canucks’ Ilya Mikheyev to have season-ending knee surgery

Ilya Mikheyev
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VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Vancouver Canucks right wing Ilya Mikheyev is set to have season-ending surgery on his left knee.

Canucks general manager Patrik Allvin said Friday night the 28-year-old Russian forward tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in the team’s first preseason game Sept. 25. Mikheyev will undergo surgery next week and is expected to be ready for training camp in the fall.

Mikheyev was originally listed as week-to-week with the injury and played 45 regular-season games, finishing with 13 goals and 15 assists. He scored in his final appearance Friday night, a 5-2 home victory over Columbus.

Mikheyev signed a four-year, $19 million contract as a free agent last summer.

Maple Leafs’ Matthews out at least 3 weeks with knee injury

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Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews will miss at least three weeks with a sprained knee.

The team announced the reigning MVP’s anticipated absence Friday, two days after Matthews was injured in Toronto’s victory against the New York Rangers.

Matthews is expected to miss at least six games and could be out for a few more. The timing of the injury coinciding with the NHL All-Star break and the Maple Leafs bye week prevents this from costing Matthews more time out of the lineup.

After being voted an All-Star by fans, Matthews is now out of the event scheduled for Feb. 3-4 in Sunrise, Florida. The league announced Aleskander Barkov from the host Florida Panthers will take Matthews’ place on the Atlantic Division All-Star roster.

Matthews, who won the Hart Trophy last season after leading the NHL with 60 goals, has 53 points in 47 games this season.

Caufield opted for surgery with Habs out of playoff race

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MONTREAL — Montreal Canadiens winger Cole Caufield said Friday he wouldn’t be having season-ending surgery on his right shoulder if the team were in playoff contention.

But with the Canadiens near the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings, the 22-year-old Caufield said he decided to have the surgery to protect his long-term health. The procedure is scheduled to be performed by Dr. Peter Millett on Wednesday.

“I didn’t want to stop playing,” Caufield said. “I had a couple tests done to look at it more clearly but, in the end, like it could’ve been one more fall and it could have been even worse.”

Caufield, who leads the Canadiens with 26 goals in 46 games, had three different medical opinions on his shoulder before concluding that his season was over.

“I think they’ve seen a lot more than I have and they know the differences and what they like or don’t like about it,” he said about the medical opinions. “Long term, I think this is what’s best but for sure it was tough to sit out that game against Toronto on Saturday night.”

Caufield initially felt the injury in an awkward fall during Montreal’s 4-2 loss at Dallas on Dec. 23. He said his right shoulder popped, and he replaced it himself.

Caufield felt it again in the Habs’ 4-3 loss at Nashville on Jan. 12. The club announced on Jan. 21 that Caufield would miss the rest of the season.

Caufield is nearing the end of his three-year, entry-level contract and will be a restricted free agent this summer.

All-Star Matty Beniers to miss next 2 games for Kraken

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Joe Nicholson/USA TODAY Sports
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SEATTLE — Seattle Kraken rookie All-Star Matty Beniers will miss the team’s final two games before the All-Star break after taking a big hit from Vancouver’s Tyler Myers earlier this week.

Seattle coach Dave Hakstol said after morning skate Friday that Beniers would not play Friday night against Calgary or Saturday against Columbus. Hakstol did not speculate on Beniers’ availability for next weekend’s All-Star Game in Florida.

The team has not specified what kind of injury Beniers sustained from the hit. He was barreled over by Myers away from the play early in the second period in Wednesday’s 6-1 victory over Vancouver. Myers was penalized for interference on the play. Beniers returned briefly for one shift later in the period but did not play in the third period.

Beniers is Seattle’s lone All-Star selection this season. He leads all rookies in goals (17) and points (36), and is fifth in total ice time for rookies.

Seattle also placed defenseman Justin Schultz on injured reserve and recalled forward Max McCormick from Coachella Valley of the AHL. Hakstol said Schultz is improving but there’s no timeline on his return.