Cover art for EA Sports' first Wii hockey game, "NHL Slap Shot"

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Today seems to be an interesting one for video game news (I’ll provide some “NHL 11” related nuggets later) for whatever reason. For those Wii-only owners who have been chomping at the bit for nhlslapshotcover.jpg

Wow, Wayne Gretzky looks so young in that photo. Boyish, even. Could it be the magic of Photoshop or the “Oil of Olay”-like effect of not being an NHL head coach anymore?

Either way, putting “The Great One” on the cover is a great way to attract a wider audience, which makes sense since the Wii is a system owned by a wide array of people. Everyone from Nintendo devotees/dorks to college girls to grandmas can enjoy the simplicity of the system’s control scheme, so planting the sport’s most recognizable figure on the cover is a wise choice.

The cover also features the game’s mini-hockey stick controller, which might be the most intriguing thing about “NHL Slap Shot.” Every time I’ve tried to play the other NHL-licensed Wii game (2K Sports’ “NHL 2K” series), it’s been a flailing failure. If EA nails the stick peripheral, it could be a real hit among video game loving hockey fans.