Kukla's Korner Hockey
We’re still dealing with hot weather and barbecues, but I’m already into my first Fantasy Hockey Mailbag article for Kukla’s Korner. If you already have a burning question about fantasy hockey, send your question to gooding74 at shaw.ca.
Late Friday night, as I awoke from my flu-induced coma, I quickly jumped online to check out what I (and many others) expected to be a major update from EA Sports regarding the new “Anticipation A.I.” in NHL 12. They had previously released a nice video-comparison showing the differences between the “old A.I.” of NHL 11 and the “new Anticipation A.I.” to be featured in NHL 12. So naturally, everyone had assumed that Friday’s update would be a new developer/producer blog that would further go into detail about this new feature, as had been the previous status quo set by EA. Further intimated by EA’s NHL 12 “features whiteboard” which under the “Anticipation A.I.” section stated: “More information coming July 29th!”
Alright, now that my involuntary exile from the internet is finally over, and my modem again blinks green with delight, I bring you the latest NHL 12 update. Yesterday, EA released a new video showing off some of the new features of the “Full Balance Control” system, new for the upcoming NHL 12.
As a major part of EA’s plan for a “three year physics overhaul”, with NHL 12 representing the second year of the process, this new FBC system was designed to bring a much more realistic feel to checks, as well as any kind of contact a player might have with another player (or the boards). Gone now are the “awkward” checks that would send players flying off their skates for seemingly no reason, at least no reason to those of us with a rudimentary understanding of basic physics.
EA sites these three major points on their “Features Whiteboard” for NHL 12’s FBC system:
note: Want to make sure everyone had a chance to see this offer from Amazon, plus it helps out KK. Original post time was 11:30am today.
The schedules release date for NHL’12 is September 13, 2011.
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Over the years, I have had many requests for a consistent blog regarding fantasy hockey.
I finally found Ian Gooding to do just that, so let the fun begin.
Hello Kukla’s Korner website visitors,
My name is Ian Gooding, and I’m going to be providing something brand spanking new to Kukla’s Korner: a fantasy hockey blog.
I’ve spent the last five years as a writer for fantasyhockey.com, with the last four of those as the site’s content manager. I’ve won numerous fantasy hockey leagues and hockey pools throughout my life, and I’ve helped many others out there do the same. You name the league type - head-to-head, rotisserie, points, single-season, keeper, salary cap, auction, pick any 20 players, check off boxes – and I’ve probably played it. In fact, I’ve played in leagues so deep that I once needed to add Wade Belak from the waiver wire. Yet, it is still an honor for me to be joining one of the finest hockey websites in cyberspace.
EA dropped a bit of a bombshell in people laps when they released a new video for “Be a Pro” for NHL 12 on Wednesday. There wasn’t a bunch of new information revealed, but one very significant piece of news did come from this, as they announced that there will now be a staggering 18 levels of player development. As opposed to the usual six levels (Amateur, Rookie, Professional, Veteran, Superstar, and Legend) that players have become accustomed to since the feature was first introduced in NHL ‘09.
At this point, it has been assumed by the community, that these same levels will also be used for your online BAP, just as they have been mirrored in previous years, all be it with different requirements needed to level up your pro online in the EASHL as opposed to offline. But nothing has been officially confirmed by EA regarding “online communities” as they have remained rather mum on details for the upcoming changes to the EASHL. And as it stands now, information about this has been given an ominous “TBD” date in terms of release info on EA’s official “white board” of NHL 12 features.
Although, last week EA at least shredded the shroud of mystery about when new information about NHL 12 would be released, as they appear to be following a regular pattern of announcements planned for every Wednesday and Friday of each week. And following this same pattern, we can expect to finally have the egg of “online info” cracked sometime in the first few two weeks of August, at least, presumably. Considering the demo for NHL 12 is expected to be released sometime in mid to late August, as per usual.
from Rob Higgins at the Toronto Sun,
DO YOU REALIZE?
• that Ryan Malone leads the NHL in power play goals since Nov. 23 with 5?
• that Brandon Prust leads the NHL in shorthanded goals in the same amount of time with 3?
• that Henrik Zetterberg is averaging more shots on goal per game (4.8) than Alexander Ovechkin (4.6) this month?
• that in December Keith Yandle has more points per game (1.12) and shots on goal per game (3.7) than any blue liner in the league, including Dustin Byfuglien?
• that this month Marc Staal and Marc Giordano both have more points per game than Kris Letang, Shea Weber, Drew Doughty, Byfuglien and John-Michael Liles?
from Matt Cubeta of NHL.com,
• Blue Jackets defenseman Rostislav Klesla leads the NHL with a plus-14 rating—though this may not last long if history is any indication. Klesla, a minus-46 in his career over the course of 10 seasons in Columbus, has never posted a plus/minus higher than plus-7 in any single season. The 28-year-old defenseman has just 4 assists, 6 PIMs, no PPP and 10 SOG so far and is owned in just 1 percent of Yahoo!
• Two Pittsburgh Penguins lead NHL forwards in power-play ice time per game, and both of them are centers. Obviously, we’re talking about superstars Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby. Malkin actually leads all players with 6:37 of PP ice time per game, with Sid averaging 6:14 (third among all players—Islanders defenseman James Wisniewski is second at 6:24). The interesting part about this statistic is that Sid has just seven power-play points and Malkin has only four!
from Rob Higgins at the Toronto Sun,
What do the following players have in common?
Andrew Ladd, F, ATL
Dustin Byfuglien, D, ATL
Steve Montador, D, BUF
Hot starts, you say? Indeed, all have met and/or exceeded the expectations attached to them. They’ve been afforded purpose and responsibility and have, generally speaking, met the challenge. Their contributions on the ice and on the score sheet have been significant and well documented.
This is also a group of NHL professionals, with agents, in the business of playing hockey for a living and another thing they share is having 2010-11 be their contract season. UFA or RFA, these skaters are all playing for financial security.
I’m not suggesting that the business side of the game is the sole and prime motivator for a pro athlete, but it’s human to push yourself for an evaluation and to relax a little bit after you’ve made the grade.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
Assuming the universe aligns logically - and that is a big assumption, given how injuries can compromise the scoring race - it is unlikely that anyone outside of the aforementioned two Russians, or Crosby, will be crowned NHL scoring champion. If anyone can pulls off a Sedin and unexpectedly jumps to the top, it would likely be Ovechkin’s Capitals’ teammate Nicklas Backstrom, who has developed into an exceptional player in his own right.
Even though there is a more open style of play in the new NHL, only 30 players managed 70 points last year and injuries ruined the years of a whole bunch of above-average talents, including two who suffered serious concussions, Marc Savard and David Booth. Thus far, Booth has been okay in camp, while Savard, normally a reliable point-per-game player, is out indefinitely.
Others coming off injury-filled years - such as Ales Hemsky and Johan Franzen were far off their usual numbers last as a result, but should rebound significantly, barring no further setbacks (like the charleyhorse Franzen suffered in the opening exhibition game). Don’t overlook either Jiri Hudler or Nikolai Zherdev, both back after one-year hiatuses in Russia. Hudler had 57 and Zherdev 58 in their last full NHL seasons and could probably fall into the “sleeper” class if someone is drafting strictly off last year’s stats.
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
Email Paul anytime at email@example.com