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NHL 12 Mid-Week Update: Legends Teaser Trailer Breakdown


Yesterday, via an exclusive with gametrailers.com EA Sports released a teaser trailer for the “Legends” to be featured in NHL 12. All but pretty much confirming that this is indeed the “big announcement” they have been talking about since day one.  As we are just about a mere month away from the game’s release in Europe on September 9, and North America on September 13.

Nice one EA… very much a “teaser” trailer indeed… lots of fast cuts, with epic music, and flashes of things that make your hockey mind wonder off in all sorts of directions… given what information we have thus far, as covered in my previous two weekly NHL 12 updates. News here though, at the end, there is a quick cut of an upcoming announcement on Spike TV on 1AM Thursday morning, August 11. Which is when I suspect we will get all of the official details regarding the inclusion of these hockey “Legends” into NHL 12.

Anyway, thankfully for those of you that have better things to do, I’ve been breaking down the trailer frame by frame, and examining the fine details, as have many other passionate fans around the world of the EA Sports NHL Franchise.

Now, let’s get right to the heart of this thing!

Cluster Pucks’ Breakdown of NHL 12 Legends Teaser Trailer

The trailer opens at first, with the reminder we get from them in nearly every official EA Sports NHL Franchise video to date… “Franchise Winner of 22 Sports Game of the Year Awards.” Then rolls into the classic EA Sports intro… but then an epic music score begins to pick up… and things begin to seem feel different than the average EA Sports NHL 12 video release.

A reminder of the release date, September 13. Under which it simply just says “They’re coming.”

Cut to Rexall Place, home of the Edmonton Oilers. The Oil-Tower introduction is in full effect for a shadowed silhouette that vaguely appears to be Wayne Gretzky in his prime, with a slight mullet, walking towards the ice. Then shots of a left-handed Oiler in a retro-style home jersey, is going down the open ice, the camera shots never revealing his name, number, or face. He takes a shot and scores a goal on a Calgary goaltender, also wearing a retro jersey. The Edmonton home crowd erupts in celebration of the goal.

I’ll take the time now to point out that most of the sweaters seen in this trailer are that of the current new ones, starting with the 2011-2012 season. Which aren’t a huge difference of what we’ve seen lately. I’ve yet to really read much about them, all I have noticed is a minor design change on the back, below the collar, where previous the Reebok “Edge” symbol has been replaced by small print of simply the word “Reebok”.

Anyway, I’ve heard some silly speculation on the internet-based NHL 12 communities who often look before they leap, that this goalie is Mike Vernon who would also perhaps be included on this list of “Legends” . Although if you freeze the frame, it’s clear that it’s Miikka Kiprusoff, wearing his #34 with his new pads. I don’t think it’s likely that Kipper will be one of two, (or more likely 3, considering scratches) Goaltenders for the rumored “Legendary Team”.

This is pretty much the same style of shots we see throughout the teaser. A semi-mysterious and unknown “Legend” player, and a modern day, non-legend. Presuming that the “Legend” in question is to be included in the game, it actually seems pretty obvious who’s who, given the various leaked information and rumors over the past two weeks. At least when you slow it down and look at it carefully. Back to the breakdown.

After the Gretzky clip, they cut to a quick shot of Joe Louis area. We see what is with little doubt in my mind, Mr. Hockey, Gordie Howe, from behind, with brown hair on a helmet-less head. He is shoving Boston star power-forward Milan Lucic in the face. Then as the image blurs, Lucic’s helmet drops to the ice.

Next, a quick shot of a game between Chicago and Vancouver at “The Madhouse on Madison”. We see a Chicago player wearing number 7, jostling for position with Chris Higgins of the Canucks. This is the only “featured” shot of the entire trailer where a “Legend’s” number is clearly seen, on the back of his helmet. However, this brings up a world of speculation upon further thought.

As Chris Chelios wore 7 when he spent nine seasons in Chicago. Yet, Chelios is far better known throughout his career for wearing number 24. Although Brent Seabrook’s also a number 7 wearer for Chicago, whose name was included in the initial, and very questionable, rumored roster list, he seemed like one of the several players who least likely belonged on that rumored roster list of “Legendary” hockey players. No offense to Seabrook, but I don’t think anyone could make much of a sound hockey argument that he is anywhere close to a “Legend” of the caliber we are generally dealing with here.

Note that this could also be Phil Esposito, who wore number 7 throughout the majority of his career, largely spent with Boston, but he did get his pro start playing four seasons in Chicago wearing number 7 before he went to Boston. To further add to trying to sort this out. Bobby Hull also wore number 7 for Chi-town for two seasons. As well as Ted Lindsay, who wore 7 in Detroit and his final three years of his career in Chicago, before returning to Detroit for one final season four years later.

Perhaps this was an intentional multi-layered, and multi-meaning shot with the number being visible. As I don’t hope that Seabrook would be included as a “Legend”... but Chelios, Esposito, Hull, and Lindsay would certainly deserve this honor, with little question. As I named all of them but Lindsay in my personal speculation of a hopefully “realistic” roster list of what would be a “Legendary Team” of some of the best hockey players of all time at their respective positions. Although, had I thought to include a possible “scratches” list for the sake of additional roster room, as I felt there were plenty of other deserving players left off my list. Lindsay would have been likely been highly up for consideration on an inclusion of such a list.

Moving on from that… as it still makes me wonder about whom it might represent.

A right handed Pittsburgh Penguin player skates past the blueline and makes a move around a Boston defenseman. This shot is all pretty much from the waist down, so it appears to be tricky to speculate much about who this is, but with a little common sense, it’s clearly Mario Lemieux. Someone in the EA Sports NHL Franchise ban base, also happened to find this very interesting little clip from reality, further hammering home it’s obviousness.

One of Super Mario’s most infamous goals, as he makes a nice move around legendary Boston defenseman, Ray Bourque. Upon comparison to the teaser trailer, it’s pretty much the exact same move. Nice little intentional reference there for the hardcore hockey fans, EA.

This of course, also brings up speculation about Boston defensemen to be included on this list of “Legends”. With the additional info of the leaked list of achievements in NHL 12 last week, it seems like Bobby Orr is pretty much a lock, as he should be. Although, I also happened to include Ray Bourque on my speculative “Legends” roster list. Which again leads me to wonder if this shot is also multi-layered, and perhaps has more meaning that would first appear.

Finally, the silhouettes of nine players are shown, one of them clearly a Goaltender. I highly suspect we are looking at far more than nine “Legends” to be included in the game, as there is rumored to be an entire “Legendary Team” worth of players.
Then the additional, continued tag-line of NHL 12 follows… “Be the Next Great Legend”. Followed by the announcement of the date and time of “more information”. Which is fast approaching… 1AM EST on Thursday morning.

End Teaser Breakdown

Now much can be speculated about the roster list, but let’s go beyond that for the moment, and consider the other things, since this indeed looks very likely to be the “big announcement” that EA Sports has hinted at ever since the first talks of NHL 12. This “announcement” has had many cryptic clues. Like how it will potentially apply to nearly all game modes… appeal to both hockey-and non-hockey fans, being exciting and thrilling for the NHL 12 development team to work on, etc.

As for the inclusion of these “Legends” into the game, I likely see it being done something like this…

They will have their own team, likely to be playable in play now and online versus, shootout, etc. Pretty much any game mode where you can select a team from any league. Although I have the feeling they will be listed in the “NHL” category, much like the All-Star teams, or how the Montreal 100-year anniversary team was. They would also be there to even be used as a replacement team in other modes, like Be a GM. Not to mention you could make all kinds of crazy custom roster moves, and make your own version of this “Legendary Team” as you see fit, or use some of the players to add to another roster.

I also think that for a mode like Be a GM, there perhaps might be a few options, similar to a Fantasy Draft option, as well as several other customizable aspects of this mode. That could have “Legends” included in a number of ways. Such as, having them in, and as a part of the team they played for, most likely the one at which they were in the prime of their careers with. Or perhaps putting them in the free agent pool… which with a salary cap on, could be considerably interesting, as one could speculate much about the issues of their “salaries” as well. Imagine doing a fantasy draft of the entire league including these “Legend” players… it would likely change much of the first rounds you are normally used to doing. There might perhaps, also be an option to have them only included in limited capacity to user controlled teams, such as having Howe on the current Red Wings roster, with no other “Legends” included for CPU teams in the league. I’m sure there might be more options, these are just some of the potential realistic ideas running through my head.

They would also be interesting in “Be a Pro”. Although most people prefer to make their own, there has always been the option of playing out the career of an existing player, in any league. Can you image trying to live up to what Gretzky actually accomplished in his career? Likely to start in the early years in Edmonton, as the Legends are likely to be depicted as being the prime of their careers, as noted by a few things in my breakdown of the teaser. Although you would probably still be playing current teams with the current year’s schedule and such… as it would take a bunch of other insane work to “perfectly” recreate his career from the beginning.

There of course would also likely be some inclusion into HUT. I’d image super-rare cards of “Legends” which would likely have to either have short careers or insane salaries, or both, for balance sake. They would probably also be of their own separate “Legendary Team” which will likely have its own logo, jerseys, etc. As opposed to the team they were most famous for playing for, again, for the sake of chemistry balance, considering their likely stats.

Which bring up the other huge question to speculate about… what kind of stats will these “Legends” have. I’m going to take a shot in the dark and say pretty high for some, like Gretzky. Again, with the whole “prime of their careers” speculation I’m making… that would make most of these “Legends” likely to have pretty impressive stats, at least in certain areas.

There is much to speculate about in all of this upcoming “Legends” big announcement. Thankfully, we won’t have to wait very much longer to hopefully finally get all of the info, and you know, I’ll be here to break it all down, and see what it potentially means for NHL 12.

Also, my personal apologies for the lack of posts the last two days… I got tied up with personal issues… but it’s okay, they were rather good ones. Expect things to return to normal around here at Cluster Pucks.


Filed in: Fantasy Hockey and Gaming, Doug Miller, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: ea+sports+nhl+12, gordie+howe, mario+lemieux, wayne+gretzky



Personally, I have a feeling EA might bring back the party mode franchise; i.e. not hockey fans would be able to play an arcade style—like the NHL arcade they have for PSN and Xbox Live.

Of which, you’d be able to go head-to-head against a friend, online or off-, and try to win.

Or, they could be trophies for achievements in be-a-gm, etc.

Posted by Dlachine from Kingston on 08/09/11 at 07:13 PM ET

Primis's avatar

When 11 came out, HUT was a huge selling point for me.

With 12, I don’t see Legends compelling me to purchase it.

I’m just continually unimpressed here…

Posted by Primis on 08/09/11 at 07:29 PM ET

Doug Miller's avatar

I don’t really consider the inclusion of “Legends” as a huge selling point in NHL 12. It’s just icing on the cake.

For me, the huge selling point of NHL 12 is pretty much everything… like all the enhancements and additions to game play, presentation, sim engine, AI, physics, you name it… everything is going to be an improvement on last year. Which is pretty much how it has always been with sports games throughout the history of time of their existence.

Why everyone isn’t impressed by what the NHL-series development team at EA Sports has been able to do year after year, is just beyond me. Sure, there are always going to be things to nit-pick about. However, this is hockey we are talking about here, the most complex sport there is, and thus, the hardest one to recreate an accurate simulation of… it will likely never be perfect, but it does get better year after year.

I honestly don’t think the average hockey fan has much of an idea about how complex and time-consuming video game development is in the first place, and the NHL-Series dev. team constantly works year round on a year-long development cycle to add to and build upon the basis on the existing game engine. Although we are still upcoming the second year of part of a three year overhaul to that basic engine.

They do all of this for a small (compared to other sports franchises), but very passionate fan base, one which they very much listen to and take into consideration, as they too are themselves fans of the sport and the game.

I honestly don’t know what more people could realistically ask for of a development team, for what is always an excellent hockey video game that only gets better every single year…

Posted by Doug Miller from Wyandotte, MI on 08/09/11 at 07:52 PM ET

Guilherme's avatar

I honestly don’t know what more people could realistically ask for of a development team, for what is always an excellent hockey video game that only gets better every single year…

Yeah, for those who have consoles.

Posted by Guilherme from Brazsil on 08/09/11 at 08:17 PM ET


I’m pretty pumped about the legends.  Along with everything else, it seems to me this year will be a big one, even if it is small improvements (the more the better).  Can’t wait to get the game!

Posted by pens fan in baltimore on 08/09/11 at 08:20 PM ET

Doug Miller's avatar

Along with everything else, it seems to me this year will be a big one, even if it is small improvements (the more the better). - Posted by pens fan in baltimore

To me, it’s the little things that really end up making the big difference. Like last year, in NHL 11, the new passing system was a small feature, but had a huge impact on how the entire game was played.

Just like the small little change this year, to more realistic puck physics alone will also change (to some extent) how the game is played, especially for certain positions, like Goaltender. I’m already worried about the first one-knee one-timer from top of the circle that turns into a knuckle-puck. That’s going to be fun to learn how to best stop, haha.

Yeah, for those who have consoles. - Posted by Guilherme

I don’t know the full story behind it, but I’m guessing that was a necessary sacrifice that had to be made at some point to save money and time for the development team. A decision that I’d presume came from a high-up corporate level at EA. I’m sure they would still love to be making the game for the PC if they could. I really do feel bad for many fans that don’t have access to a console to play the games on.

Posted by Doug Miller from Wyandotte, MI on 08/09/11 at 08:43 PM ET

Primis's avatar

Doug, I know what you’re saying.  I’ve mentioned before I don’t get the “But 2k...”
crowd and why.

However, it does really aggravate me that EA often introduces new features to the series and then just leaves them broken as hell, moving on to other facets instead of fixing them.  And HUT is broken as hell once you really start to build.  And OTP/Drop-In is also broken as hell still in a variety of interface and gameplay ways.  I used to buy every single EA NHL game but recently I’ve stopped and I only buy every 2 or 3, because for the pricepoint there’s not enough New and Fixed for me usually.

For the record too, the NHL series is only behind Madden (yes I believe it outsells NCAA).  It’s not a “small” sports game fanbase, it’s still a huge, international one, and quite frankly as much as they hang their hats on Madden for sales, they hang their hats on NHL for critical praise and awards.  The now-probably-dead NBA and MLB games couldn’t touch NHL.

Posted by Primis on 08/10/11 at 12:46 AM ET

Doug Miller's avatar

However, it does really aggravate me that EA often introduces new features to the series and then just leaves them broken as hell, moving on to other facets instead of fixing them.  And HUT is broken as hell once you really start to build.  And OTP/Drop-In is also broken as hell still in a variety of interface and gameplay ways. Posted by Primis

Right… as clearly proven by EA’s new hitting physics put into NHL 11, that were quite flawed, and thus, an immediate and major focus of improvement in NHL 12. Yeah, EA is so lazy…

I’ve never spent a whole ton of time with HUT last year, so I’m not going to comment on the build mechanics, but they were never an issue for me, I just hated the clumsy UI, which made roster management take far longer than it should have. It does look like most of the issues that do seem to be there, are getting addressed in NHL 12, but until they take out the “real money” issue, which will never happen, it will always have flaws, but it is what is. They made it more accessible to casual players now, which I’m all for, and will probably spend far more time with it this year than I did last year.

As for OTP/Drop-In… the only “interface” problems are minor, ranging from the OTP lobbies all being numbered the same (which I suspect will be fixed) and that’s only a minor annoyance at best, not a huge issue. The biggest current interface problem I suppose is that you can’t select your position before everyone joins the game, which is something I also find highly likely to be addressed in NHL 12, given the new custom player builds for each position, and the fact that everyone has been asking for it for years.

As for “gameplay” issues in these modes, that stems from the sad fact that the majority of people who play these modes, have little to no hockey sense what so ever, and don’t usually bother to even wear headsets in any attempt at team communication. You can’t blame that one on EA…. it’s not their fault these people seemingly have no clue how to play hockey despite the fact that they are playing a serious hockey sim. Which again, is why the heart of the EASHL will always be in Club play, where players actually know what they are doing, as I continue to repeat endlessly.

For the record too, the NHL series is only behind Madden (yes I believe it outsells NCAA).  It’s not a “small” sports game fanbase, it’s still a huge, international one, and quite frankly as much as they hang their hats on Madden for sales, they hang their hats on NHL for critical praise and awards.  The now-probably-dead NBA and MLB games couldn’t touch NHL. Posted by Primis

I didn’t know the exact numbers, but I decided to go look them up for the sake of argument… because I know first-hand just how insanely small the online player base “feels” in the current NHL-series. It’s beyond sad, and the numbers only back that up.

Going by franchise sales totals internationally… they are as follows for major sports franchises.

1. FIFA - 100 Million
2. Madden NFL - 85 Million
3. NBA Live - 35 Million
4. EA Sports NASCAR series - 9 Million
5. Hot Shots Golf - 7.5 Million
6. Championship Manager (soccer-management sim) - 6 Million
7. NBA 2K series - 6 Million
8. NBA Jam - 6 Million
9. MLB 2K series - 5.5 Million

I left a number of “sports” franchises off that list, as I was trying to focus on “major” sports franchises mostly, there are a number of racing games and other such things that would otherwise be included though.

As for where EA Sports NHL-series is? I have no clue, the list cuts off anything below 5 million. NCAA wasn’t listed either, so I don’t even know where the two compare. Either way, it’s pretty sad considering EA’s NHL franchise has been around nearly as long as Madden, and longer than FIFA… although I find FIFA’s numbers no surprise considering that soccer is the world’s most popular sport, by far.

Hockey still gets little respect in the world of sports fans in general. Just like yesterday, and just like tomorrow. Nothing has changed. Yes, the NHL-series has been given continued praise by the video game industry media, for being an outstanding sports franchise, because it is, but that has yet to translate into major sales. Because hockey still isn’t that popular of a sport, even internationally, the sport still continues to show major growth though, and I really don’t worry all that much about the continued improvements to my favorite alternative to actually playing real hockey.

I rest my case.

Posted by Doug Miller from Wyandotte, MI on 08/10/11 at 02:50 AM ET

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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.

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