Last November, I ran the first annual FirstHour.net NHL season and playoff predictions using EA Sports' NHL 11. I think the only prediction that could even be stretched as "correct" was that Alex Ovechkin would have the worst offensive season of his career (though even my NHL 11 sim did not predict he would finish with a paltry 32 goals). And although the Atlanta Thrashers didn't win the Stanley Cup in 2011, something pretty important did happen to that franchise during the playoffs...
Well, here we are again. A new NHL season, a new NHL game. This year, we'll see if the official FirstHour.net predictions are more accurate using the new NHL 12. Don't worry about our track record: this is the year, people. Put all your money where we say to. And disregard that some of these predictions are already impossible.
End of Playoffs update: Well, that does it for NHL hockey this summer. Congrats to the Los Angeles Kings on their first Stanley Cup victory. We certainly didn’t predict that. We didn’t predict a lot of things that happened this year, but we improved on last year’s airball. This post has been updated with the verdict on each of our predictions.
As sports games trend towards delivering a true-to-life experience to players, the systems and stats behind the play system are becoming increasingly complex. The result, I've found, is a genre that is taking more control out of the player's hand and giving it to the CPU in order to keep a Cowboys/Steelers matchup in Madden from turning into an 79-3 blowout, a rather common outcome when I was playing NFL '95 on the Genesis. I can appreciate the effort to mimic the pro league norm, but I can't help but feel a bit cheated when I can do everything right in NBA Live and not go 82-0 on the season.
Oddly enough, this devotion to believability and authenticity has driven me away from the sports game genre in recent years, though I still take time to play EA's NHL series now and then. Still, I've found that I'm more interested in the peripheral modes and features than I am in the standard game options. Running simulations of season and playoff matches has become commonplace, and it is quite impressive to see just how believable the outcomes are, barring the last season sim I completed that resulted in the Columbus Blue Jackets winning the Stanley Cup with a 16-2 record in the playoffs. That's a little much to expect from a team that has only one winning season in its existence.
We're now almost a quarter of the way through the 2010-2011 NHL Season, and I've been waiting to run a simulation for the site since NHL 11 came out in September. Unfortunately for me, it took EA nearly two months to release a roster update that actually reflected accurate rosters for the season. Then it took them another week to fix it. Anyway, it's time to place some bets, people: here are your 100% guaranteed* results for the 2010-2011 NHL Season.
* results guaranteed to be incorrect