You wouldn’t think that professional hockey players would play hockey videogames, but much like active duty soldiers in Iraq play Call of Duty, so too do NHLers occasionally dabble in EA Sports’ NHL series. Team Unwinnable traveled to Nassau Coliseum last week for the New York Islanders Draft Party and got a firsthand look as Isles’ stars Matt Moulson and Michael Grabner played NHL 11 against the winners of two kids’ tournaments held at the Coliseum.
Before the game, Moulson made his strategy known: “Go behind the net and pass to Grabner. I get 10 breakaways a game that way.” Moulson did get his fair share of breakaways in his game, but his Islanders beat the Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins 2-0 on an empty net goal scored by an electronic Matt Moulson rather than Grabner. The game might have been more of a laugher had Bruins’ goalie Tuukka Rask not put on such an impressive virtual performance.
On the other side of the Coliseum, Grabner wasn’t quite so lucky, as he lost to a team of two brothers and a cousin 4-2. In a post-game interview with Unwinnable, Grabner pinned the loss on one factor: “I didn’t have Frans Nielsen on my line.”
Not surprisingly, NHLers don’t play the game much differently than you or I. Isles forward Matt Martin played junior hockey with NHL 12 cover boy Steven Stamkos of the Tampa Bay Lightning and has a plan to recreate their line from their days with the OHL’s Sarnia Sting: “Maybe I’ll trade him over to the Islanders.” I’d be surprised if a lot of NHL 12 players didn’t do the same for their teams.
Talk hockey with Don @UnwinnableDonB