A simulation run by EA SPORTS™ NHL® 12 predicts that Sidney Crosby, despite missing almost 17 games during the regular season, will lead the Pittsburgh Penguins to a second place finish in the Eastern Conference standings (100 points) and their fourth Stanley Cup® Championship. Crosby will be awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as the Penguins take home the Stanley Cup in a decisive 4-2 series win against a resurgent Chicago Blackhawks team. The Vancouver Canucks will capture the Presidents’ Trophy in back-to-back years with 114 points during the regular season. The EA SPORTS NHL franchise has a history of successful simulation predictions, accurately selecting: the Chicago Blackhawks as the 2010 Stanley Cup® champions, the Vancouver Canucks® as the 2011 Presidents’ Trophy winner, and the 2011 Stanley Cup Final matchup of the Boston Bruins and Vancouver Canucks.
According to the simulation, last year’s Stanley Cup Champion Boston Bruins will be unable to claim back-to-back glory as the new-look Philadelphia Flyers will eliminate the former champions during the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs in five games. The Vancouver Canucks will lose in the Western Conference Final to the Chicago Blackhawks in seven games, adding fuel to the rivalry that has gripped the two cities in recent years.
Other notable team storylines the simulation predicted for the 2011-2012 NHL season are as follows:
- The Toronto Maple Leafs will squeak out an eighth place finish in the Eastern Conference, making the Playoffs for the first time in seven seasons
- The Minnesota Wild will finish eighth in the Western Conference and will make the Playoffs for the first time since 2008
- The Tampa Bay Lightning will once again miss out on the Stanley Cup Final; eliminated by the Penguins in a seven game Eastern Conference Final
Several individual players also stood out in the NHL® 12 simulation. Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin will once again lead the League offensively, posting 110 points and will take home several pieces of hardware, winning the Art Ross, Ted Lindsay and the Hart Memorial trophies. NHL®12 Cover Athlete Steven Stamkos will capture the Rocket Richard Trophy with 53 goals. The Nashville Predators’ Shea Weber will capture the James Norris Memorial Trophy and Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews will take home the Frank J. Selke Trophy. Brayden Schenn will thrive with the Philadelphia Flyers in his rookie season and will be awarded the Calder Memorial Trophy. Henrik Lundqvist of the New York Rangers will take home his first ever Vezina Trophy as the league’s best goalie, leading all netminders with 41 wins and nine shutouts.
A simulation is conducted by artificial intelligence or logic of the videogame that uses real-life data from each player. Results are extrapolated by the videogame when two teams match up based on player ratings, line combinations, and include variances such as injuries and hot streaks to give a realistic outcome of a game or series.
EA SPORTS NHL®12 authentically captures hockey as it is played on the ice with more than 300 gameplay refinements highlighted by three key innovations: Anticipation AI, Dynamic Goalies and the Full Contact Physics Engine. Anticipation AI takes NHL® 12 to the next level as players will now intuitively determine their next move by reading and anticipating the play. With the Full Contact Physics Engine, size and strength matter. NHL®12 continues to innovate by giving you true to life collisions and control over the battles around the crease. With Dynamic Goalies, goalies are live for the first time ever. Players can make contact with goalies as they crash the crease and goalies will battle through traffic in front of the net as they fight through screens to make awe-inspiring saves.
New in EA SPORTS NHL®12 is the introduction of legends; nine former NHL greats – including Wayne Gretzky, Gordie Howe, and Mario Lemieux – will be integrated into the game across virtually every mode, including the all-new Be A Legend Mode. Be the next great legend in the revamped Be A Pro mode. Play as your created pro and earn every shift on the ice with stellar play, big hits, and spectacular goals as you progress towards greatness. New to the mode is the ability to simulate to your next shift with the all-new EA SPORTS Action Tracker, which tracks and presents every major event that takes place while your character is off the ice. This feature will enhance the gameplay experience as gamers will now spend less time watching from the bench and more time playing, while still being aware of the game situation as they step back onto the ice for their next shift.