Hey hockey fans, EA has listened to our requests, complaints and demands; they have decided to overhaul their faceoff system! I'm just here to break it down for you guys and answer as many questions as possible and to the best of my ability.
The new faceoff system focuses a lot more on skill and technique than simple timing and attribute. (Although both still play a role.) The new system allows the user to win (or lose) face-offs in a variety of ways. Let me go over some of the new ways to win a faceoff:
-Tie ups and battles: Face-offs in the past have been too clean to win. This year you have the option to tie up the opposing player which leads to a few different **** of winning the draw. You can now tie up the player and attempt to kick the puck back, or even tie up the player and your winger can swoop in and pick up the puck. This leads to a bit more of a grind and battle in the faceoff circle, much like real life.
- Regular wins: You can still attempt to win face-offs cleanly, but now you have to get ready to do it on your forehand or backhand. You have to set your stance and get ready for a quick snap backwards. The thing is though; if the opponent is smart he can read your stance and try to take advantage because he may know what you're doing.
-Dekes: As I said previously your stance can slightly give away what you're attempting to do, but that's where dekes come into play. If your opponent sees you getting ready to win a faceoff on the forehand, he may assume you're trying to win it back and try to tie you up or charge you on the draw. Well if he guessed this he may be wrong! You can actually just tap the puck ahead on the draw and jump around the player. While this is a risky move, it adds a lot of variety to face-offs and always keeps the opposition thinking.
-Shooting: You can shoot off the draw! So if you only have a second or two left and want to try to get a quick shot on net you now can.
There certainly are a lot more tools at your disposal now centres. This means at every face off there is a lot more to think about and a lot more to do. (That includes you to wingers.) I'll be honest with you guys, you may need to play a few games to get a hang of the new faceoff system. I know it took me about 4 or 5 games until I was around 50%, but once you get a hang of it, you'll never want to go back to the old system.
So picture this, you line up against Scott Nichol one of the best faceoff men in the league. You start taking the draw and CRACK! Your stick is broken! This leads me into the next topic broken sticks.
I know us fans have wanted this for a while and I'm happy to say this feature is done right. I'll just quickly go over what you can do once your stick has broken.
Option 1: Play without that stick.
Yes you can just play without it. This is a good idea if you don't have time to do anything else and just want to lay the body. When you don't have a stick you can still kick the puck ahead or pass it. This should lead to some interesting plays and some funny plays. This was a real life play: Dominic Moore and Jason Blake on the Toronto Maple Leafs had a breakaway when Moore broke his stick he just kept going by kicking the puck and eventually kicked it over and Blake just missed the net. Now imagine having that happen in NHL 11, hey it's possible!
Option 2: Go to the bench.
You have no stick and you think you have time to go grab one from the bench. This is an interesting scenario can your team afford you gone for that time, will it cost you a goal? This is a risky and strategic move that will make a lot of players panic.
Option 3: Ask for one!
That's right another player can actually give you a stick. If you're a defenseman and you have no stick, the hockey thing to do is for a forward to hand his stick to the defenseman. This should lead to more team communication and is just plain cool to see your Bauer stick in someone else's hands.
NHL 11 sure has a lot of new things you can do with the stick work. Between a new faceoff system and broken sticks; you don't want to miss these features come Sept.7th.
If you have any further questions about face-offs or broken sticks, feel free to ask.