A few years ago video game manufacturer EA Sports added the AHL to its options of teams you can use for their NHL video game. I am not a frequent “gamer,” but I like to dabble from time to time, and I’ve found the addition of the AHL teams to be a pretty neat thing. Imagine matching your hometown club against the best in the NHL in an exhibition match, or playing a showdown between an NHL team and its top AHL affiliate.
Having recently purchased “NHL ’11” as a early Christmas gift for a friend, I figured it would be a lot of fun taking the virtual Admirals for a spin. Now my friend is a far better “gamer” than I am (my glory days on the Sega Genesis have long since passed me by), but I managed to go 1-2-0 against him, using Milwaukee vs. Lake Erie twice and Wilkes-Barre Scranton once.
Here are some of my observations about the virtual Admirals:
1) Mark Santorelli is amazing. It was really fun using both Santorellis on the same line last year on “NHL ’10,” but virtual Mark continues to be a dynamite player on the game for the Admirals. My best play was a 2-on-1 one-timer which Santorelli usually finished for a goal.
2) Linus Klasen is an unknown. I never could quite get a handle on how best to utilize Klasen on the offensive attack, even on the power play. Most likely that’s because I don’t know how to use all the special player moves, but virtual Klasen proved a touch maddening. Zero points in three games.
3) Brett Palin, Teemu Laakso, Jonathon Blum and Scott Ford were all dependable. Despite my poor record, every game was low scoring. My virtual Admirals defense blocked an amazing amount of shots. I was especially impressed with virtual Palin, who hit everything that moved.
4) Chet Pickard played like Chet Pickard has so far. The rosters we used for the game must have had Mark Dekanich called up with Nashville, because my only options were Jeremy Smith and Chet Pickard in net. I couldn’t manage a big save from virtual Pickard when I needed it, and I couple of goals I wanted back big time.
So Roundtable, when/if you play video game hockey, do you choose to play with the Milwaukee Admirals? If you do, then what are some of your observations? Do some of the virtual Admirals surprise or disappoint you? Who is your favorite virtual Admirals player?