Good morning fans of the Toronto Maple Leafs, the NHL, and hockey in general.

Every year we get a new version of the NHL video game series, and now those of us who have been lucky enough to get our hand son a next gen console can enjoy a beautiful game on our PS5’s and Xbox S/X’s.

I’m not huge on the technical side of games, but when I switched from playing MLB The Show on Xbox One to PS5 the visual difference was amazing, and I’m looking forward to that jump with NHL.

I’m not much of an online player, and I won’t touch HUT with a 10 foot pole because I don’t have hundreds of dollars to spend to buy a good team, so I’ve enjoyed some of the new features added in the past couple editions of the game.

Game Review: Is NHL 20 fun to play?

Having an expansion draft is great - I’m only mad that I can’t re-align the AHL so the 32nd team is always in the same division as the Marlies. I’m a perfectionist nerd so I just can’t create an AHL team near Seattle; the divisions don’t work if I do.

Franchise mode is always great, Be a Pro (or whatever it’s called now) is nice, but it’s still a watered down version of Live the Life - let me play a full CHL career and let me tell coach that he sucks again! Just bring back Live the Life, that’s all us offline players want.

What we’ve seen from NHL 22 so far is the new “X-Factor” addition, separating the superstars from the fourth liners. EA says:

Superstars will distinctly feel like their real-life counterparts in NHL 22 with the introduction of Superstar XFactors, a game-changing system that unleashes unique abilities for the best players in the game, with traits inspired by their individual real-world skills. Superstar X-Factors bring two key elements to help elevate hockey’s elite and break them away from the pack: Zone Abilities and Superstar Abilities. Zone Abilities bring game-breaking enhancements to the best players, while Superstar Abilities represent upper echelon skills reserved for athletes playing at the next level. Players like Edmonton Oilers Forward Leon Draisaitl, whose “Tape to Tape” ability reflects his elite core passing; or Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy’s “Contortionist” X-factor that boosts his ability to make wild, body-twisting saves with ease will make a profound impact on NHL 22 gameplay.

My questions about this version all revolve around off-line play, and we’ll have to wait a bit longer to fid out the answers. Will we get more logos for create a team? Will we get more jersey options? Can we expand to Europe and beyond? Can I finally move the IceDogs to the NHL?

We’ll have to wait until closer to launch - October 15th, 12th if you have EA Play - to find out.

Elsewhere in the news, former Maple Leafs draft pick Jimmy Hayes passed away suddenly on the weekend. He was 31.

Former NHL forward Jimmy Hayes dies suddenly at age 31

Hayes was a Leafs pick, but was traded to Chicago for a 2nd round pick in 2010 before he made the NHL. The Leafs picked Brad Ross.

In the Top 25, we got to #20 - Pontus Holmberg:

2021 Top 25 Under 25: Pontus Holmberg jumps to #20

In the Women’s World Hockey Championships, Germany defeated Denmark 3-1:

The Czech Republic blanked Japan 4-0:

Today we have Russian taking on the United States at 2PM, and Canada will play Switzerland at 6PM. Both Canada and the USA are 2-0-0-0 in the round robin, and if they win their games today their match up on Thursday evening will see the winner take the group.

Finally, we can add the Canucks, Oilers, and Flames to the list of NHL team requiring COVID-19 vaccinations to see games this season:

Oilers to ask for vaccination proof or negative COVID-19 test for fans 12 and older: report
Canucks to require proof of COVID-19 vaccination to attend NHL, AHL games
Flames, Stampeders to require COVID-19 vaccines at games starting Sept. 15

Have a good day everyone. Don’t be like me and forget to pack some water when you go out. The sun is evil, water defeats it.