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'NHL 10': Five Things to Know

[Continued]

"Having Team Toughness means having players on your team who are going to finish their checks," Littman says. "They are going to fore-check and pressure the puck, and the more you can finish your opponents and the more you check them, not only are they going to fatigue a little faster, but they can even make mistakes.

"You'll see some player fatigue on a team that you're checking a lot, but you'll also see them bobble passes now and then when they hear footsteps. It's a real thing and you see it in the playoffs all the time. Players won't play the same way they did in the regular season because they're afraid of getting hit again and again and again by a huge team like Anaheim. When you have a team like that constantly pounding you into the boards, you're going to be a bit intimidated, and when you're intimidated you're going to fatigue a bit faster, bobble passes, and even try to avoid collisions.

Say your team is getting pushed around and starting to get intimidated, you can get out of that by either checking back or more importantly, start a fight. That's one way to get your team out of a funk.

-- "NHL 10" producer David Littman

"Say your team is getting pushed around and starting to get intimidated, you can get out of that by either checking back or more importantly, start a fight. That's one way to get your team out of a funk.

"And the AI players are doing the same thing, so if you're dumping the puck in and smashing them against the boards all the time, they are going to learn that they don't want to keep getting that puck and getting smashed. They are going to try and get it, then they'll dump it around the boards really quickly, and that will lead to turnovers.

"A lot of people want to play that type of game where they just check. There are going to be penalties sometimes, of course, but now there are rewards for playing a good checking style. We've have really never in our game given an advantage to a checking line. Everyone usually just wants to play with the first lines in hockey or any sports game -- you want to play with the superstars. But what makes hockey so great is that you have this team mentality where the third and fourth lines, they're the lines that have to get going in the playoffs if you want to succeed. Yeah, the superstars have to score, but it's those third and fourth lines that need to shut down those first and second lines. Those are the guys who are going out getting energy for the crowd, and we've never really rewarded people for playing that style of game before.

"On the other hand, you have to play smart. You don't want to just hit someone from behind because we're adding a lot of penalties. You don't want to be stupid, you don't want to play too dirty, especially on your EA Sports Hockey League team. Every team is going to need at least one tough guy or they're going to get run over. At the same time we don't want this to be a gimmick. Being intimidated doesn't mean that all your players drop 10 points in overall attributes. That's not what this is. That's not hockey. What's going to change are the behaviors of players. If they're going to get hit, they might bobble a pass. This has nothing to do with attributes, it has to do with how your team is playing at the time."

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