EA Sports is already working on NHL 15, but the development team in Vancouver, Canada has logged plenty of ice time with the award-winning NHL 14. Ben Ross, associate producer, skates us through the best way to win the Stanley Cup in this exclusive strategy interview.
Who's your favorite team in NHL 14?
The Pittsburgh Penguins are a lot of fun to play with. Opponents are really playing with danger when they put you on the Power Play.
What advice do you have for players who pick this team when it comes to offense?
As mentioned above, the Power Play is extremely dangerous. In NHL 14, you can really move the puck around when you have a strong team. All of their top line players can shoot the puck, so get players to the front of the net and work a good passing play down low, or put a shot on net when you have players in front to screen and deflect.
What's your favorite way to take advantage of the collision engine with checks?
The big hits are very satisfying, but I like being able to play the body along the boards while staying in a good defensive position. You will dislodge the puck if it’s a good clean hit, and sometimes when you have the offensive player committed, you can take the extra step and lay him out.
Who's a go-to fighter, and what's the best way to win a fight?
Colton Orr is a solid scrapper. Although it is fun to go in toe-to-toe, if you want a win percentage above .500, the key is defense first. Any punch can catch you, so you don't want to leave your chin exposed. Looking for counter opportunities and catching your opponent off balance lead to a lot of success, but in the heat of the moment, it is tough to think strategy.
What's a key to success with Online Seasons?
The big key is to play conservative at first and expect all games to be tight, playing from your net out. With online seasons, matchups between teams are even closer since the match-making looks for teams in similar divisions with similar skills first. It may come down to one goal, so stay out of the box.
How do you like to build your Hockey Ultimate Team?
I tend to look for solid goaltending first. It takes a little bit to build a team so early on when I am getting outplayed and hemmed in my zone. I like to have confidence my goalie can keep me in it, and look for a timely goal on a mistake or with the man advantage. After that, I continue to alternate back and forth between forwards and defense, keeping a balanced lineup.
Who's your go-to team in NHL 94 Anniversary mode?
I like playing with random teams in this mode, since it is less about hardcore strategy and a chance to play with the superstars around the league in a high-flying environment. I normally match up against a good friend and let random luck decide the teams.
What's the best way to play this mode?
Straight ahead. Look for huge open ice hits and get tons of pucks to the net. It's alright if you get burned along the way a couple times, because nobody will be able to sit on a lead in this mode.
NHL 14 is available for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.