I’ve wanted to write about the NHL lockout for quite some time, but had no idea where to start. After withstanding the NBA lockout last year and seeing next to no immediate changes, it all feels so needless to me. Still, I searched for some angle for our next (read: first) exciting series on the NHL. Finally, the other day as I was perusing the internet, a story about a small bar in Columbus Blue Jackets country caught my eye:
If the 2012-13 season had actually started on time, the Blue Jackets would have played the Canucks on Friday night. So a local Columbus bar decided that their team would in fact play Vancouver on the originally scheduled night. But this time, it wouldn’t be in an arena or wth actual athletes. Oh, and the game would be through an Xbox simulation.
This, is brilliant. On the surface it seems boring, but I’ll explain NHL13 to you. IT’S INCREDIBLE. I’ve had the pleasure of getting into more than a few high-pressured matches with my brothers over the last month, and it feels like a real hockey game. The simulation is incredible, the movements are perfect, and the players look life-like. This game is the real deal. So however funny it may sound that a bar would use this type of entertainment, I’m here to tell you that there’s a good chance of people watching a game of NHL13 in enjoyment, and an absolutely perfect chance of inebriated people watching a game of NHL13 in enjoyment. But wait, it gets better:
But if the whole fake-game thing isn’t really up your alley, maybe this will be: Fans got a special surprise when the team’s radio announcers showed up to call the game.
Fans yearning for the now-delayed hockey season certainly found solace in this simulation. Who wouldn’t? I’m sure the atmosphere was crazy; this bar was right near the stadium and the team’s announcers showed up! This got me to thinking, could this be the best way to ease the possible loss of an NHL season? Simulating games on a nightly basis?
I set out to test this idea. I pinpointed a handful of games for each week of the NHL schedule that I would play against one of my brothers, with the rest being simulated by the computer. I would document each game I played, the stats and standings for the season, and the trades and transactions that would occur during this phantom season. Sure enough, it’s been done before, but I was confident my simulation could reach the heights of realism. My idea, like the above bar’s before it, was brilliant. Before I enacted my grand plan, I would have to play a test game with the appropriate settings to ensure life-like results. I was excited, this kind of intense blogging experience could put Boxing with Tyson on the map, I could even livetweet the games, the possibilities were endless.
The test game started, with me playing as the Calgary Flames, and my brother as the New Jersey Devils. All was well until something funny happened during one of my power plays:
Goals like that don’t happen in the NHL much, if at all. My plan was foiled, how could I recreate an NHL season when goals like this could be scored in the process? How could this near-perfect NHL simulation break down when I needed it most? I finally realized that there is nothing that can truly quench my thirst for the NHL season other than, well, an NHL season. I broke down, I wept, I came to, and I went back to the drawing board. I hope the NHL and NHLPA do too.
(just the drawing board part, they don’t have to break down and weep)