Why? Because on rebounds and passes from your goalie, he'll freeze your AI up and leave them staring at the puck. In fact, if you try to make a pass with your goalie, the puck will be invisible to your AI-controlled players for about one to two seconds. Think about this when the slot is crowded. An experienced opponent will wait like a hyena, about two skater lengths away from your goalie, and steal the puck easy as that! So try to take controll over a player in the slot on rebounds and don't skate away from the puck when the goalie let's go off it.

If you think about it, any situation where the goalie goes for a pass is a 1 on 1 battle for the puck the first 2 seconds, unless you got more human controlled players on your team, in the slot, than your opponent.

Of course, when you're attacking, Mr. Freeze can be your best friend.

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"We've come to the point where we're still improving offense, defense and goalies, but we've done a really good job with those features already. What's left? That's all the intangibles that hockey has, and that's what this year is all about."

- David Littman, in this interview over at sports.espn.go.com

In short the new features are:

First person fighting. EA says they're going to make it so much fun it could stand it's ground as a fighting game on it's own.

Fighting rewards your team with energy if done at the right time (when you're down by two goals for example).

You have to go find somebody to fight. You might have to grab them, even face-wash them, to get them to drop the gloves. Though players will protect and step in to fight for your stars.

Tougness plays a bigger role. Not so tough players fatigue on a team that you're checking a lot, but you'll also see them bobble passes now and then when they hear you coming.

Penalites can be give after the whistle and you can also get into fights after it.

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This is a trick that I don't use myself but I've played a couple of guys who've pulled it on me. What they do is they pull their goalie (L1 + Select), a yard before I reach the crease on the breakaway. When the goalie leaves his goal my player automatically falls if the goalie skates into him.

Personally I find this move pretty unrealistic, but as it's a risky move I'm willing to accept it.

I can't really go into detail on how to execute this move, but I guess you could also do this by controlling the goalie manually (L1 + hold X) and just skate into the approaching player. This is of course a pretty stupid move to pull repeatedly or on a opponent who shoots rather than go for dekes. 

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If you want to share any of your own tips or if you got a video you want to show off here at eanhl09.blogspot.com, just send a mail with the tip or video to ante.potter@gmail.com and I will post and it and give you the credit.

Here's the latest NHL 09 Top 10 from EA:

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Here's a vid of an online match I played this evening. I was down by one starting the 3rd period, forechecking 1-2-2 high, with staggered pressure and aggressive attack. I managed to get two early goals, but kept playing aggressive since I felt it helped me controll the match. It worked out pretty well. I lost my positions two times, luckily my opponent didn't score on me. I've made some comments in the clip. Feel free to post your opinions, if you think I should've played differently, or questions if you have any.

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There will be more than 200 gameplay refinements in NHL 10. Read more about it in this article at IGN.com. 

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Offensive Awareness - Ability to pick up lose pucks
Wrist Shot Accuracy - Obvious
Slap Shot Accuracy - Obvious
Aggression - Good for fighting, nothing much else.
Checking - Bigger hits
Toughness - Fighting mostly
Acceleration - Obvious
Agility - Quick movements, fast turns, etc.
Balance - Ability to not get knocked down.
Defensive Awareness - Ability to make succesful pokechecks and stick checks.
Deflections - Obvious
Deking - Increases your deke speed, ability to fool opponents.
Discipline - The Higher the Disc, the less penalties you take.
Durability - Lower durability means higher likelihood of being injured.
Endurance - How long you can skate without getting tired.
Face-offs - Obvious.
Passing - Obvious, more passing ability, the harder and more accurate your passes are.
Puck Control - Ability to maintain puck control, I have a 99 PC and can shrug off checks and still have the puck.
Shot Blocking - Obvious
Slap Shot Power - Obvious
Speed - Obvious, max you can have is 88 with a dangler.
Wrist Shot Power - Obvious

Poise - Poise is how well a player reacts to pressure. Low poise - lot's of misstakes. High poise - the rock that the other players rally around. 

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The five hole is the area between the goalies legs and it's one of the best places to aim for if you're left alone on the break away or in a shootout. The goalie, however, protects the 5 hole with his stick, so you need to taunt the goalie with a little deke to make him leave it open. This is how to do it:

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(PS3 AND XBOX 360)