EA Sports has included a very cool feature with the latest installment of their NHL franchise- NHL 94 Anniversary mode. For those of us who loved our video games in the '90s, NHL 94 was a quantum leap forward. Since then, the franchise has developed into one of, if not the best sports gaming franchise in the world.
I'll admit, a 20th anniversary mode makes me feel old. What makes me feel even older is the fact that 1994 featured not only the debut of an incredible hockey video game, but also the births of three of the Jackets' future stars.
Alexander Wennberg, Kerby Rychel and Marko Dano were all drafted in the first round by Columbus in June's NHL Entry Draft, and all three were in diapers while we were racking up hours playing NHL 94.
In the NHL 94 Anniversary Mode, the rules are simplified- no penalties, offsides or icing. The lack of penalties would serve Dano well- he's a player who toes the line with his physical play and shift-disturbing qualities. Dano is spending this year in the KHL with Bratislava, and will be a go-to player for Slovakia at the 2014 World Juniors. He'll likely make jump to North America next season, where he'll qualify for the NHL or AHL. He's got pest-like qualities, but pairs that with very good offensive talent.
Additionally, NHL 94 mode goes back to the simplified controls, which include the "boost" button. Tape-to-tape passes with one push of a button? Sounds a lot like the passing of Wennberg- tape-to-tape with ease.Wennberg is incredibly versatile- he can play a two-way game, and can line up at center or on either wing. He wouldn't look out of place on a scoring line, or on a checking-plus line with the Jackets. He'll suit up for the Swedes at the 2014 World Juniors.
You can't forget the increased prevalence of huge hits in NHL 94 mode- something Kerby Rychel knows all about. He can hit, fight, and oh by the way- score a boatload of goals. Rychel may turn out to be an absolute steal for the Jackets. Aside from his willingness to contribute in any imaginable fashion, he's got NHL bloodlines and is developing in a terrific junior system with the Windsor Spitfires. Rychel and
I own NHL 14, and I absolutely love the addition of NHL 94 Anniversary Mode. It takes me back to my youth, when the Blue Jackets weren't even a rumor, the Rangers were celebrating their last Stanley Cup victory and my friends and I were huddled around a TV playing NHL 94.