The EASHL (EA Sports Hockey League) has long been one of the NHL series’ fan favorite modes. With multiplayer having become an integral part of video games since the advent of online, the mode allows NHL to offer a feature that puts it on the same level as other multiplayer powerhouses on the market. For those unfamiliar, EASHL allows player to build their own team from scratch and create their own uniforms and arenas. Instead of one player controlling the entire team, however, each player is locked into a position, with the others either filled by the CPU, or by inviting friends for some fast paced, six versus six (yes, you can play as the goaltender as well) action online.

We here at Hockey Achievements have started our own EASHL team, and after spending a few weeks online, here are our early observations on this year’s version of the mode and some pointers for players trying to get involved with a team.

PASSING: Whether in the digital realm or reality, passing is critical to any offensive play in hockey. We’ve found that even when playing with or against CPU players, NHL 17 has done a better job than in years past of forcing players to make more realistic plays in order to get to the net and score. This isn’t to say there aren’t players out there who can stickhandle their opponents into submission and drive to the net, but smart passing—knowing when to give the puck up as well as call for it from the CPU or your buddies—is often the difference maker online.

ONLINE STABILITY: For the most part, we’ve had minimal issues in terms of glitches actually in the game. Sure, some soft goals are maddening whether it’s a computer or a human in net, but latency has been almost non-existent even two months post-launch. The servers will occasionally still have a hiccup, however, and its particularly unfortunate if this happens while in game. Hockey Achievements currently posts a 3-3-3 record in online, but two of those regulation losses came when the servers crashed on a particularly rough Tuesday night.

NEW CLASSES: Part of finding success is striking a balance in terms of your team’s roles. New classes this year like Jumbo Playmaker and Hitting Sniper add some extra nuance to pre-existing classes like Power Forward or Offensive Defenseman. Having a team that can both be physical as well as fire the puck with pinpoint accuracy towards the corners of the net is necessary if you’re to find success. Per our experience, Hockey Achievements has started to find recent success since our own online play-by-play man Ray Carsillo switched from Jumbo Playmaker to a more traditional Power Forward, and Ryan Sheehy switched from Power Forward to Hitting Sniper. Ray has a knack for taking the puck deep and drawing defenders towards him, often leaving Sheehy open in the slot. Ray will then attempt to pass the puck to Ryan. Not every pass makes it through the traffic, but when it does, Ryan will have a prime opportunity to score, and his odds have improved as a Sniper. Ryan’s unselfish nature, however, sometimes leads to hesitation, and Ray switching from announcer to fan mode and screaming SHOOT! #ShootThePuckSheehy

This is just the start of Hockey Achievements’ time with the EASHL mode, and we can’t wait to continue to report on it as our time with the game continues. Be sure to tune in every Tuesday night at 6 PM PT/9 PM ET to watch Hockey Achievements’ weekly Tuesday Night Hockey as Ray Carsillo goes online and broadcasts games live on Twitch at twitch.tv/hockeyachievements and see the game in action.

Also, be sure to stay tuned for opportunities to try and join Ray and Ryan in the EASHL as Hockey Achievements looks to fill some slots on their team as the season progresses, or face them in head-to-head competitions. Until next time, be sure to keep it tuned to HockeyAchievements.com and The Gaming Zone in particular for you all your NHL 17 needs, and we’ll see you on the digital ice.

Advertisements