Crispy Gamer

Chicago Blackhawks Star Patrick Kane Gets His Game On

NEW YORK CITY -- Last season, EA Sports put American NHL star Patrick Kane on the cover of NHL 10 and the game simulation predicted that his Chicago Blackhawks would win the Stanley Cup. Virtual prognostication became reality this past summer when Kane hoisted Lord Stanley’s Cup for the first time since 1961. The 2008 NHL Rookie of the Year was on hand for the launch of NHL 11 at the NHL Store in Manhattan to talk about the 20th anniversary of the franchise, hockey videogames and his day with the Cup in this exclusive interview. It’s worth noting the interview was conducted while Kane faced off against Hawks teammate and NHL 11 cover athlete Jonathan Toews.

What’s a favorite videogame memory from your youth?

Probably NHL ’97 was the first game I played, but my favorite memory was probably playing 2001, Owen Nolan was on the cover, and it took be like five or six games to actually score a goal and I think I finally scored with Joe Sakic. I was running around all Christmas day all pumped up, so that was probably one of the memories that brings back.

The NHL videogame franchise is 20 years old this year.  How have you seen videogame hockey progress over that time?

Well, I think it’s gotten better every year for sure. And even from last year to this year the game is a more realistic.  So I think they’re doing an awesome job with what they’re doing and a lot of good things are coming out of the game. I think it’s really fun to be a part of the EA Sports franchise industry, one of the athletes united with this game.  So it’s pretty cool.

What was it like to be on the cover of last year’s game?

It was great to be on the cover of my favorite videogame after playing just my second year as a professional. When you look back at some of the great players who have had this opportunity, it’s an honor to be a part of the EA Sports family and contribute to a game I’ve been playing for more than 10 years.

What are your thoughts on the new face-off gameplay and how that compares to the real thing in the NHL?

I think it’s just really realistic.  You know, you can push it through on the draw and when the draw is done, skate.  Johnny (Toews) just scored on me in the game and he’s going nuts right now.  So I think that the face-off is one of the most realistic game plays of all.

What does the game’s new physics engine add to the experience this year?

I just scored on him, but yeah, it’s really cool.  The physical play is awesome and even the graphics get better, but I think overall just playing on the boards, then hitting the middle of the ice, the way you can control the face-off, the way you can score nicer goals and prettier goals.  I think the way they’re making this game – I don’t know how they can improve every year, but they keep getting better and better.

For someone who is going to boot up this game and play as the Blackhawks, what advice would you give them in throwing off the gloves and winning a fight?

I just beat Johnny in a fight being myself and he was himself. So once again, the gameplay is realistic in itself. I haven’t fought too much, but the guy I feel that’s can hit the buttons faster can win.

How did you spend your day with the Cup?

I brought it back to Buffalo to stay there in general and I brought it around the city to a couple of charity sites and it was a really, really good day. It was something that I had a lot of fun doing and I actually got to bring it back to Chicago the next day and was on stage with it, so that was pretty cool. It was actually a moment that really helped the reality sink in because you bring it on stage and the people wouldn’t stop cheering. I didn’t know whether to put it down or keep holding it up. It was pretty surreal.

EA Sports predicted when you were on the cover last year that you guys would win the Cup when they did the simulation, so what does having Johnny on the cover this year maybe mean for a repeat?

Well, I hope so. I think it’s been a lot of fun being on the cover and being part of this franchise, but the most important thing in our business is trying to win games and trying to play as best as you can. So hopefully we can do it again.