EHM 2005 Guide

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This guide was originally intended to be a walkthrough detailing how I played the game over the course of the season. However, over the course of writing this guide, it became more of a general guide rather than a walkthrough. This is because I felt it easier to explain features by writing in general terms rather than writing how I do it in my game. Also, I think some parts will be more accessible to the reader in the style the guide is currently written in.

This guide isn’t intended as a replacement for the manual. It is intended to be a supplement since there’s plenty of areas in the manual which are not covered in this guide. This guide aims to both take beginners through starting and playing the game and to cover the finer points which even the most experienced users may be unsure of. There is also a league guide at the end of this guide. This year’s EHM was missing this and many people had requested such a guide. Hopefully there is something for everyone here.

Contents

Choosing a team and playoff qualification

If you’re new to the game, I suggest starting with a good team in order to gain experience and have some room to experiment with the line-ups. The NHL arguably has the highest quality players and so I’d recommend choosing the New Jersey Devils, Colorado Avalanche or the Dallas Stars.

I’m going to choose the Boston Bruins because they’re my favourite NHL team. They usually make the playoffs but they don’t tend to get past the first or second round. In the game, the board expect me to reach the playoffs.

In order to reach the playoffs, I have to finish within the top eight of the Eastern Conference. The top team of each Division is placed in the top three positions of the Conference regardless of how many points they have. You will see that there is an asterisk by these teams when viewing the Conference table. This means that finishing top of the Division guarantees a top three position in the Conference.

The rest of the Conference is sorted by points like a normal league table. So, if my Bruins team don’t finish in first place of the Northeast Division, I will have to have enough points to ensure that I finish in the top eight. In other words, I will have to have more points than eight of the other 15 teams in the Conference.

Choosing the line-up

In the preseason, I can dress up to 20 skaters and two goalies. This is also the case in the regular season of many European leagues. However, in the NHL regular season only 18 skaters and two goalies can be dressed. When I get to the regular season I will address this issue. For now, I will choose 22 players.

Goalies

I find that the best place to start is the goalies. In my Bruins team, I only have one goalie (Andrew Raycroft) and so I need to promote a goalie from my farm team.

A farm team is a little like a football (soccer) team’s reserve team. They tend to be mainly made of youth players and the first team’s backup players. Farm teams are different in that they are made up of players contracted to the first team and players contracted to the farm team (i.e. they cannot play for the first team). In EHM, players that are contracted to the first team are highlighted in green. Different NHL teams have a different number of farm teams; some have two or three, whereas others only have one.

The Boston Bruins only have one farm team (Providence Bruins of the AHL). On the Bruins’ Roster View Screen, click on ‘See Also’ on the left hand of the screen and you will see the Providence Bruins listed. Clicking on this displays their team.

I only have one other goalie contracted to Boston (Hannu Toivonen). I know this because he is the only goalie highlighted in green. Since I need a second goalie, I will promote him to the Bruins team.

If I view Toivonen’s profile and then Raycroft’s, I can select the ‘compare players’ function from Raycroft’s Profile Screen so that I can compare the two goalies’ attributes.

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Player comparison: Hannu Toivonen - Andrew Raycroft

It is quite obvious that Raycroft is the better of the two and so I will choose him as my starting goalie.

First of all, the two goalies need to be ‘dressed’ (i.e. added to the starting line-up). This is done by clicking on the square to the left of the player’s name whilst on the roster view. This results in a ‘G’ or a ‘S’ appearing in the box, depending on whether the player is a goalie or a skater.

Next, I need to assign Raycroft as my starting goalie and Toivonen as my backup. This is done by going to the Tactics Screen. Clicking on the number next to Raycroft’s name highlights the player in yellow. I can now assign him to a position in the line-up.

In order to put him as the starting goalie, I click on the ‘G’ to the left of ‘S’ (indicating starting goalie) under the goalies section on the left hand side of the screen. I then follow the same steps to put Toivonen as the backup but I click on ‘G’ to the right of ‘B’ (for backup) instead of ‘S’.

Defence

I have eight defence places to fill, i.e. four lines of two pairings. Basically, the best players should be put on the first line, and the worst on the fourth line. Unless, you alter some of the team instructions (discussed later), the first line will play more of the game (called ‘icetime’) than the other lines, and the fourth will have the least icetime.

In my opinion, the best way to view the defence is to use the filter on the roster view so that only the LDs and RDs are displayed.

The Bruins only have a few defencemen so I will move all of my contracted defencemen from my farm team up to my Boston team. I have a total of seven defencemen. This means that I will have to leave one of the positions of the fourth defensive line free. This spare slot will be filled during matches by one of the defencemen which the assistant manager feels should player at that moment in time. Therefore, the player that plays there will vary during the match.

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Selection info: Other

I have three players who can play LD and four that can play RD. That means that I will leave the fourth LD slot empty.

In order to choose which line each player should play on, I like to use the defensive attributes view (View -> Attributes and then Attributes -> Defensive).

I will choose my LDs first. To start off with, I will filter the view so that only my LDs are listed; then I will sort the players by pokecheck (click on the Pok label). Note: Ian Moran is listed as left-sided because he is a LW as well as a RD. I therefore will play him as an RD and not an LD or LW.

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Defensive attributes

Pokecheck is the most basic attribute for defence. I also pay attention to checking, hitting and strength. This doesn’t mean that the other attributes should be ignored. I think it would be useful to first explain some of these terms:

  • Pokecheck: Using the stick to get the puck from the opposing player
  • Checking: Using the body to move the opposing player away from the puck
  • Hitting: How hard a player can check

Hal Gill is clearly the best LD; he has great pokechecking, checking, hitting, strength, balance and positioning. In fact, he excels at all of the important aspects of defensive technique. I shall dress him and place him as the LD of the first line. This is done in a similar fashion as dressing and assigning the goalies to the line-up.

It is quite clear that Gonchar is better than Dallman; all of Gonchar’s attributes are at least two better than Dallman’s. I will therefore put Gonchar on the second and Dallman on the third.

Next, I need to choose my RDs.

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Defensive attributes

Moran and Boynton appear to be the best two RDs. I’ll put Boynton on the first line because all of his defensive attributes, other than pokechecking, are better than Moran’s.

The difference in skill between Jurinca and Girard is not that great. However, I’ll play Jurinca in the line above Girard because Jurinca has better hitting, pokechecking, stamina and strength. Also, the rest of his defensive attributes are either the same as or only slightly less than Girard’s.

Comparing Moran with Jurinca, Moran is a little better and so I will put Moran on the second, Jurinca on the third and Girard on the fourth.

Forwards

Choosing forwards is a little more complicated because many of the players can play in two positions and so I prefer to choose my whole first line and then my whole second line, etc. rather than choosing my LW, then C and then RW.

To start with, I shall choose my C. I have promoted all of my forwards from my farm team so that I have my whole team to choose from.

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Attacking attributes

There are many different ways of determining which player to play where. Everybody uses their own criteria to decide what makes a good forward. I like to sort my Cs by faceoff skill and then I have a look at their stickhandling, wristshot, slapshot and passing. Being able to win faceoffs can play a big part in a team’s success and so it is important that the best men for the job are used. However, they won’t be much use if all they can do is win faceoffs, and so it is important to take into account other attributes, including attacking and physical attributes.

I’m going to play Thornton as my first line C not only because he has superior attributes, but also because he is their best C in real life. It is important to remember that the EHM researchers do their best to ensure that the player ratings accurately reflect real life, and so if a player does well in real life then he will probably do well in EHM. It might, therefore, be a good idea to have a look at hockey websites to find out which players are your team’s strongest.

Next, I’ll have a look at the LW.

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Attacking attributes

I’ve sorted the players by passing this time. This is just a personal preference; you may prefer to sort by stickhandling or wrist or slapshot. Looking at the roster, Sergei Samsonov is clearly the best LW the Bruins have. He also has great physical and mental stats, so he’s clearly one of the key players of my team.

Now we need to find a RW.

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Attacking attributes

There are two players that stand out here; Patrice Bergeron and Marty Lapointe. The compare players function will help me determine which player to put on the top line.

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Player comparison: Patrice Bergeron - Martin Lapointe

It’s very difficult to decide which one to play. I’ve decided to go for Bergeron because, generally, he has very slightly better physical stats; also he has good creativity and he’s only 19 (Lapointe is 30) and so there is great potential for him to develop further.

Rather than explaining this process again, I’ll just show you how my final line-up looks like:

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Tactics

There are a couple of players that I didn’t dress but I might try them in the exhibition games (i.e. friendlies).

There are, of course, other ways of choosing your line-up. This is just a simplified way of how I choose mine. I also like to use the third and fourth lines to experiment with youth players but I haven’t really done that in this guide. One player to keep an eye on over the coming instalments of this guide is Brad Boyes. He developed very well in my NHL:EHM 2004 game and I think his attributes suggest that he’s even better in this version.

Tactics

Now that we’ve chosen our even-strength lines (i.e. the four lines), we need to set the tactics. The menu titled ‘All Lines’ in the Tactics Screen allows you to alter the tactics for any of the lines. The screenshot below demonstrates this.

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Tactics

At the moment, we are only concerned with the tactics for the first four lines. Selecting one of these lines from the menu brings up a number of tactical instructions which can be altered. Before choosing the tactics, I think it’s best to first explain what each instruction does.

Mentality

This is pretty straightforward. Players can be instructed to play with an attacking, neutral or defensive mentality. Using an attacking strategy will create more pressure on the opposition and probably more goal-scoring opportunities, but it will also leave your team more prone defensively if the opposition manage to retrieve the puck and counterattack.

Offensive system

Passing: Players will quickly pass the puck around the offensive zone, looking for openings in order to attempt a shot on goal.

Skating: Players will skate around the offensive zone with the puck and try to create goal-scoring opportunities.

Dump and chase: Players will play the puck into the far corners of the offensive zone. This involves fighting for puck along the boards; therefore strong players will be needed in order to successfully retrieve the puck. Plays will be setup from along the boards.

Mixed: A combination of the three styles.

Offensive zone

Positional: Players stick to their positions in the offensive zone.

Crash the net: The centre stands in front of the goal in order to obstruct the goalie’s view and/or to force the puck into the goal.

Triangle: The forwards form a triangle in the offensive zone in order to outnumber the defence and to generate some space from which they can attempt to shoot on goal.

Behind the net: The centre takes the puck behind the net and attempts to play the puck to one of the wingers who is positioned in front of the net. This works well with the dump and chase offensive system.

Forecheck

This is how the players pressurise the opposition outside your own defensive zone (it’s a little like pressing in the opposition’s own half in football).

Neutral zone trap: The aim is to stop the opposition’s attempt at bringing the puck into their offensive zone by blocking the puck in the neutral zone. This usually involves pushing the opposition to the boards.

Left wing lock: The RW and C go into the offensive zone in order to pressurise the opposition and to force the opposition to play the puck along their right wing. The LW stays further back; usually in the neutral zone or in the slot. If the opposition manage to get past the C and RW then they should be playing along their right wing (where the LW is situated) and so the LW can attempt to get the puck. The LW plays like a third defenceman.

Passive forecheck: The player closest to the net chases the puck while the other four form a box-shape in order to retrieve the puck near centre ice.

High forecheck: This is similar to left wing lock and passive forecheck, except the players pressure the opposition further up the ice.

Defensive coverage

Zonal: Players defend an area of the ice.

Man-to-man: Players are assigned a specific player to man-mark.

Backchecking

This refers to defending in the defensive zone.

Hard: The forwards often go into the defensive zone in order to help defend.

Easy: The forwards don’t often go and help out the defensive.

Normal: A mixture between the two.

Pressing

Determines how often the line will pressurise the opposition puck-carrier. The options are hard (i.e. often), easy and normal. Sustained pressure on the opposition will result in more turnovers, but it will also tire out your players.

Hitting

Determines how often players will look to make big hits on the opposition. The options are hard, easy and normal. Hitting hard will give a better chance of removing the puck from the puck-carrier’s possession but it will also increase the risk of penalties and injury.

Boardplay

Power: The players will play the puck along the boards in an attempt to create chances.

Finesse: The players will not play along the boards, but will play along the perimeter instead.

Mixed: A mixture of the two.

Individual player instructions

It is also possible to set individual player instructions. When viewing one of the lines in the right half of the Tactics Screen, the players in the diagram can be right-clicked on. This brings up the individual player instructions.

Most of the individual instructions are the same as those mentioned above. There are a couple of other options but these are self-explanatory. I will explain those which may not be quite so obvious to those with limited hockey knowledge:

Carry puck: If this is set to ‘yes’ then the player will tend to skate with the puck rather than passing.

Join rush: Determines whether the player will join the attack or stay back in defence.

Simple passes: If this is set to ‘no’ then the player will attempt more elaborate passes.

Applying the tactics to my Boston lines

Here’s a brief outline of the tactics I chose for my Boston team:

Mentality: Since the first line contains my best players, I’ve set them to ‘attacking’. In order to give some balance, I’ve set the second and third to ‘normal’. I might experiment in the exhibitions by setting the second to ‘attacking’. The fourth is set to ‘defensive’ because it comprises of the least skilled players.

Offensive system: I tend to experiment quite a bit with this area. If a certain line isn’t working then I tend to change the offensive system and the offensive zone instructions. The forwards on the first line all have good agility, balance and stickhandling and so I’ve set them to ‘skating’. I’ll also try ‘passing’ in some of the exhibitions because they also have great passing skills. The second line have decent passing skills, but their skating skills are better so I’ve set them to ‘skating’ too. The third line has decent passing, so I’ve set them to ‘passing’. The fourth line I’ve set to ‘mixed’ because their skating and passing skills are of a similar level. I’m not a fan of dump and chase, and so I haven’t used this system.

Offensive zone: This is the area where I experiment a lot. In my opinion, crash the net and behind the net are only really effective with a line of physically strong players. Since most of my forward lines are not particularly strong, I will mainly use the positional and triangle tactics. I’ve set the first line to positional. I might try using crash the net since Joe Thornton is very strong and will therefore be able to cause allsorts of problems in front of the net. I’m going to try triangle with the other three lines.

Forecheck: I’ve set the top two lines to high forecheck because I want them to create plenty of goal-scoring opportunities. Todd Fitzgerald, my third line LW, has decent defensive attributes so I will use left wing lock. I’ve set my fourth line to neutral zone trap. This is so that they try to stop the opposition from entering our defensive zone, but not as far up the ice as high forecheck because I want them to sit back and defend.

Defensive coverage: I prefer to use zonal for all of my lines.

Backchecking: My first line is set to ‘easy’ because I want them to attack a lot. The second and third lines are ‘normal’. The fourth line is ‘hard’ because I want them to defend.

Pressing: I’ve set the top three lines to ‘normal’ because I don’t want the players to tire too quickly. The fourth line will receive the least icetime and so I’ve set them to ‘hard’.

Hitting: My first three lines are set to ‘normal’ because I don’t want to give away too many penalties. The wingers on the fourth line are quite strong so I have set them to ‘hard’ hitting.

Boardplay: I’ve left this as ‘mixed’ for all lines.

Individual player instructions: Both Gonchar and Boynton (both defencemen) have good shooting skills so I’ve set them to ‘shoot’ under the pass/shoot bias instruction. I’ve left all of the other individual instructions as they are. I might experiment with some of these later.

Special teams

In this section I will discuss choosing my special teams: powerplay, penalty kill and even strength (4-on-4) lines and tactics.

First of all, what are these three lines?

A powerplay is a result of an opposition’s player being awarded a penalty and being placed in the penalty box for a period of time. This results in our team having a man advantage. When the penalty is over, the player is allowed to leave the box while play is still going on and he can join in the action. This is when the powerplay is over. It is possible for a team to have two penalties at the same time (not taking into a account personal penalties), resulting in a two-man advantage. When a team is on the power play, they tend to play an attacking combination of players in order to take advantage of the fact that the opposition is down a man or two (this is called being shorthanded).

Being on the penalty kill is when the team is shorthanded, i.e. the opposition is on the powerplay. In these situations, teams send out lines with good defensive players in order to defend while the team is not at full strength. Even strength (4-on-4) lines refer to situations where both teams have four players on the ice (excluding the goalie). Such situations occur when both teams have a player each in the penalty box, or the game has gone into overtime (this rule applies in the NHL; other leagues have normal five-on-five overtime).

Powerplay lines

Firstly, I shall choose my PP lines and then I will choose the tactics for each line.

Being on the powerplay is arguably the greatest opportunity to create goal-scoring opportunities and so it is important to choose an offensive lineup. I tend to use my first two lines of forwards as the two sets of my PP lines because they are my most offensively-skilled players. If I notice that somebody is scoring a lot of goals or generating a lot of chances then I might put him on one of my PP lines. I also like to mix the line combinations a little in order to see whether a different combination of forwards is more effective. If it is, then I might copy the combinations into my regular even strength lines. If it isn’t, then I’ll change my PP line combinations to reflect my regular lines.

I’ve mixed the PP combinations slightly in that I’ve put Lapointe on the first 5-on-4 and 5-on-3 lines and Bergeron on the second lines. In the regular even strength lines Lapointe is on the second line and Bergeron on the first.

I choose my defencemen by looking at their attacking attributes, such as slapshot, wristshot, stickhandling and passing. Gonchar is clearly my most offensively-skilled defencemen; he has fantastic shooting, passing and stickhandling abilities. I will place him on the first PP lines at LD. I’ve chosen Gill as my second LD, and Boyton and Girard as my two RDs.

Of course, another approach is to have different players on the first 5-on-4 PP line to the first 5-on-3 PP line, but I tend to keep them the same because otherwise I won’t have the best possible lines playing.

If I notice that a player is tiring too much because he’s on too many lines then I tend to either put him on less PP lines, move him from the first to second PP line, or take him off all PP lines.

Powerplay tactics

The tactical instructions available for the four PP lines are exactly the same as the tactical instructions for the regular four lines. This is discussed in section 3. The only difference is that there isn’t an offensive zone option. In its place, there is a powerplay system option. There are four powerplay systems to choose from:

Overload: More players are sent to the opposition player carrying the puck in order to pressurise him and force him to give up the puck.

Umbrella: The players form a formation resembling the shape of an umbrella. One player is stationed at the blue line and exchanges passes between two players at the point (one either side of him), looking for an opportunity for the player at the blue line to shoot. Two players are in front of the net in order to screen the goalie (i.e. so the goalie can’t see the puck). The player at the blue line obviously needs to be a good shooter, while the two players at the net have to be strong since the opposition will do their best to move them away from the net.

Spread out: The players are positioned all over the offensive zone in order to stretch the opposition and to create some space. One player is placed at the point at each faceoff circle. A winger is placed halfway into the offensive zone, near the boards. This player is the main playmaker. The centre is positioned in front of the net, while the other winger is behind the goal line. The space created allows one of the players at the point to join the play by going to the net.

1-3-1: A defenceman is positioned at the point, with the other defenceman and the wingers positioned in front of him. The wingers stay wide by the boards, and the other defenceman tries to join the centre at the front of the net in order to create some opportunities.

Applying the powerplay tactics to my Boston team

I want my PP lines to apply a lot of pressure on the opposition and to concentrate on attacking. Therefore, I’ve set all the lines to attacking mentality, high forechecking, easy backchecking, and hard pressing.

The first lines of my 5-on-4 and 5-on-3 lines have two very good shooting defencemen. For this reason, I will use the umbrella PP system.

For the other two lines I shall use the spread out system. This is because I have some good wingers in these lines; particularly Bergeron. Maybe in the future I move Samsonov from the first PP lines to the second since he is arguably my best winger.

Penalty kill lines

The best defensive players are needed for these lines. I will therefore use the top two defensive lines as the two lines for both 4-on-5 and 3-on-5 PK lines. There is one minor difference to my defensive lines. Rick Moran can also play LW so I will play him as a forward in the PK lines since he has very good defensive attributes. I will play Jurinca in defence in his place.

I will choose which forwards to use based on defensive attributes, such as pokecheck, checking, hitting and work rate. In my opinion, work rate is important because the players are going to have to work hard to make sure that they protect the defensive zone effectively.

Moran has the best defensive attributes out of all of my forwards. I will play him as the LF in the first line of the 4-on-5 PK line and the C of the first 3-on-5 line. Joe Thornton is also very good defensively but I’d rather not play him so that he doesn’t tire too much; he is my star centre, after all! Tom Fitzgerald is probably the third best defensive forward. He plays RW so I will play him as RF on the first 4-on-5 line and as the C on the second 3-on-5 line. I’ve put Stock and Lapointe on the second 4-on-5 line.

Penalty kill tactics

The tactical instructions are the same as mentioned in section 3. The only extra instruction is the PK system. There are four different systems:

Tight box: The two defencemen stay in front of the net in order to ward off the offence. The two forwards chase the puck carrier.

Diamond: The players form a diamond-shaped formation. One player is positioned in front of the net, another by the blue line, and a one either side on the wings. The players attempt to reduce the space the offence has to play in.

High press: The players attempt to push the opposition out of the zone. The opposition then runs the risk of being caught offside.

Low press: The players allow the opposition to get into the zone but then do everything they can to stop them from getting to the net.

Applying the penalty kill tactics to my Boston team

I set the tactics to defensive mentality, hard back checking and normal pressing. I use normal pressing because I don’t want my players to get too tired. If I find my players aren’t tiring too much then I might set this to hard pressing.

I usually experiment with the PK systems in order to find out what the most effective one is for my players. My personal preference is the tight box.

Even strength lines

I use a mixture of my regular first and second lines for the even strength 4-on-4 lines. The defensive pairings are the same as the top two regular lines.

I’ve put my best two forwards on the first even strength line: Samsonov and Thornton. On the second line, I’ve put Bergeron (my first line RW) and Axelsson (my second line LW).

Even strength tactics

These are exactly the same as the regular line tactics. See section 3 for explanations on the various tactical instructions.

Applying the even strength tactics to my Boston team

The 4-on-4 even strength lines are used in two situations; either when both teams are a man down or when the game has gone to overtime. There is no real need to defend in this case unless the opposition has a much stronger team. Also, the players have more room on the ice and so they have more freedom in order to create offence.

I tend to set the first 4-on-4 line to attacking tactics and the second to less attacking, but not defensive, tactics.

For the sake of simplicity, for the first 4-on-4 line I shall use the instructions I gave to the regular first line, and the second line instructions for the second 4-on-4 line. Although, I will set both lines to passive forecheck because I don’t want my players to be caught short at the back.

Overview of the lines

Below is a screenshot of how the lines look now that they have been completed:

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Tactics

Team orders

Now that all of the tactics and player instructions have been set, there is just one more group of tactical options that can be controlled; this is team orders. The team orders are accessed by going to the ‘action’ menu of the Tactics Screen. Below is an explanation of each order:

Ice time distribution

This determines how much playing time each line will get. There are three separate settings: one for the forwards lines, one for the defensive lines and one for the PP lines.

Forward usage

The ice time distribution for the forward lines.

Normal: The first line plays the most ice time and the fourth line has the least time on the ice.

Equal: All four lines will have similar lengths of time on the ice.

Overload: The top two lines receive the most ice time.

Just three: Just the top three lines play. The fourth line won’t play at all.

Just two: Plays just the top two lines.

Defensive usage

The ice time distribution for the defensive lines.

Normal: The top defensive line plays the most ice time and the bottom line plays the least.

Equal: All defensive lines play equal lengths of time.

Overload: The top two lines play the most.

Just two: Only the top two lines play.

Powerplay usage

The ice time distribution for the powerplay lines.

Favour 1st: The first PP line plays the most ice time.

Equal: Both PP lines play a similar amount of time.

General instructions

These are various instructions which apply to the whole team. These instructions have already been discussed. Look back at sections 3.5 to 3.9 of this walkthrough.

Extra orders

Clicking on the ‘next’ button at the top right of the team orders window displays a second page of orders.

Goalie orders

This instructs the goalie to either stay in his crease when the puck goes behind the net or to go and collect the puck and pass it to the defencemen. Of course, the goalie will only go behind the net to play the puck when the opposition players are nowhere near the goal.

Shooting

This instructs the team how often to shoot. Instructed them to shoot often might increase the chances of scoring. It could also increase the chances of the goalie giving up a rebound, giving the forwards a chance to shoot before the goalie has a chance to reposition himself. On the other hand, this may mean that good goal-scoring opportunities can’t be created. By instructing the team to only selectively choose when to shoot, they will wait for good goal-scoring chances before shooting. This, however, may mean that the team will not take advantage of as many goal-scoring chances, thus decreasing the likelihood of scoring a goal. If the opposition goalie has poor rebound control and recovery attributes then setting this order to ‘barrage’ may be a successful tactic.

Shot targeting

It is possible to instruct your players to aim for a certain part of the goal; either high, low or the five-hole (between the goalie’s legs). If you find that a certain goalie seems to be letting a let of goals in a certain part of the net then it might pay off to concentrate on that part of the net.

Line matching

Using this order it is possible to set a certain line to play against a certain line of the opposition. This is useful if you want your more defensive forward line to play against the opposition’s first line (the line where their best forwards will be in), for instance.

Captains

One captain and two alternate captains can be selected. The captain will lead your team, while the alternates will lead the team while the captain is not on the ice. Attributes that make a good captain include: influence, teamwork and determination.

Extra attackers

If you’re one goal down with only a few minutes of the game left, you might want to take your goalie off the ice and replace him with an extra attacker in order to create more goal-scoring chances. This is called pulling the goalie. This order designates which player will come on to replace the goalie.

Applying the orders to my Boston team

Firstly, I tend to allow the goalie to play the puck. If I find that he’s letting in goals because he’s not getting to the crease quickly enough then I’ll tell him to stay in the crease.

I have chosen Thornton as my captain, and Lapointe and Fitzgerald as the two alternates. As mentioned before, I base my choice on influence, teamwork and determination.

I have chosen Thornton as my first extra attacker since he is my best attacker. I have chosen Axelsson as the second extra attacker because he is the best attacking player that is not on Thorton’s line. There’s no point in choosing both extra attackers from the same line because if that line is playing at the time the goalie is pulled, both of those players will already be on the ice.

With regards to the rest of the orders, I leave them as the default values. If I’m playing a very strong team then I sometimes set the shooting to barrage. Also, if I know that a goalie is particularly weak with regards to defending a particular part of the net then I will set the shot targeting accordingly.

Shoot-out

This option can be accessed from the ‘action’ menu in the team Tactics Screen. In certain competitions, a tied game is decided by a shoot-out. This involves a player skating from centre ice to the net and going one-on-one with the goalie.

The numbers can be dragged from the top and bottom of the screen to the red box to the left of each player’s name. The numbers represent the order of preference for choosing who will take the penalty shot. Attributes which indicate a player good at penalty shots include: wristshot, slapshot, stickhandling and deking.

Training camp

This is a new feature to EHM 2005. The main aim of training camp is to get the players in peak condition in time for the beginning of the new season. In addition, it allows you to gauge how well your players play and to try out some of your youngsters. It is also possible to try out free agents and players that will be in next year’s Entry Draft in order to see how good they are and whether they good enough for the team.

The training camp screen

The Training Camp Screen is accessible a few days before camp is due to commence. It can be accessed by clicking on the ‘Training Camp’ button at the bottom left of the screen.

The Camp Screen displays a list of the entire active roster. If you want a player from your farm team to participate in the camp, he must be promoted from your farm team to your team. This only works if the player is contracted to your team. If you want a player from your farm team to participate in the camp and he isn’t contracted to your team, then you can try inviting him to the camp. This is detailed in section 8.4, below.

Open tryouts

At the top of the screen, it is possible to choose whether the camp will allow (mainly local-based) players to come and participate in the camp. These players will be looking to impress you in order to join the team. Such players are highlighted in green in the Camp Screen. News items will appear to notify you when a player has joined the camp. If the camp is closed, only players invited to camp may take part.

I tend to allow open tryouts because it is a way of discovering new talent. However, the level of skill involved in the NHL is so high that it’s unlikely that you’ll find any good prospects using this method. Open tryouts in the NHL are more for filling up the camp. In the lower leagues, however, open tryouts can be an effective way of finding decent players.

Assigning players to teams

During the eight day camp, there are a number of inter-scrimmage games. These are games between the various colour teams. It is possible to choose between two and four teams. To set the number of teams, click on the ‘Teams’ button at the top right of the screen.

My Boston team is quite small so I shall use two teams. If I had a larger number of players in camp then I would choose four teams.

Players can be assigned to teams by clicking on the appropriate team name (i.e. red, blue, green and white) to the right of the player’s name.

Each team will play two goalies during the 40 minute scrimmage games. This is regardless of how many goalies are assigned to each team. For example, if Raycroft is assigned to the Red team and Toivonen to the Blue team, Raycroft will play 20 minutes for the Red team and then 20 minutes for Blue. If two goalies are assigned to Red and two to Blue, then the two Red goalies will play 20 mins each for the Red team. The same applies to the two Blue goalies.

I tend to keep my lines together in each team. Therefore, I shall assign the players on the first and fourth lines to the Red team and the second and third lines to the Blue team.

The remainder of the players shall be split between the two teams. I try to get a balance between each team in relation to the number of D’s, LW’s, RW’s and C’s. The number of players in each position in each team can be seen at the bottom of the screen.

Inviting players

Players not contracted to you team may be invited to the camp. This is useful for looking at young talent as well as free agents that may be potential transfer targets.

In the NHL, players that can be invited to camp are players based in the AHL, CHL, ECHL and UHL, as well as free agents and players you own the rights to.

To invite a player, click on the player’s profile and select ‘Invite to Training Camp’ under the action menu.

Monitoring the camp

There are two ways in which players’ performances can be monitored:

At the end of every day the coaching team provide a report on who is playing and who isn’t. This appears in the form of a news item.

Secondly, performances in the inter-scrimmage games can be monitored by viewing the inter-scrimmage stats. This is accessed by clicking on the ‘Scrimmage stats’ button from the left-hand menu of the Camp Screen.

Cutting players

During the course of the camp, the coaches will ask you to cut a number of players from the camp. Players that have been called up from your farm team and tryout players that aren’t performing well could be cut. It is not, however, actually necessary to cut any players.

If you wish to cut a player contracted to your team, simply send him back down to your farm team.

If the player is not contracted to your team, select ‘Terminate tryout’ from the action menu in the player’s profile.

Signing players during camp

Due to the short length of time that camp takes place, the contract negotiation time is accelerated during this period. In other words, players will accept contracts more quickly than they do during the rest of the year. This is to give GMs a better chance of signing free agents and junior players during the camp.

Team Practice

Team practice is a very important area of EHM; it can make or break players and teams. In order to get the most out of players, it is important to train them well and have good coaches.

Players have the choice of organising practice themselves or allowing the head coach to organise it for them. In order to deligate the organisation of practice to the head coach, click on the general manager button at the top of the screen. Then click on ‘General Manager Options’. The screen that is subsequently displayed includes an option to allow the head coach to take control of practice.

Personally, I usually make the head coach organise practice. If you choose to do the same the it is only necessary to read sections 9.1-9.7 and 9.11-9.12 of this chapter. If you choose to organise training yourself then you will need to read the whole of this chapter.

Coaching staff

In order for practice to be successful, it is necessary to have skilled coaches in each of the areas of practice. To view the coaches’ attributes, click on ‘personnel’ from the Roster Screen. To view the attributes, click on ‘attributes’ from the view menu.

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Personnel

The screenshot above displays the coaches’ attributes. The non-coaching staff have been greyed-out. Let’s have a look at the strengths and weaknesses of each of my Bruins coaches:

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Personnel (highlighted attributes)

I’ve edited this screenshot to highlight each coach’s strengths (green), mediocre skills (yellow) and weaknesses (red). Irrelevant attributes have been greyed-out. Keep in mind that what are good attributes is relative according to the strength of the team and league. What is regarded as mediocre for an NHL team may be regarded as a strength in the British EIHL, for example.


Mike Sullivan (Head Coach)

Strengths: Coaching forwards, man management, motivating, tactical knowledge

Mediocre: Coaching defencemen, determination, discipline

Weaknesses: Coaching goalies, working with youngsters


Bob Essensa

Strengths: Coaching goalies

Mediocre: None

Weaknesses: Coaching defencemen, coaching forwards, determination, discipline, man management, motivating, tactical knowledge, working with youngsters


John Whitesides

Strengths: Discipline, man management, motivating, tactical knowledge

Mediocre: Working with youngsters

Weaknesses: Coaching defencemen, coaching forwards, coaching goalies, determination


Norm Maciver

Strengths: Coaching forwards

Mediocre: Coaching forwards, discipline, man management, motivating, tactical knowledge

Weaknesses: Coaching goalies, determination, working with youngsters


Wayne Cashman

Strengths: Coaching defencemen, coaching forwards, coaching goalies, man management, motivating, tactical knowledge, working with youngsters

Mediocre: Discipline

Weaknesses: Determination


It is important to have a coaching team that can cover all aspects of practice and so it may be necessary to hire, and possibly, fire some coaches. In order to discover whether there are any gaps, it is necessary to assign to the various aspects of practice. Before we assign coaches, let’s have a look at each aspect of practice and the various coaching attributes.

The head coach

The head coach can have a lot of responsibility; he may be given control of training and he may even be given control of choosing the line up and tactics and controlling the team during matches. He also can give coach reports on players upon request. Thus the head coach must have good attributes in a very wide range of areas.

In order to simplify what is needed, let’s split the attributes into what is needed for controlling practice, for picking and controlling the team, and for giving coach reports:

Practice

The head coach is just like any other coach but he has more responsibility. Therefore, he must have good coaching attributes in the aspects of practice for which he will be responsible for. For example, if you want him to be in charge of goalie practice then he must obviously have a good goalie coaching attribute. For more information with regards to what attributes are good for each aspect, look at section 9.3 below.

What separates the head coach from the other coaches is that he has control over assigning practice schedules to players. In order to effectively do this he is going to need to have good coaching goalies, defencemen and forwards attributes in order to decide what practice schedule will most improve each player. To ensure that all the coaches are working well together he will need good man management skills. He will also need good adaptability in order to be able to work with the assistant coaches who have different preferred playing styles to himself.

Picking and controlling the team

To be successful in this area, he will need to be determined to win and have good man management skills. Of course he must have good tactical knowledge otherwise he will not be able to choose a good line up and the tactics he chooses may not be the best. Being able to judge player potential and ability are useful skills because he will need to be able to judge which players should go on which lines. To get the most out of the players, he will need to be a good motivator and have a high level of discipline. If the team contains many young players, he will need a good working with youngsters attribute.

Coach reports

Obviously, the key attributes in this area are judging player ability and judging player potential. Without either, he will not be able to give a very reliable or accurate report.

Aspects of practice

There are seven aspects of practice. These are detailed below along with a list of what are the most important attributes to look for in a coach. However, just because an attribute isn’t regarded as the most important attribute doesn’t necessarily mean that it should be totally regarded.

Conditioning

Discipline, motivating

In order to ensure the fitness of the players, the coach must be able to motivate the players to get through what is often a gruelling workout.

Skating

Coaching defencemen, coaching forwards

This is necessary for a wide range of attributes since skating is one of the core skills of hockey. It is certainly important to ensure that players can keep their balance and agility on the ice, as well as being able to skate round players, stickhandle, deke, off the puck movement and positioning. Obviously, the sort of skating that a forward does is different to that which a defenceman does and so it is important to have both aspects covered.

Tactics

Tactical knowledge

In order for your players to carry out the tactics that you implement, it is important that they have a good understanding of the tactics as well as practicing the tactics you wish to use.

Offensive skill

Coaching defencemen, coaching forwards

This is mainly important for the forwards and offensive defencemen.

Defensive skills

Coaching defencemen, coaching forwards

This is important for defencemen and forwards playing on any defensive lines, e.g. fourth line and PK lines.

Goaltending skill

Coaching goalies

Self-explanatory.

Coaching attributes

There’s some coaching attributes that haven’t been discussed in the previous section and so I’ll outline them below and state why they’re important:

Determination

Coaches with more determination won’t give up so easily when trying to coach the players. There’s a greater chance that he will succeed in improving players’ attributes.

Discipline

The extent to which coaches will punish players who are not putting in enough effort.

Man management

How well they can manage each player in the practice sessions.

Motivating

Being a good motivator means that the coach will be able to get the best out of players.

Working with youngsters

If you’re playing young players in your team then it is important that the coaches can get the most out of them in order to ensure that they reach their potential skill.

Assigning coaches to aspects of practice

In order to assign the coaches, go to the Practice Screen. This is accessible from the left hand menu of the Roster Screen. At the bottom left of the Practice Screen, there is a list of the coaches with a set of tick boxes. These tick boxes are used to assign coaches to the aspects of practice:

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Practice

It is recommended that in order to get the most out of each coach, he is not assigned to any more than four aspects. Also, it would be useful to have a coach that can coach offensive players and another coach that can coach defensive players assigned to aspects which apply equally to both defensively and offensively-minded players.

Assigning the Boston coaches

Conditioning

Mike Sullivan – He can coach forwards and defencemen, and he has good disciplinary, man management and motivational skills.

John Whitesides – He has good disciplinary, man management and motivational skills.


Skating

Wayne Cashman – He can coach all three positions.

Norm Maciver – He can coach both forwards and defencemen.


Tactics

Mike Sullivan – He can coach both forwards and defencemen, and he has good tactical knowledge.

John Whitesides – Good tactical knowledge.


Shooting

Mike Sullivan – Coaches forwards.

Norm Maciver – Coaches defencemen.


Offensive skill

Mike Sullivan – Coaches forwards.

Wayne Cashman – Coaches forwards and defencemen.


Defensive skill

Wayne Cashman – Coaches forwards and defencemen.

Norm Maciver – Coaches forwards and defencemen.


Goaltending skill

Wayne Cashman – Coaches goalies.

Bob Essensa – Coaches goalies.


The screenshot below displays the assignments:

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Practice assignments

Every aspect of training is covered by two coaches. One weak link that I’ve noticed is Bob Essensa. He is only useful for training goalies. I’m sure he could be replaced by someone who can train goalies and also have good attributes in other areas of coaching.

Practice area

At the bottom right of the Practice Screen, the allocation of time to three types of practice can be altered. Most of the time, the team plays even strength and so most of the time should be allocated to ‘general’. If, however, you find that either the PP or PK teams are not performing enough then the time devoted to these areas can be increased in order to try to improve the performance of the special teams. Take note that the head coach does not control this aspect; the user always has total control of this.

Assigning players to a practice schedule

Assigning players to a schedule is very simple. In the Practice Screen, simply click in the circle to the right of the player’s name which corresponds to the schedule desired.

Editing schedules

Schedules can be accessed from the left hand menu of the Practice Screen.

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Practice schedule

When viewing a schedule, it is possible to alter the practice that the schedule consists of. Each aspect of training can have its intensity set to ‘none’, ‘light’, ‘medium’ or ‘intensive’:

None: This may result in player attributes decreasing.

Light: Decreases the risk of attributes dropping.

Medium: Attributes might rise slightly.

Intensive: There’s a high chance of attributes rising but there is also an increased risk of tiring and injury.

By setting one aspect to ‘intensive’, it might be necessary to set one of the other aspects to ‘light’ in order to compensate for the extra workload. It all depends on how fit the players are. It might be possible to set one or two aspects to ‘intensive’ while leaving the rest at ‘medium’.

New position and new side

It is also possible to set a schedule to include training a player a new position. It is possible to train a player to play in a second position. If he is trained to play in a third position, he will lose his ability to play in the second position. He always retains the ability to play in his primary position.

It is also possible to train a player to play on the other side of the ice.

Whether such training is successful is dependent on the skills of the coach and on the determination and work rate of the player as well as a number of hidden player attributes.

Monitoring players’ progress

In the Practice Screen, click on the view menu and then select ‘attributes’. This will display a list of the player attributes for each player. Attributes that have risen are highlighted in green whilst those that have dropped are in red.

General tips

Keep in mind that even when the head coach is in charge of practice, if you wish coaches to cover only a couple of training aspects it is necessary to assign the coaches yourself; the head coach doesn’t appear to do this himself.

Leaving training at the same intensity for prolonged periods of time leads to stagnation. Varying intensity prevents such stagnation and keeps players on their toes. Minstrel’s technique is to have a monthly ‘week of hell’. This involves training at medium setting until the last week of the month. At the beginning of the final week, the intensity is set to ‘light’ for everything apart from ‘conditioning’ which is set to ‘instense’. This lasts about five days. After that, everything is set to ‘light’ for a few days and then back to ‘medium’.

Physiotherapists

Physios are a vital part of any team. They treat injured players and give reports as to whether an injured player has a serious problem which needs to be rehabilitated. Having more physios helps reduce the risk of injury during training and speeds up the injury recovery process.

The key attribute which physios need is obviously physiotherapy. This attribute affects how quickly they can treat an injured player. It might be useful if the physio also has good determination to treat the injury. This might prevent recurrences of the injury.

When a player becomes injured, it is advisable to get a physio report on the injury. This is done via the action menu of the Player Profile Screen. The report will state whether the injury is part of a more serious and recurring problem which requires rehabilitation (such as Eric Lindros who suffers from post-concussion syndrome) and whether the player is naturally injury prone.

Assistant GM

The assistant GM is a very useful member of the team’s staff. He provides a report on your roster and takes control of the user’s responsibilities when the user chooses to put the game into vacation mode. Not all teams have an assistant GM and so it is important to check on the Personnel Screen which is accessible from the Roster Screen.

Important attributes

What attributes make a good assistant GM depend on what roles he shall be performing. As a general rule, a very wide range of attributes are required.

Team report

Judging player ability, judging player potential

In order to provide a reliable team report, he must be able to accurately judge players’ skills.

Taking over the user’s role during vacation mode

Man management, tactical knowledge, discipline, judging player ability, judging player potential, motivating

Working with youngsters shall also be required if the team he’s working with is relatively young.

For more information, look at section 9.2.

Team report

The team report is a very useful tool for deciding who should be dressed and who should go on each line. The Team Report Screen can be accessed by clicking on ‘get team report’ from the action menu of the Roster Screen. This option is only available if the team has an assistant GM.

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Team report

The Team Report Screen shows a vast array of useful information. At the top of the screen, players are divided into their positions and then ranking according to overall skill for that position. Players highlighted in yellow are currently in your team, players in orange are contracted to your team but are currently in the minors or out on loan, and players in white are unsigned prospects.

At the bottom left of the screen, the best players for a number of categories are shown. This can provided guidance as to who should be appointed captain, who would be good on the PP lines (i.e. who has a good shot) and who should be tried out in the team (i.e. most underrated), for example.

At the bottom right on the screen is a list of the best (signed and unsigned) prospects. The assistant GM has ranked them according to who he thinks is the best.

Other information may be accessed from this screen too. In the left hand-side menu, there are buttons relating to positions. Clicking on one of these positions displays a list of the players ranked according to skill just like the main Team Report Screen. However, it also displays player stats such as GP, Pts and PIM. This is useful for keeping track of how players are performing compared to other players in their position.

There is also a ‘performance’ button in the left hand side menu. This shows who is currently performing well and who is currently performing badly.

The assistant GM can also provide team reports for other teams but only those in the same league as your team. Such team reports are available by accessing the Roster Screen of the team in question and then clicking on ‘get team report’ from the action menu.

What if there isn’t an assistant GM?

If the team doesn’t have an assistant GM then it will not be possible to view team reports. Also, the head coach will take over the GM’s responsibilities when the user puts the game in vacation mode.

Scouting

Scouting is an essential part of making a team successful. Without utilising the team’s scouts, it will be much harder to scour the hockey world for upcoming talent, as well as for players who can fill gaps in a roster. Thus a team will need a number of scouts.

The key attributes to look for in a scout are judging player ability and judging player potential. Determination may also be important since a more determined scout might work harder to assess a player. Also, scouts will travel to various parts of the globe and so it might be useful if they are adaptable.

Head scout

Having a head scout with high attributes in both judging player potential and ability is essential for successful scouting. This is because he adds his own opinion to every scout report, regardless of whether or not he scouted the player himself.

Assigning scouts

Scouts can be assigned from the Player and Staff Search Screen. The scouts section can be viewed by clicking on the ‘scouts’ button of the left hand-side menu. Individual scouts can then be selected by clicking on the ‘scouts’ button near the top left of the screen.

To assign a scout, click on the ‘assign’ button. This is located to the right of the ‘scout’ button mentioned above. A scout can be assigned to a number of different areas. Broadly speaking, they may be assigned to a team, competition, nation, region, youth players or a draft (if the league in which your team is competing in has a draft).

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Player and staff search

Whether judging player ability or judging player potential is more important will depend on what area is being scouted and what sort of players you wish to find. For example, judging player potential is very important when scouting the NHL Entry Draft whereas judging player ability may be more important if you are scouting a nation for players who you want to step in and contribute to your team immediately. Thus, choosing where to assign a scout is of high importance.

Personally, when managing an NHL team, I tend to assign scouts to the following areas:

  • AHL – there’s a mixture of youth and veteran talent and so a scout with high judgment of ability and potential attributes is necessary.
  • CHL – there’s a mixture of youth and veteran talent and so a scout with high judgment of ability and potential attributes is necessary.
  • ECHL – this is a youth league and so judging player potential is the most important. Some of these players may be ready to step up to the NHL and so judging player ability is still important.
  • UHL – there’s a mixture of youth and veteran talent and so a scout with high judgment of ability and potential attributes is necessary.
  • Next opposition – I assign my least skilled scout to this.
  • Youth players – judging player potential is vital.
  • NHL Entry Draft – judging player potential is vital.
  • Scandinavian region – there’s plenty of youth and veteran talent and so a scout with high judgment of ability and potential attributes is necessary.
  • I usually have a two or three scouts unassigned so that they can assess any players that I request scout reports for. A mixture of good judging potential and ability is required.

Scouting next opposition is a useful tool for gathering a little information about key players and injuries and tactics of the opposition of the next fixture to be played. This report comes in the form of a news item. This is the least demanding scouting job and so it is perhaps best to assign the least skilled scout to this area.

It is possible to assign a scout to your own club. This is done in the normal way of assigning a scout to a club. This will provide scout reports on your players. Such reports may be useful in determining team roles and who to trade out.

When assigning a scout, the length of scouting and the type of players scouted may be set.

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Assign scout

Duration

Temporary: The length of the scouting trip will depend on the intensity of the trip (see below).

Permanent: The scouting trip shall go on indefinitely until the scout is recalled.

Intensity

Light: The scouting trip shall last approximately ten days.

Normal: The scouting trip shall last approximately three weeks.

Intensive: The scouting trip shall last approximately two months.

Recommendation limit

** to ****: News items shall appear notifying you of players that the scout has rated as at least the number of stars set in this setting.

No recommendations: no news items shall appear from the scout recommending a player.

Age

An age range for the players to be scouted may be set.

Position

The scout may be instructed to only scout a certain position.

Ignore well known

A scout may be instructed to not scout players with a high reputation.

During the course of the scouting trip, the players that the scout recommends can be viewed from the same screen as where the scouts are assigned. To the left of each player listed is a star rating (out of five stars) as to how highly the scout recommends him.

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Player and staff search

Scout reports

It is possible to request a scout report from any player in the game. To request such a report, click on ‘request scout report’ from the action menu of the player’s Profile Screen. This brings up a screen asking which scouts shall be assigned to watch and report on the player. It may be wise to choose a combination of scouts which have high attributes in judging ability and potential in order to get both bases covered.

However, if you are scouting a very young player who is clearly too young to play for your team, it may be a good idea to assign scouts with a high judging potential attribute regardless of how they are at judging ability since you are not interested in how good they are at the moment but rather in the future. The opposite may apply when requesting a report on a seasoned veteran who has reached the peak of his ability.

It can take a short period of time for the scouts to watch the player play and report back with their findings. You will be notified via the News Screen once a scout report has been completed.

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Scout report news item

Scout reports are stored in the player’s profile. In order to view a scout report, click on ‘scout report’ from the left hand-side menu of the Player Profile Screen.

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Shea Weber scout report card

The scout report provides a wealth of information on the player, including his key skills, where he would fit into your team’s roster at the moment, where he would fit into your team’s roster in the future and how many points and PIM he is likely to accumulate during the current season. The scouts also rate a number of general playing skills using a rating system ranging from A+ to F.

By clicking on the ‘scout’ button just below the player’s picture, the reports of each scout can be viewed. This is useful if you have assigned one scout due to the fact that he has a high judging player ability attribute and another scout because he is good at judging player potential because you can see how one scout rates the player’s ability and how the other scout rates the player’s future since each scout will be able to more accurately judge the relevant area than the other.

Team needs

Team needs is a good way of telling other teams what players you are interested in. When teams approach your team to trade, they will take into account your team needs and will often offer players which will fulfil one or many of your needs.

To set your team’s needs, click on ‘set team needs’ from the action menu in the Roster Screen. The head coach will suggest what areas of the roster need strengthening. Of course, you don’t have to listen to what he says.

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Boston Bruins team needs

For each position, you can choose how skilled the player is that you need. This ranges from ‘key’ down to ‘backup’ and ‘hot prospect’. Obviously, setting this to ‘key’ means that you need a highly skilled player capable of playing on the first line, whereas ‘backup’ means someone who is less skilled and is likely to be simply a backup for the fourth line.

It is also possible to view other teams’ needs. To view them, go to the team’s Roster Screen, click on ‘transactions’ from the left hand-side menu and then choose ‘team needs’. Also, when viewing the Trade Screen (see section 14), the needs of the team you are trading with are displayed at the bottom of the screen.

Trades and transfers

There are numerous ways of trading players:

  • Exchanging players, player rights, draft picks and/or cash (trading)
  • Paying a transfer fee (transferring)
  • Two-way contracts
  • Loans
  • Signing free agents

Trading is the method used in North America and transferring is the method used in Europe. The trade screens for both are slightly different and shall be discussed separately. The methods for approaching another team for a trade or transfer are, however, the same.

Trading players

This is the method used by North American leagues.

There are two methods of approaching to trade. Firstly, the ‘approach to trade’ option may be selected from the action menu of the Player Profile Screen. Secondly, the same option may be selected from the action menu of a team’s Roster Screen.

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Trade

The Trade Screen allows the user to compose his trade offer. Contracted players, draft picks and player rights can all be traded. First of all, I’d recommend choosing what you want from the team you’re trading with. Once you have done this, you will need to provide an adequate offer in exchange for the assets you want from the other team.

There is no hard and fast rule as to what should be included in order to make an offer acceptable; the offer may comprise of a combination of players, draft picks, player rights and cash or maybe just one of those four things. The team needs of the other team (listed at the bottom of the Trade Screen) should certainly be taken into account. If the team needs does not include a goalie and the team in fact has two strong goalies, there is no point in trying to offer them another goalie.

When attempting to trade with another team, I keep two things in mind: Temptation and compensation. Temptation is ensuring that the offer satisfies at least one of the team’s needs. Compensation is ensuring that the team is adequately compensated for the players, draft picks, cash and/or player rights that it shall be giving up to me. For example, if I want to get Rick Nash from the Blue Jackets, satisfying one or several (or indeed, all) of their team needs will not be sufficient to prise their star player away from them. They need to be compensated for the loss. This will involve either offering a key player of my own or several very good players. Once adequate compensation has been found, it might make the trade unfeasible since you will be losing too many decent players for the sake of one star.

One thing to keep in mind is that, unlike the European transfer system, cash offers are not a prominent part of trades. Cash may, however, be useful when attempting to trade with a cash-strapped team.

Draft picks are useful when trading with a team that wants to add youth players to their roster (the team needs will say whether they are looking at adding prospects). Draft picks are valuable commodities and prove tempting to all teams regardless as to whether they are looking to invest in youths or veterans.

Offering rights to players may prove attractive to a team. For example, offering rights to a player at peak age currently playing in Europe is as good as offering a player currently playing at your team who is of a similar age and of a similar level of skill. Offering players that you obtained in the Entry Draft which have yet to be signed are also tempting to other teams; especially those whose team needs include youth players. Player rights shall be discussed in more detail in section 16.3.

Once a player has been traded, the new team are assigned the player’s contract. A new contract is not negotiated, nor does the player have any choice as to whether to move to the team or not (unless the player’s contract contains a no-trade clause, meaning that he must give his consent to the trade). The new team will have to pay whatever the player was earning at his old team. Also, the contract length, clauses and bonuses will remain the same.

A further note about trading draft picks

As mentioned, draft picks are very valuable since it is the only way of getting new youth players. Getting the first pick of the first round of the Entry Draft will ensure that you can pick any player eligible for the Draft. At the end of the first season, Sidney Crosby, tipped as the next Great One, is eligible for the Draft. How can a team near the top of the NHL, and thus having no chance of getting the first pick of the first round (see section 16.1 for details on how draft picks are allocated to teams), get hold of the best youth players such as Sidney Crosby?

The team can obtain the first round picks of all the teams likely to take part in the Draft lottery (see section 16.1) and so it shall have the first few picks of the first round, allowing the team to get the cream of that year’s crop. The bottom five teams of the NHL take part in the Draft lottery and so the picks of these five teams will need to be obtained.

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Trade: Draft picks

When a team obtains another team’s draft picks, the position of that pick of the round in question is dependent on the final league position of the original holder of the pick and not the current holder. For example, if Boston get Minnesota’s first round pick, Boston will have their own first round pick and Minnesota’s first round pick. If Boston win the Stanley Cup then their own first round pick will be 30th (i.e. last) of the round, but if Minnesota win the Draft lottery then the pick Boston obtained from them will be the first of the first round. Therefore Boston would have the first and 30th picks of the first round.

In order to find out who has who’s draft picks, look at the ‘draft picks’ section of the team’s Transaction Screen:

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Minnesota Wild draft picks 2005

Transferring players

This is the method used by the European leagues.

Transfers involve the exchange of money for players. When offering for a player, the value of the player in question should be noted. The transfer value can be found by looking at the ‘information’ page of the Player Profile Screen. It might be possible to buy some players for less than the transfer value, especially if the team is struggling financially. Purchasing star players is more costly and will more than likely involve having to pay much more than their transfer value.

Teams have a transfer budget for buying players. This can be found in the ‘finances’ section of the Roster Screen. The chairman will not take too kindly if the transfer budget is exceeded and may actually veto transfers.

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Player transfer bid

Two-way contracts

This is a unique feature of the British hockey leagues and is fairly similar to a loan.

EIHL teams may approach to sign a player in a league lower than the BNL on a two-way contract. This means that the player is contracted to both his original team and the EIHL team for up to the length of the remainder of his contract. This is a cheaper way of bringing in players from the lower leagues than using the traditional transfer method. Under such contracts, the EIHL team has precedence when playing the player.

When such transactions take place, the player in question must agree to the two-way contract. Once the team has accepted the offer, the player must make his decision within a day.

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Two-way contract offer

Loans

Loans are more commonplace in Europe than North America, but they do indeed happen in North American leagues such as the NHL. Loans are useful for bringing in players on a temporary basis in order to provide cover for an injury or a hole in the roster. Loaning out young players is a useful way of giving them some games if they are not yet good enough to secure a starting place in your roster.

In order to get a player on loan, select ‘approach to loan’ from the action menu of the Player Profile Screen. In order to persuade the team to loan out the player, it may be necessary to offer to pay for some or all of the player’s wages whilst he is on loan.

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Player loan bid

Free agents (Non-NHL teams)

Free agents are those players that are not contracted to a club and can thus be offered a contract without having to pay a transfer fee. To find a list of free agents, go to the ‘player search’ section of the Player and Staff Search Screen. Currently, this screen will display a list of all players in the game. In order to display just the unrestricted free agents, click on the ‘filters’ button. In the Filter Screen, set the ‘contract’ field to ‘expired UFAs’. This will filter out the players who are not free agents. It may also be useful to filter out players that are unlikely to be willing to join your team. This can be done by setting the ‘interested’ field to ‘yes’:

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Player search filter

Free agents (NHL)

Free agents are those whose contract has expired. In North America, there are a number of categories of free agent:

Unrestricted free agents (UFAs)

There are two types of UFAs.

First of all, there are players at least 31 years old on the 30th June who have played in the NHL for at least four years.

Secondly, there are players who are at least 25 years old on the 30th June who have played at least three professional seasons. There is a requirement that they have played no more than a certain number of games. This depends on their position.

There are no restrictions as to who can sign these players. To filter out non-UFAs, press the ‘NHL UFA’ button in the ‘player search’ section of the Player and Staff Search Screen.

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NHL UFA player search

Restricted free agents (RFAs)

These are players younger than 31 years old on the 30th June and have rejected a qualifying offer from their team. Teams can approach to sign such players but they must pay the original team compensation in the form of draft picks. The number and round of the picks depends on the player’s wages. See page 39 of the NHL EHM 2005 manual. To filter out non-RFAs, follow the instructions given in section 14.6 but select ‘RFA’ instead of ‘UFA’.

NHL roster limit

Like other leagues, the NHL has a limit to the number of players in the roster. The rule in the NHL is that there must be a minimum of 18 skaters and two goalies and a maximum of 23 players in the roster during the regular season and playoffs. Such limits do not apply during the pre-season.

Players may be sent down to one of the NHL team’s affiliates in order to ensure that the maximum roster size is not exceeded. Players are sent down to an affiliate by clicking on ‘send to affiliate team name’ from the action menu of the Player Profile Screen. Under certain situations, however, such an option is not possible unless the player is first placed on the waivers. The option to place a player on the waivers is also in the action menu. As soon as the player has been placed on the waivers, he may be sent down to an affiliate.

Waivers

The waivers is another unique feature of the NHL. The length of time a player is on the waivers depends on the day on which he is placed on the waivers. During September 15th until June 1st, on Mondays to Thursdays, it’s 48 hours, on Fridays it’s 96 hours and on Saturdays and Sundays, it’s 72 hours. During the rest of the year the waiver period is 120 hours.

During the time the player is on the waivers, other NHL teams may claim him. If more than one team claims him during the time period, the team with the lowest win percentage will win him. If, after the time period, nobody has claimed the player, he remains with his team. When nobody claims the player, it is known as ‘clearing the waivers’.

As with trading, when a player is acquired through the waivers, the player’s contract is moved over to the new team. Thus his wages, contract length, clauses and bonuses will all stay the same.

Once a player who is eligible for the waivers has been called up to the NHL team’s roster, he will have to clear waivers to be sent back down to an affiliate team if he has been in the NHL team’s roster for more than 30 days or has played more than ten games.

Some players are exempt from the waivers. This shall be discussed in section 15.3.

To view who is currently on waivers, select ‘waivers’ from the ‘world’ menu.

Waiver Draft

The Waiver Draft takes place around three to seven days before the start of the NHL regular season. Before the Waiver Draft takes place, teams may protect up to 18 skaters and two goalies that are not exempt (see section 15.3) from the waivers. All unprotected players are entered into the Waiver Draft.

During the draft, teams take turns at picking unprotected players. When a team picks a player, the GM will have to unprotect a player in order to protect the newly acquired player if there are already 18 skaters and two goalies protected. This unprotected player is then placed in the Waiver Draft. Teams may skip some or all of their turns in the Draft.

As with trading and the waivers, player’s contracts are moved to the team that acquired the player from the Waiver Draft.

Exemption from the waivers and Waiver Draft

A number of players are exempt from the waivers and Waiver Draft:

  • Skaters who sign their first NHL contract at the age of 18 are exempt for five years and 19 year old skaters are exempt for four years. Such exemption is reduced to three years once such players have played more than ten games in the NHL.
  • Goalies who sign their first NHL contract at the age of 18 are exempt for six years and 19 year old goalies are exempt for five years. Such exemption is reduced to four years once such players have played more than ten games in the NHL.
  • A player of at least 20 years old who plays his first NHL game has three years of exemption from the waivers and Waiver Draft.

A list of players contracted to your team who are eligible or exempt from waivers and the Waiver Draft can be found by selecting ‘waiver eligibility’ from the ‘view’ button of the Roster Screen.

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Waiver eligibility

Injured reserve

When a player is injured, it is possible to put the player on injured reserve (IR for short). This can be done via the action menu of the Player Profile Screen. A player must stay on IR for at least one week. Whilst on IR, the player does not count towards the roster limit. This is useful because it allows the GM to call up a replacement player from an affiliate team without having to place a player on the waivers in order to make roster space for the replacement player. In cases where the injury is for no more than 30 days or ten games, it is possible to send down the replacement player without having to first place him on the waivers (see section 15.1 above).

The Entry Draft

The entry draft is a unique feature of the North American leagues. This is the only way in which new talent can enter leagues which have such a draft. There are a number of entry drafts which take place in EHM, but this guide shall concentrate on the NHL Entry Draft. Many of the basic principles of the NHL Entry Draft apply to the others.

How the Draft works

The Draft consists of nine rounds, with each team having one pick per round. The Draft order can found by accessing the ‘NHL Draft’ from the ‘drafts’ sub-menu of the ‘world’ menu and by selecting ‘picks’ from the left hand-side menu. The order in which the teams pick in each round for the upcoming Draft is dependent on where the teams finished overall in the NHL last season. The order is basically the reverse order of the final league standings.

The bottom five teams (i.e. positioned 26th to 30th) are entered into a Draft Lottery in order to determine the first five picks of the rounds. This is to discourage teams from throwing matches in order to finish in last place and get the first pick.

In the first round of the Draft, the Stanley Cup winner has the last pick, regardless of how many points that team accumulated. In subsequent rounds, the team that finished with the most points has the last pick, rather than the Stanley Cup Winner.

At the beginning of each season, each team is awarded one draft pick for each of the nine rounds of the Draft which is to take place in five year’s time. Therefore, teams always have five years’ worth of draft picks. As explained in section 14.2, draft picks may be traded and this affects who actually has which pick in each round.

Who is eligible for the NHL Draft?

Any players who are 18 years old by the 15th September of the year of the Entry Draft or will turn 19 years old between the 16th September and the 31st December of the year of the Entry Draft are eligible for the Draft. This includes players throughout the whole of the world. If a player has already been drafted then they are not eligible unless the team’s rights to that player have expired.

Player rights

When a team drafts a player, they do not sign him. Instead, they simply obtain the rights to that player. This means that the only team in that league that can sign that player is that team. Since there are a number of drafts, it is possible for one team to hold the CHL (Canadian Hockey League, i.e. OHL, QMJHL and WHL – not Central Hockey League) rights to a player and another team to hold the NHL rights to that player.

An NHL team may at any point approach to sign a player that they hold rights to. This is done via the action menu of the Player Profile Screen. NHL rights take priority over CHL rights and so a CHL team can’t sign a player that it holds the rights to once they are contracted to an NHL team. However, once signed, the player may be assigned by the NHL team to his CHL team as long as the player still has junior eligibility (check the ‘information’ section of the Player Profile Screen).

With regards to European-based players, NHL teams may at any point approach to sign such players that they hold rights to. If the player has an NHL release clause in his contract, the player will join your team in the next international transfer window. If he doesn’t, he will join during the international transfer window once his contract with his European team has expired.

As mentioned in section 14.1, player rights may be traded.

International Scout Service Rankings

The ISS research and rank the top 200 prospects for each entry draft in North America. They release and update their findings at the beginning, middle and end of the season. GMs should keep an eye on these rankings when deciding who to draft. The rankings are accessible via the ‘World’ menu.

Scouting prospects

Throughout the season, GMs should keep an eye out for who they wish to pick in the Draft. It is of great importance to choose wisely in the Draft as it is the only way of bringing young players to the team. The best way to do this is to send your scouts out to leagues where players eligible for the upcoming Draft are playing. Also, assigning a scout to the NHL Entry Draft is good idea. When each ISS report is released, your scouts may disagree with some of the rankings and suggest you pay attention to players who have, in the scouts’ opinion, been ranked lower than they deserve. Such advice from the scouts appears as news items. A list of who is eligible for the Draft can be accessed by selecting ‘NHL Entry Draft’ from the ‘drafts’ sub-menu of the ‘world’ menu. Users may scout players for themselves by using the ‘filters’ button.

Finding what rights a team holds

There are a number of ways of finding out what rights a team holds:

The Team Report Screen provides a list of the team’s top prospects in the bottom right of the Screen. See section 11.2 for more information.

In the Roster Screen, the filter can be set to ‘unsigned prospects’:

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Prospects player search

To view who was drafted in each year by a team, go to the Transactions Screen and choose ‘NHL Entry Draft’ from the ‘view’ menu:

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Draft pick history

General tips for the Draft

During the course of the season, it might be a good idea to keep a separate shortlist for players that are eligible for the Draft that you are interested in. Shortlists can be loaded and saved via the ‘search’ button in the top right corner of the Shortlist Screen. During the Draft, the Player and Staff Search Screen can be accessed in the usual way and so shortlists can be loaded and viewed. Scout shortlists that have been saved can also be loaded.

During the Draft, advice from the assistant manager, head coach and head scout can be accessed from the left hand-side menu. When viewing their advice, take into account their judging player potential attributes. If they have a low judging player potential attribute then their advice might not be that sound.

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Draft suggestion

Once the Draft is over, a summary of the top three picks is displayed as a news item.

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Draft review news item

Distribution of this guide

This guide may be freely distributed (in whole and unmodified) on the internet so long as there is a credit to Archibalduk and there is a link to http://www.ehmtheblueline.com. This guide may not be sold for any amount of money.

Credits

A BIG thank you to Minstrel! Without him, this guide wouldn’t be half of what it is. He’s proof-read virtually the whole guide as well as answer my questions and explain some things that I didn’t understand. Much of the FAQ is a summary of questions asked by users which were answered by him in the forums. It’s only right that he should be credited as co-author along with myself.

Thanks to Tasku and Cleon who have also taken part in the discussion of the guide and helped contribute by answering some of my questions.

Thanks to the users on the http://www.sortitoutsi.net and http://www.ehmtheblueline.com forums for providing suggestions and constructive criticism.

Of course, thanks to Riz and the SI Team (http://www.sigames.com) for making this fantastic game!

Archibalduk, 8th July 2005