Special Teams 101

After many requests for this section, I have decided to write you the tips and tricks of special teams. It isn't an exact science, but I think I can help you get that PK up to snuff. Let's begin.

1. Pick the staff member to run it.-You will need to refer to your training section, here you will find that you can assign a staff member to your special teams, and other areas. The best staff member? HT, hockey tactics is the #1 priority here. The staff member who runs it should have a high HT rating.

2. The %'s-As addressed in the another area of EHM 101, the %'s you use to train with are very important. You may ask yourself, "what are the priorities on %'s for training in NHL and AHL?". It is simple, the AHL is for developing right? The NHL is for the big boys to step up and play. special teams is not as important in the AHL as say, personal training and general on-ice training. The NHL guys don't need as much 1 on 1 work, they pretty much have it covered (or should) to be in the big show. If you give your players a setting like: 20% personal training, 60% special teams and 20% general on-ice training for the NHL, you have made a big step towards getting a better PK and PP.

3. The players-This is one of the few areas that the game does well on it's own for lines. The computer lines will set your best offensive threats on the PP and the best defensive tools on PK. The only thing you may want to change is, try a F on D for the PP, and don't be shy about adding an extra Dman to F on the PK. The only thing you may want to worry about in the PK if you do an extra Dman is, make sure your 1 F can win faceoffs!

4. Tactics and shift lengths-This really depends a lot on how deep your team is. If you are a 1 PP line team, you will leave the shift lengths at default(80-40), it is best, same with your PK. The best are the best. If you are a 2 line team, consider the shifts at 70-50, don't balance them out, 60-60 is a losing cause.

As for the tactics, well, this is where we get tricky. The players you use have a lot to do with this. PP first.

-Shooting:this is the basic setting, like passing plays on the regular lines, but it emphasizes more in the attacking zone, not the whole rink.

-Screen & Shoot:Got a big C? A Dman with a hard shot? This is your setting.

-Passing Plays:Know how NHL teams sit there and cycle the puck back and forth looking for an opening? This is it.

-Crash The Net:This was always my favorite in NHL ea games, lol, (did I just refer to crappy ea games?-slaps for me) Anyway, in EHM it is a bit more of a gamble, this is great if your line is huge and you have 2 Dmen on the point.

-Shot from the point:Advice? Don't bother.

If you have 2 good PP lines, mix them up, do not use the same tactic for both, you will get shut down. Now for PK tactics.

-Aggressive:If you have a hardon for giving up goals but getting some as well, here you go.

-Loose Box:Something I affectionately refer to as "loose cannon", this will shut down any passing plays strategy on the PP, but that's about it.

-Passive Box:Best PK setting there is, no question. It adjusts to all situations. This is my opinion.

-Small Box:This will clog the middle of the zone, anyone trying to crash your net or screen & shoot won't have much success.

-Tight Box:If there is any difference between this and Small Box, I do not see it. Anyone using passing plays against this will rip you a new one.

If you have 2 good PK lines, make them both Passive Box, this in my opinion is the best strategy. What the heck, make them both the same no matter how good either one is.

5. A few more words on the players you choose.-If you are going to take my advice, and I hope you do, the lines will have simple combos to follow. The PP should have someone who can pass,a nd someone who can score, that is basic. The PK is a little harder. The players you have on them need to be defensive for sure, but not just any kind of defensive. The people you'd use on your 4th line sometimes, like the big hitters and scrappers aren't really going to help your PK much. The 2 most important defensive stats for the PK are positioning and checking. Hitting is not important here. Also, I cannot stress enough the importance of having a guy who can win faceoffs on your PK. This is all, hope you enjoyed it!