Carolina Hurricanes star Eric Staal is on the cover of EA Sports' NHL 08, which hits stores September 11. With training camp just around the corner, gamers on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 can get a free preview of the game by downloading the NHL 08 demo off Xbox Live and PlayStation Store. The demo features the Anaheim Ducks against the Ottawa Senators in a rematch of last year's Stanley Cup Finals. While Eric's not playable in this build, all of the new gameplay features are in place.
Anyone who enjoyed the new controls of last year's game--something EA Sports completely revamped for the franchise--will be in for plenty of surprises this year. The controls have been completely refined, which means everything the NHL stars can do on the ice from cross-overs to gliding backwards defensively to poking the puck between the lags of a defender, can now be fully controlled by you in the game. Although there's a slight learning curve because of all of the new moves--and a new practice mode to refine these moves and actually design plays for your team--the rewards are thriling. As I told Eric when I spoke to him early this summer, he really lucked out to be on the cover of this year's game because it may go down in history as the best NHL game ever made by EA Sports--easily as fun as the classic Genesis NHL 95 game.
Eric and Jordan Staal will actually get some hands-on time with NHL 08 in Toronto on September 7, where they'll play the game against the Hanson Brothers from Slap Shot fame at a press event. This should give him an advantage when he comes to training camp to face off against other Canes gamers like Cam Ward and Mike Commodore.