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Alex Ovechkin announced as EA Sports NHL 21 cover athlete

Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals has been announced as the cover athlete for EA Sports’ NHL 21.

It’s the second time the Capitals superstar will be on the cover for the game. He was featured in the NHL 07 edition.

Along with their newest cover athlete, EA Sports also revealed the trailer for NHL 21, which will be released Oct. 16.

Channel your inner Crosby, Svechnikov, Tkachuk

As you may have caught in the trailer, there are some new moves available to players to mimic NHL stars. Sidney Crosby using the back of the net to get by a defenseman? Try it out. Trick a goalie with a between-the-legs shot like Matthew Tkachuk?Worth a chance. Terrorize netminders from behind the net by pulling off “The Michigan” lacrosse move like Andrei Svechnikov? Good luck.

Says EA: “Players now have more options than ever before to take control of the game and impose their playstyle on opponents. Players can dazzle with slips, banks and chips, while pulling off some of the most recognizable superstar-inspired moves. However, players will also have to deal with improved goalie positioning and control, as netminders are adapting to the game’s skill level faster than ever before with brand-new desperation moves and animations.”

Hopefully EA can find a way to temper the lacrosse shot’s effectiveness so it’s not exploited by gamers as with moves in the past.

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Be A Pro upgrades

While EA has incorporated some sort of story mode into its other sports games, NHL has lagged behind. But BAP this year has elements to controlling more than just your player on the ice.

From Gamespot’s preview: “There are also more conversations and narrative choices you can make this year, bringing it more in line with EA’s Madden series. You can speak to your coach or to the media, and what you say can have an impact on your character’s attributes. You can, for example, speak to the media and make a bold claim about how you will perform in a given game, and you will then need to back it up during the game to keep your standing.”

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Other notes

• From the initial information, franchise mode players will only get an upgrade when it comes to the NHL Trade Deadline. Real-time updates will help general managers with their decision-making on who to target and attempt trades for. Don’t expect GM Connected to return.

• On Hockey Ultimate Team, EA says, “This year’s iteration also takes HUT, the game mode that allows players to create their fantasy lineup of NHL players, alumni, and icons, and compete with them online, to the next level with HUT RUSH. HUT RUSH is a streamlined version of HUT that lets players jump into HUT games quickly, rack up achievements, and unlock rewards by scoring with style. With a scoring system that rewards skill and creativity, HUT RUSH will provide plenty of cannot miss moments.”

• World of CHEL will introduce a free skate mode where gamers can test their player builds. There’s also a practice mode for teams using an AI goalie and a scrimmage option to play against an AI team.

• The game will be out on PS4 and Xbox One, but not PS5 or Xbox Series X when those consoles come out. They will only be playable on PS5 and Xbox Series X through backwards compatibility.

MORE: PHT remembers EA Sports’ NHL ’98 and its unmatched intro video


Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.