First off, congratulations to everyone for another successful VHA Season!
For the first time in a long time, no CPU teams made the playoffs!
1) Each round will run for a maximum of 10 days to play 4 to 7 games with no one blocking your games on the server.
2) There is no cap and roster limit. All players 74OA and above have been called up for your convenience.
3a) All players with lingering injuries from the regular season have been set to Day to Day for a maximum of 2 calendar days.
3b) All players with injuries resulting from blocked shots have been restored to 100% healthy.
4) There will be randomizer run prior to each round. The most severe injury will be day to day for a length of 5 days.
PLEASE READ ATTENTIVELY PRIOR TO STARTING THIS AND EVERY SERIES GOING FORWARD
As we embark on this new season where intensity usually reaches another notch, here are some guidelines you must adhere to at all times:
With the playoffs on the horizon, it’s time to talk etiquette and general gameplay. Please read this and take it seriously, because every year there are issues, and this year gameplay has been very lax coming down the stretch.
A few tips for having a better playoff series…
First of all, when you find out who your opponent is discuss with them any pet peeves you have about certain plays. For instance, in each of my playoff matchups last year the GM and I had a conversation about things to look out for. I gave them a chance to bring up anything they found particularly hideous. Some might say “hits from behind” or “too many one timer attempts” and I’d try to be mindful of being especially careful about playing well within those rules. Remember these are topics that are within the rules, not “I REALLY HATE WHEN YOUR GOALIE IS IN THE NET”.
Second, you are not going to win every game or every series. If you lose it doesn’t mean someone else violated the rules. They may have, but it’s far more likely that your goaltending let you down, the other player outplayed you, a lucky bounce beat you or you couldn’t find the back of the net. Complaints can certainly be sent to us with the video footage, and we’ll take those complaints seriously, but I’ll be the first one to admit that most of the time when I’ve either lost a game or a series, it was the result of how things broke for me and not infractions. Keep that in perspective.
Third, a minor rule infraction is not cause to stop playing your game and have a meltdown. This is why I say talk to the GM prior to the start of your series. Listen to their opinion as well and then follow the rules to the best of your ability, while trying to win. If something comes up, it’s ok to pause and politely bring it up. It’s ok to talk between games. If it’s clear someone is continually breaking rules and polite conversation about it hasn’t solved it, then send the video and the complaint to us before playing your next game and we’ll review to see if there’s a real issue or if you’re misunderstanding the rule.
Finally…be friendly. We’re all friends. This is a game we play for fun. You’re not gonna win the cup every year and it’s ok to be disappointed or upset you’re not winning, but it’s not ok to get shitty and blow up or harass your opponent, because things didn’t go your way.
Your opponent may not have come to YOU with concerns, but it’s likely, if you’re playing on the edge, they’ve come to one of us. Some things have been recorded and I’ll detail some of the main complaints below:
Faceoffs (from the gameplay etiquette post):
Keep draws about 50% throughout the game (this means teams should be consistently operating well over 50%). Don’t win all the important defensive and offensive zone draws and then give away the neutral zone draws only to your opponent (everyone sees through this for what it is and it’s not realistic). Don’t start giving back faceoffs only when you’re up on the scoreboard. You’re not fooling anyone.
Commentary about this rule:
We’re a sim league. You have to win and lose draws in all zones. We’ve all played a game where our opponent is down 3-2 and they decide to win every big draw for the rest of the game, until they tie it or get a lead and then they dump more, they give you all the faceoffs and act as if they played it straight. That’s not how it works and we get a lot of complaints about this. You’re going to win some and lose some, just as is true in real life. So be real about it please.
Hitting and bumping from behind:
Keep your hits along the boards and in the very front of the net. Open ice hits are a no go, even if you’re taking a run with Tom Wilson or Ryan Reaves. In a puck race don’t bump a player EARLY or away from the puck. In reality this would be an immediate interference call, but NHL09 almost never calls it. If you accidentally bump from behind or in open ice, give back the puck and play on.
Commentary about the hitting rule:
This has been a staple of VHA for a long time, to avoid the arcade gameplay that happens on EA servers in NHL21 (and many years prior). The rule is self-explanatory, but I would add that if you’re continually “accidentally” hitting a guy as he’s shooting in open ice, then you’re likely to get called out at some point. Work on positioning, shot blocking and avoiding that hit. Everyone understands if there’s a puck race and from time to time there’s the odd CPU hit that you couldn’t stop. Give the puck back and roll on, but if it’s happening time and time again, it’s likely going to piss some people off, especially in the playoffs when things get tense.
Dump the puck regularly:
Skilled players and grinders both dump. You don’t have to turn McDavid into a plugger, but you also shouldn’t be turning 74 rated 4th liners into McDavid. Everybody dumps (it’s like everybody poops).
Commentary about dumping rules:
When we’re reviewing gameplay after complaints and we can literally count 4-5 dumps by 1 team in an entire game, there’s a massive problem. Most guys do this pretty well, but those who don’t or those who “forget” when they need to for long stretches, aren’t doing it well. Make the dump and chase part of your offense. Find creative (AND REALISTIC) ways to dump and chase, but make sure you’re mixing enough dumps in to make the game feel realistic.
Auto Deke or Spinorama:
The etiquette rules originally said “sparingly, please and with the right players”. However, this has changed to “almost never and never with the wrong players”. There are people using the auto-deke often, including before most important shots. We’re one step from eliminating it entirely in the next rule update, so let’s just say if you’re using either of these more than 1 time a game there’s a good chance a vote will be had to remove it.
Commentary about Auto-Deke or Spinorama rules:
We all remember when Sebastian Aho scored those 2 spinorama goals to eliminate Nashville in the playoffs this year. Oh wait? No…he tipped a puck in while covered tightly. These plays aren’t representative of what really happens in the playoffs. Beyond that, Auto-deke seems to increase the odds of scoring in NHL09, which is why it’s about to be axed. The spinorama is a very rare thing in the NHL, as in it might happen once every few games, from the most agile skaters, at best. We try to eliminate “money goals” and unrealistic situations so that players have to focus on playing good tactical hockey and a sim style. So in conclusion, “almost never” means we should literally not see these moves in your gameplay MOST games. It doesn’t mean you take 30 shots and 10 of them were preceded by auto-deke.
Hipchecks (The bane of every playoff season since 1487):
Hipchecks are frowned upon and deemed dangerous, because they can injure excessively in NHL09, much like headshots in the actual NHL. If a GM intentionally hipchecks another player and it results in an injury, the player who delivered the hipcheck, as well as the GM, can be subject to suspension. This is also true of accidental hipchecks, with the nature of the hit being considered in any actions taken. Repeat offenders are at greater risk of longer suspensions. Hipchecks that do not result in injury can be reviewed for evidence that intent to injure was present, especially if there are multiple hipchecks in a game or series. The same actions can be taken.
Commentary on Hipchecking rules:
No one likes to see a good hit more than me, but the reality is in 3-4 of the last few years we have suspended someone in the playoffs for hipchecks (both resulting in injury and not resulting in injury). If things get heated in a game or series, try to talk it out. If the gameplay drops and suddenly you or your opponent decides to take a flying hipcheck at the other team’s star player, it’s probably going to get someone a game or two, just as it would in real life for a cheap shot.
Here's the gameplay etiquette thread. Please refresh your memory prior to starting you playoff journey.
The main purpose of this league is to maximize realism and having a fun time playing a game we love. Let's elaborate on the VHA gameplay mindset you are expected to adopt 100% of the time and other specific moves you must AVOID entirely as part of your mandate as a VHA GM.
Play realistic hockey
Adopt a North-South mindset
Excluding on the PP, keep moving up towards the other net on a rush. We've seen too many GMs pass it back, then forward, then back…
Playoffs to begin shortly.
Good luck to all!