This upcoming Tuesday (18th of June) marks the date of the grand final of the 2019 NHL Gaming World Championship! We'll once again be treated to the skilful play of ECL poster boy and reigning world champion Erik @Eki Tammenpää, who is joined by fellow Finnish NHL gaming juggernaut Hannes @Hansulinho Kettunen.
The European duo will be taking on the two best players from both the US and Canada in a quest for the world championship title and a cash prize of $50,000. The US finalists are winner Matthew "Top-Shelf-Cookie" Gutkowski and runner-up John "Johnwaynee" Casagranda. The Canadian finalists are winner Karl "Mg x Nuclear" Caslib and runner-up Matthew @YungGren Grenier.
As anyone whose been following the NHLGWC might know, this years iteration of the tournament has been played with a slightly different format and also the game-mode has changed from online versus to HUT. The change of game-mode has brought some sought after diversity to the teams used by competitors and on top of that a draft prior to the finals has ensured that no competitor will be sporting the same two players in their lineup. Now enough with the talk, let's take a look at the lineups of each player.
Link to HutDB team, 2019 placement and 2018 placement in brackets.
🇫🇮 Erik @Eki Tammenpää (EU Winner - Reigning champion 🏆)
Jack Eichel - Connor McDavid - Chris Kreider
Patric Hornqvist - Aleksander Barkov - Dylan Larkin
Craig Smith - William Karlsson - Sven Baertschi
Joel Armia - Brian Boyle - Jesperi Kotkaniemi
P.K. Subban - Ryan McDonagh
Charlie McAvoy - Noah Hanifin
Danny Dekeyser - Shea Theodore
Eki is the reigning champion and is going into the tournament as a heavy favorite at least on our side of the pond. So far, the reigning champion has played through the tournament entirely undefeated besting the likes of @Dominointi, @kriketski17 and his fellow EU finalist in the regionals. The man himself has spoken about being able to go into this years tournament with a calmer attitude than last year despite being the defending champion. Confidence is oozing from this youngster and we're all certainly anxious to see what he will bring to the table come Tuesday night.
Elias Lindholm - Ryan Getzlaf - Taylor Hall
Mika Zibanejad - Jonathan Toews - Sebastian Aho
Jason Pominville - Adam Henrique - Nick Foligno
Kevin Labanc - Ryan Kesler - Andrei Svechnikov
Seth Jones - Markus Nutivaara
Matt Dumba - Miro Heiskanen
Jay Bouwmeester - Calvin De Haan
Hansu already made the headlines earlier today as his new contract with HAVU - a promising Finnish gaming org was announced. HAVU has been making some serious waves recently by signing major partnerships together with Finnish entertainment & IT giant Elisa Viihde and the almost cult-like clothing brand Billebeino. Hansu mentioned that moving on to HAVU is a natural step in the development of his career and will hopefully benefit both him and the organisation. On his way to Vegas, Hansu managed to win (still) young prodigy @PleeMaker in a thrilling bout.
🇺🇸 Matthew "Top-Shelf-Cookie" Gutkowski (US Winner - 3rd place in regionals of 2018)
Alex Ovechkin - Anze Kopitar - Elias Pettersson
Brendan Gallagher - Tomas Hertl - Gabriel Landeskog
Joonas Donskoi - Alex DeBrincat - Tomas Tatar
Bobby Ryan - Brock Nelson - Conor Sheary
Brent Burns - Zach Werenski
Ryan Pulock - Zdeno Chara
Brent Seabrook - Esa Lindell
Cookie made the regionals last year and was the last man out of the grand finals. That certainly must have stung, but the man showed relentless drive by coming back and catching fire by first winning the Columbus Blue Jackets Esports tournament in April and dominating the US regionals shortly thereafter. Cookie went undefeated through the regionals and beat competitors such as NippinBiscuits and US regional favourite johnwaynee along the way.
🇺🇸 John "Johnwaynee" Casagranda (US Runner-up - Grand finals 3rd place in 2018)
Artemi Panarin - Auston Matthews - Mikko Rantanen
T.J. Oshie - Sean Couturier - Jeff Skinner
Jordan Eberle - Ryan Dzingel - Anders Lee
Jesper Bratt - Chris Tierney - Ondrej Kase
Dustin Byfuglien - Morgan Reilly
Nikita Zaitsev - Rasmus Dahlin
Neal Pionk - Michael Matheson
John played his way into the hearts of NHL gaming fans during the 2018 iteration of the NHLGWC, when he became known as the Alaskan sensation. He was kind of an outsider who people didn't have a read on yet but he quickly proved he belongs at the top by ultimately finishing third over the likes of @Fool x 90 and YungGren. In an interview with NHL last week, John said his team might not be the strongest on paper, but if there was a "heart trait", his team would have 1980 "miracle on ice"-type heart!
🇨🇦 Karl "Mg x Nuclear" Caslib (Canadian Winner - Did not participate in 2018)
Viktor Arvidsson - Sidney Crosby - Patrick Kane
Filip Forsberg - Johnny Gaudreau - Yanni Gourde
Travis Konecny - Bryan Little - Anthony Mantha
Mathieu Perreault - Phillip Danault - Mikkel Boedker
Drew Doughty - Mark Giordano
Rasmus Ristolainen - Darnell Nurse
Jason Demers - Brayden McNabb
Nuke is the black horse in this years iteration of the NHLGWC as he hasn't really played that much competitively before. We had the opportunity to grab a quick chat with this young man:
Nuke, you haven't played too much competitively before, what sparked your interest and how did you end up where you're at now?
- I used to play NHL a lot on old gen. However, as time went on, I wasn’t really having fun with the current gen games. I watched last years grand finals and seeing how much fun those guys had coupled with the fact that I could play NHL for money, I thought I would at least give it a shot.
What's your experience of playing the other guys like, who's the guy to beat?
- I’ve played all the other competitors except the Finnish players. As far as I’m concerned, Cookie is the toughest guy for me to beat. I can only reach the finals if I beat him.
Now, after the Canadian regionals you tweeted out your rather spartan home setup - how different is it to play on this new equipment on stage?
- Playing on a competitive pro set up is something I really loved. I play on a 2008 model TV so there's definite input lag. I will really look forward to playing on future LAN events.
You're going with some rather unorthodox lineup decisions into the finals - a rather diminutive team in size and Gaudreau on center to name a few quirks, thoughts on that?
- My new team is definitely smaller than my old team. Gaudreau at center is definitely unconventional. However, he does have 76 faceoffs which will hold up relatively well. I feel my new team is definitely fast and skilled. Do not underestimate them because of their size.
🇨🇦 Matthew @YungGren Grenier (Canadian Runner-up - Grand finals 5th place in 2018)
Mathew Barzal - Mark Scheifele - Vladimir Tarasenko
William Nylander - Max Domi - Nino Niederreiter
Tom Wilson - Jake DeBrusk - Michael Grabner
Jake Virtanen - Artem Anisimov - Jimmy Vesey
John Klingberg - Victor Hedman
Jared Spurgeon - Oscar Klefbom
Brian Dumoulin - Jonas Brodin
Gren is one of those personalities that splits opinions in the community. Some will love him and others - not so much. When it's all said and done though we can all agree that his playing skills are up there with the very best of them. Gren quickly caught the eye of te audience in the 2018 GWC when he made the finals as the youngest competitor at only 16 years old. The native of St. Georges, Quebéc is surely an interesting sight on stage as he plays with a lot of emotion and isn't shy to show it.
Well, there you have it, folks! A short NHLGamer insight into the NHLGWC Grand Finals that will be played on Tuesday, 18th of June, 2019 at 21 CEST. Make sure to tune in on www.twitch.tv/NHL in order to cheer for your favourite, who hopefully is one of our NHLGamers!
We would also like to remind our Finnish members that you can now bet on the grand finals at Veikkaus! Do so responsibly.