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ECL Elite 16 in 16 is a season preview series we're implementing ahead of ECL 7. The idea was conceived by @chavelski, but due to time constraining the man himself, the project is now being carried out by the rest of our Elite writing team. The series will be released in 16 parts, one article for each team. The teams have been ranked by all team captains, and articles are being released in order from predicted last place finish to predicted champion of ECL 7. The objective of this series is to give an idea to the community of who is representing which team, added by a small insight into the team with an interview of the team captain. What's up my NHL gaming friends and foes? This time in our 16 in 16, we're talking about Swedes - those beautiful, blonde haired people who seem to be talented at everything they do. You know, they're almost like Finns but instead of being grumpy, anti-social, pale and generally weird - Swedes are happy, social and tanned people who are mostly easy to like. Does that sound even close to Northern Stars - perhaps the most victorious Swedish EASHL club in history? At least for me they have always been easy to like - and even though I haven't heard anyone else than their captain talk out loud during the last eight years, they surely seem like happy bunch of good guys! Their ECL 6 was solid once again as they fought their way to the playoffs after an intense battle between them (8th with 35pts) and Evolution (9th with 30pts). While NOS ended their regular season with the record of 5-3-2 (12pts), Evolution failed to challenge NOS for the 8th spot as they ended their ECL 6 with the record of 3-5-2 (8pts). The problem is, when you enter the Elite playoffs from the last possible place, you will more likely than not meet the best team of the regular season and that's what Written In The Stars undisputedly were after losing only three games in a 30-game regular season. Written knocked out NOS from the playoffs after beating them 4-1 in a series where every game except the fifth were one goal games. However, another NHL game is here once again and ECL Elite seems to get tougher season after season. This entails more work for the "old guys" in a team alike the Northern Stars. IN KattenJansson <-- Quality MZK-Trophyhunter <-- Quality ma0niii <-- "retirement" mullweiser <-- Break from NHL OUT Tbnantti --> Symphony MajLeN-Gaming --> N/A Kibenibe --> N/A Current roster: Forwards cHIIMEERa (C) @cHIIMEERa Floor17 (A) @Floor17 KattenJansson97 @KattenJansson97 mullweiser @Mullweiser Defensemen ma0niii (A) @ma0niii Rullstolskalas_ @Rullstolskalas Goaltenders MZK-Trophyhunter @Mike Zigan I_BUM3R_I @BUM3R *Correct PSN of #92 at right defenseman is ma0niii. I had the pleasure of interviewing captain & founder @cHIIMEERa: As one of the oldest ECL teams out there, how have the Northern Stars prepared for the upcoming ECL7? With the amount of games under your belt you must be taking it a bit easier than most guys out there - have you been playing at all during the last months? At least I've seen some shiny logos being made by you! You are right, we took the summer off. I think it has to do with for how long we have been playing together. Back in the days, like in NHL 09-11, I'm pretty sure we were still going strong well into the summer months, but the motivation to grind games in the off season is not there anymore. As long as we are putting in the hours when the new game drops I don't think we'll put ourselves at a disadvantage by being inactive during the summer. I'd say your roster has remained very close to unchanged, right? Is that the secret behind the everlasting success of the Northern Stars? I believe it's a long lost skill to gel with guys and keep grinding together for more than just a couple of months. I think there are many different reasons why the team has mostly remained the same all these years. The two strongest reasons have to be our prior success on the Xbox 360 and our Swedish nationality. As some people know, Northern Stars won a bunch of EHL titles on the 360. As we haven't been able to win anything on the PS4 yet, I guess we're still hoping to win one more title with this team. Also with the community having an abundance of Finnish teams I would say it's easier for the Finns make roster changes and create new teams left and right. We are doing some changes to our roster compared to the previous ECL. Antti (@tbnantti) left the team and @KattenJansson97 replaces him. With Antti being as skilled as he his, it's obviously hard to replace him with a player with same skill set, but Katten is offensively talented and we are happy that he wanted to join the team. With the release of NHL 19 we have been working hard to find set plays in the offensive zone so we can repeatedly and continuously get to the dangerous areas. At this moment it's looking promising and we are optimistically looking forward to ECL 7. On the defensive side of things, @kibenibe decided that he wanted to go back to being a forward in a new team, which resulted in the RD-spot being open and @ma0niii making a comeback. No real explanation needed here. People that have been in the scene for a while definitely know who ma0niii is. Goalie-wise we are seeing some changes. Törna aka @MajLeN-Gaming/Mr Magic (who the F knows what his PSN is, honestly) has moved overseas and we brought back Mike aka MZK-Trophyhunter (@Mike Zigan). We have experimented with @Floor17 on center and @cHIIMEERa on the right flank in EASHL. That doesn't mean that we are planning on doing that in ECL, but don't be surprised if that is the outcome. Whatever works best in EASHL the upcoming weeks will determine our starting roster. It's also worth noting is that thanks to EA we haven't been able to use @BUM3R at all due to the dressing room errors, but we plan on using both Bumer and Mike in ECL. It's been a few years since you guys won the European championship the last time. I'm gonna be blunt and ask how much do you think there's left in you? Is it already time for those "one more year" chants inside your team or do you still see yourself as one of the best contenders for the championship now and for years to come? I slightly touched on the subject above, but to dive a bit deeper I think that if we were to win ECL 7 I wouldn't be surprised to see us call it quits, once and for all. That is sort of keeping us going. The motivation to win another European championship. It has been a great run, but at this moment we are taking it a tournament at a time. We don't have any long term goals so it's hard to predict the future of our team. Who knows, maybe Northern Stars don't play in ECL 8? Maybe we are still chasing that title two years from now? Lastly - who do you see as the biggest threats for you this season due to their style of play - are those the same teams that could be the biggest championship contenders this season as well? What advice would you give to teams that might struggle this season? Because of the dressing room errors we haven't been able play many of the ECL Elite teams yet so it's hard to say who will be competing for the ECL 7 title. All we can do is look at the rosters and their past accomplishments. A safe assumption is that the best teams from NHL 18 will be just as good this year. All we can say is that ECL Elite is only getting tougher for each iteration. There are no bad teams and that is going to make the standings real interesting. As for any team that might be running into a slump mid-season, I would say that at least give yourself the chance to win the game. Play tight defense and put the puck on net. It may sound cliché, but it works to some extent - even in Elite. It's been a pleasure and huge thanks to cHIIMEERa for the extensive answers and insight of a veteran player. Good luck for the upcoming season to the team! ECL Elite 16 in 16 so far: 1. _______________ 2. _______________ 3. _______________ 4. _______________ 5. _______________ 6. _______________ 7. _______________ 8. Northern Stars 9. Unlucky Boys 10. Rusty Blades 11. Almost Famous 12. _____________ (To be released) 13. SIKA 14. Gotham Knights 15. Falun Coal Miners 16. Team Frosty Tomorrow we'll take a look at another Swedish team, who made a lot of changes during the offseason. We're excited to share it with you, can you guess who's up?
Hey NHLGamers, The ECL Elite Playoffs are already partly underway, so let's jump directly into our predictions for the first round, also known as the quarter finals, where the best eight teams battle for a chance to make it into the semi finals. These predictions were written by @chavelski and @pnordetun. (1) Written In The Stars vs Northern Stars (8) Written In The Stars won the regular season in style. The team really had that 'wow'-factor being talked about from time to time. A left-wing seemed to be what SKY needed to out them on a rocket ship right towards the title. Except for acquiring the new winger, little has changed and we can expect SKY to try to control this series. With great goalies in @eissi83 and @JanneK. (Januri98), amazing defenders that can dominate both blue lines and all three zones, and a highly skilled offensive trio up-front. So, is the sky the limit or will Northern Stars be the end of the line? NOS took the 8th and final playoff spot this time, avoiding pressure and expectations, perhaps. However, the old giant fears no one. NOS knows these situations and certainly holds more experience of these tight spots compared to their opponents. With their basic game and some @tbnantti magic they can surely match SKY. These players have been in so many playoff games together that we might see their low playoff seed actually work in their favour. Prediction: 4-2 Written In The Stars (2) Dynasty vs SJK eSports (7) Second seeding Dynasty goes up against SJK eSports in the quarterfinals in a matchup that could have, and in many Community members' minds would and should have been a clash later down the bracket. That's not the case this time around, as here we go! Dynasty has been nothing but a true joy to watch in the regular season. With quick passing, movement, their timing close to perfection and some great variety in their offense - they are as effective as they are stylish. @Buantso (Puantso) is deadly and with @jumalpeku and @Tehh (TehhAhola), they have a perfect trio. Puantso and jumalpeku combined for 55 goals between them in the group stage, just 10 shy of the SJK total. As always, it's important to shut your opponents offense down, and this will not be an easy task for SJK to do. Dynasty is also really solid on the defense and won't give up anything for free with @Snapster keeping the lines clear from intruders, alike the Finnish war hero Simo Häyhä. In the net, DYN has a good situation with @Sandr0hh and @Lukkoukko (Lukkolinho) having similar, strong stats. SJK will have to respond to Dynasty's offense in this series, and they need to prove that they really are defensive masters. Like we are used to, @Dominointi will be the cornerstone of their game. It'll remain to be seen who SJK will ice on the wings but your best bet will likely be @Leksa94 and @indi969. @Ilmari_30 on defense is set in stone and beside him we will most likely see @Selarit. @ICappeI stood tall in net for yet another great regular season, it'll remain to be seen if he can put up another stellar showing in the playoffs. Showcasing their defensive ability, SJK allowed only 48 goals (1,6 per game) in the regular season (2nd to SKY) and they have a tremendous defense in all zones. Sometimes playing SJK you're happy being able to create any good scoring chances at all, and how frustrating isn't that in a best of 7 series for the opponent? Can SJK lower the games' pace and ace their defense? Do they have the variety and creativity not to get stuck chasing behind every game? SJK has so much experience from these games it's almost scary. They are used to tight spots and used to advance - can they do it this time? Prediction : 4-2 Dynasty (3) Carlsberg HC vs Sjukstugan (6) Carlsberg HC was one of the hottest teams in the off-season and was one of the favourite teams coming into ECL 6. They finished with a solid third place right after Written In The Stars and Dynasty. @Vilupoika, @Penatski and @Tuukka.R (KingOfApes_) comprise a forward line that makes any GM out there jealous. All of them have great hands and vision and also the game changer ability, as anyone of them can win a game for their team. With one of the best defensive pairings in the league with @Janzuh and @vatalisti, this team looks like you couldn't replace one player with another and expect better results. If CAR wants to be successful they can and if they can stay humble and focused facing a very seasoned 112, they will prevail. Don’t count their opponent out just yet! You can easily say that Sjukstugan is the underdog in this matchup, but if you look closer at the players they have, the team looks really good. With one of the most prestigious right defensemen in the game in @Gustafsson7 returning back after a season in Synergy, taking his familiar place as the king of the hill in Sjukstugan's defense, they have a strong leader down low. Helping him along the way we have @Karkkyjaa, @Basstian23 (JaromirSniper) and @Klingen45 who is expected to be dressing for the next game. Look for him to be a game changer as well. On the forward side we have the brothers @pnordetun and @Bjono with @Norpee skating out with them. Norpee could easily be one of the most underrated players in the whole community. I suspect we will see @Nampa77 in this series as well, as he adds something the rest of the forward core doesn't have - the right-handed shot. The real MVP of Sjukstugan can be found in net as @Hullued has taken the community by storm and been excellent throughout the season. If CAR can stay focused and disciplined for the entire length of the series, they will move on to the next round. On the other hand, if 112 wants to have a chance in the series, they cannot try to mimic the play style of opponent Carlsberg, as they tried to do in game #2 of the series. The series currently stands at 1-1. If Sjukstugan can score the first goal and play as a defensive unit out on the ice, we might have a long series here that could end either way. Prediction: 4-3 Carlsberg HC (4) Northern Ascendancy vs Unlucky Boys HC (5) Northern Ascendancy vs Unlucky Boys is already far into the series (2-3) as UB are only one win away from the Elite Semi finals in their first season in Elite! The last season runner-up in Pro has surprised the whole community by beating a few of the big teams during the season and finishing the season as fifth in the standings. Lead by @Anhel (Anhel_Kuru) alongside @JimBoo (jm__98___) and @Wenger (re_wenger), the trio has been playing together all season, and with @Jugeh_ and @Frilander on the back end, the five skaters really come together as a team. @Danielcadabra has bounced back from a disappointing last season in Synergy where he looked somewhat rusty. This season he has been again at the very top among goalies and he can steal games for you. Northern Ascendancy with the fast paced very beautiful style of playing ended the regular season on a solid fourth place. @poliskontroll has been better this season and @Foppatofflan has been scoring points as usual. This season he got some help from @hpkfani (MuKiMaisteri) who was the leading scorer this season for NOR. @MartindalexC has switched from LW to RD and transitioned quite nicely making a nice pair with @Haldeem. And the cherry on top is that you have @anrh17, an excellent two-way player, as a center. You could think this team would be ready for a championship. However, once again they are facing a team who looks to want it more and play to win and not simply to get on the scoresheet. Can NOR bounce back, come together and break the trend that has been haunting them and get past the quarterfinals? Prediction: 4-2 Unlucky Boys Many of the teams continue their series' tonight, and while we sadly won't be able to provide an official commentated stream tonight, be sure to be on the lookout for the team's own streams in the streams section and the chatbox over in the community section. What did you think of the above predicitions? Who do you think will go all the way? Let us know in the comments section below!