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NHL 14 encourages you to be smarter with your stick

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Stick skills are an important area of focus for NHL 14 developer EA Canada, and the studio highlighted its work in that area of the game with a developer blog and trailer today.

Players who take a position early during a faceoff will have an advantage over someone who attempts to make a move right as the puck drops, a change that aims to get rid of the viability of spamming the analog stick on faceoffs. And EA Canada is tweaking poke checks to ensure that they're only as effective as they should be — if you're out of position on defense, it'll be much more difficult to pull off a successful poke check.

Puck chops are easier to perform on offense, and new controls mean that you won't do a poke check when you wanted to chop the puck ahead instead. And your teammates on offense will be smarter around the blue line when it comes to receiving passes.

You can see these gameplay changes in action in the trailer above. NHL 14 will be released Sept. 10 on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. For more on the game, check out our story on the franchise's past, present and future.