NHL 12 Sends Hockey's Greatest Shift on the Ice

Sports fans have heaped lots of love on NBA 2K12 following its reveal of a roster of 15 all-time greats, and their supporting cast; let's not forget the same thing is taking place in hockey's premier video game sim, NHL 12, which will deliver a dozen greats who also span that sport's most telegenic era.

The players: Mario Lemieux (Pittsburgh, pictured); Gordie Howe (Detroit); Wayne Gretzky (Edmonton); Chris Chelios (Chicago), Ray Bourque (Boston), Jeremy Roenick (Chicago); Patrick Roy (Montreal), Börje Salming (Toronto) and Steve Yzerman (Detroit).

NHL 12 will serve up its nine all-time greats in a "Be a Legend" mode, in which hockey fans can live out the entire career of a superstar as in its singleplayer "Be a Pro" career mode. A Legends team comprising all nine players is also available in head-to-head Play Now, Online and Battle for the Cup modes.

Critics have noted a heavy Original Six bend to the nine legends, with only Gretzky and Lemieux, arguably the two greatest, known for their service on teams outside that grouping. Others on the list, of course, played for multiple teams. In the end, this is somewhat academic, as in "Be a Legend" your job will be to take that player through his career in the modern NHL with any of its teams.

Salming is the true wild card, though well known to hockey fans and Maple Leaf partisans. Clearly included as a gesture to the game's European fan base, Salming, a Swede, was one of the first European stars in the NHL, and was a 1996 inductee to the Hockey Hall of Fame.

NHL 12 releases Sept. 13. (Sept. 9 in Europe).