When EA Sports makes the first screenshot of an upcoming sports game public, there's usually clues revealed in the still photo.
Yesterday, via their Facebook page, EA unveiled the first screenshot for the upcoming NHL 12 set to be released in September. Aside from two gameplay additions, a new game mode was revealed.
Finally, the Winter Classic has made its way into the NHL series.
If you'll remember, NHL 2K had exclusivity on the Winter Classic, which was a feature in 2K10 and 2K11. Either that exclusivity has passed or there won't be a 2K hockey game to compete against EA this year.
Also of note from the screenshot is the ability to knock the net off of its moorings and giving players the option to run goaltenders, which gives us flashbacks to the late hits leading to injury from Madden '96 that would result in Pat Summerall's famous "Oh no" line.
(Also notice the Washington Capitals' Winter Classic helmets are white in the shot as opposed to the red they wore at Heinz Field.)
An EA spokesperson wouldn't comment any further on the screenshot leaving us to wonder if previous Winter Classic stadiums would be playable options. Take-Two Interactive (publisher of the 2K games) holds the current Major League Baseball license until 2012, so count Fenway Park, Wrigley Field and Citizens Park Bank out for NHL 12, while Heinz Field, we've learned, will be the only stadium choice, not Ralph Wilson Stadium.
EA plans a feature reveal video next week, but in the meantime, what do you want to see in NHL 12?