As the battle for the Stanley Cup rages on, those of us with “next-gen” consoles were left out in the cold with NHL14 being a last-gen release only. It comes as no great surprise that NHL15 will be coming to the PS4 and Xbox One this Fall, but instead of just being incremental, EA Sports is pushing innovation into their new game.

The List of Xbox One and PS4 improvements include 12 player and real puck physics – what that basically means is that all players on the ice are going to be subjected to real-time physics events, not just the players who are on the puck. Collisions, net scrambles and pile-ups included, we’re hoping for some unexpected power-plays based on how the team, not just your controlled player is behaving. The puck physics are said to introduce the unpredictable nature of puck spins, rolls and bounces based on realistic conditions including changes in the ice surface. The skill stick controls are said to be deeper with options such as protecting the puck and new dekes.

Some improvements are more cosmetic – for instance each player has a separation of jersey, equipment and body, and they’ve worked on closing the gap on player likenesses with emotional reactions and facial expressions. We’re told we can expect 9,000 individual crowd models that react to the events in-game.

EA Sports has put more work into authentic arenas and a new set of commentators. Leveraging a partnership with NBC Sports Game Day, Mike Emrick and Eddie Olcczyk have taken up the role of colour commentary, both before and during the game to blur the lines between reality and NHL 15.

The box-cover is still open to vote – either directly at NHL.com/CoverVote or through Twitter on Thursdays using hash-tags. Not to sway you, but let’s just use #NHL15CoverVote #NHL15Subban and call it a day (Go Habs!).

Stay tuned as we get closer to the fall release. We expect to have some hands-on time before the Fall release on PS3, Xbox360, Xbox One and PS4.