It’s video game week here at SB Nation and, while perusing the various articles detailing our love of the virtual sports world, I stumbled across this piece from our colleagues at St. Louis Game Time:
After reading, it was decided that I, also a noted expert on nothing, would set out to refute that counter-argument in the best way I could. Through the miracle of emulators, I fired up NHL 94 on my own computer for this 100 percent scientific experiment.
I, of course, picked the Blackhawks, with Roenick as the No. 1 center. In the interest of fairness, I set Chicago’s opponent as the Penguins, the team containing the player surmised as the “actual” best player in the game: Mario Lemieux. If he’s so good, maybe he’ll stop Roenick.
Let’s drop the puck.
OK, I’ll be honest: I did play a quick game with 5-minute periods to warm up because it’s been at least 10 years since I played this game. And it didn’t do much, because after a quick two-goal spurt (both scored by Roenick, of course), Pittsburgh scored four goals to take a 4-2 lead into the first intermission, making me think I was going to be doing a lot of lying in this article.
False alarm. Pittsburgh wouldn’t score another goal.
Side note: Am I the only person who always moved Michel Goulet off the top line, putting Joe Murphy up with Roenick and Steve Larmer? I felt compelled to do that again, perhaps as muscle memory from the years of playing this game as a child.
Anyway, thanks to a sparkling stretch of six straight goals by the boulder-rolling-downhill that is Roenick, the scoreboard is starting to resemble a result that would’ve given Todd O’Connor his 14th heart attack.
This was also around the time I had the idea to do screenshots.
What’s really fun about playing with Roenick in this game is the multitude of ways to score goals. The first tally was a slap shot from just inside the blue line. Several goals were scored on slappers from faceoff circles on each side of the ice. Others came as Roenick flew across the crease. I’m pretty sure one goal was the result of cross-checking Penguins defenseman Larry Murphy into goaltender Tom Barasso, invoking memories of Dustin Byfuglien goals against Roberto Luongo.
By far, though, the most enjoyable part of playing with Roenick is the countless moments of “this puck is mine and you can’t have it,” similar to the way Marian Hossa would toy with opposing players who dare challenged him for possession. Roenick bounces off defenders like a pinball but never loses the puck. It’s amazing.
Would you look at that? Roenick scored again.
I assume Roenick’s not in the screen here because he was getting tired of all the celebrating.
This assertion could not be verified by my extensive Google searching, but I do believe this game was the first hockey game to incorporate one-timers into gameplay. I added this new feature into my attack for the final period and, in a stunning turn of events, Roenick didn’t score.
I don’t remember how Larmer scored the first goal. There were a lot of goals.
The Blackhawks scored two touchdowns but failed to convert on one of the extra points, leaving the final tally at 13-4. It was a pedestrian performance for Roenick, with only nine goals and the one assist detailed above.
I guess that’s worthy of being the game’s No. 1 star.
No one invited you, Kevin Stevens.
Lemieux had one goal in this game, clearly proving his inferiority to Roenick in the NHL 94 world. What often goes unsaid in references to the game: Ed Belfour is also remarkable. He’s rated a 98 overall and, despite yielding four goals against — likely the result of the porous defense and excessive cherry-picking of the players under user control in this game — he was always a steady performer between the pipes.
This study absolutely confirms what you probably already knew: Jeremy Roenick IS the best player in NHL 94.
He should probably be incorporated into other sports games from that era, just to see what would happen:
It's video game week at @SBNation. Here's our offering:— Second City Hockey (@2ndCityHockey) June 16, 2020
The only way to stop Tecmo Super Bowl Bo Jackson is with NHL '94 Jeremy Roenick.
Bonus content: This has nothing to do with the game, but here’s a photo of Roenick (right) on a Team USA flight to the 1991 Canada Cup with Stars legend Mike Modano (middle) and 17-year NHL veteran Kevin Hatcher (left). They look tired.