Category Archives: Computers

Eastside Hockey Manager: Early Access – My Philosophy and what the attributes mean

So I’m starting  a new career on Eastside Hockey Manager: Early Access – I’m not decided on a team to manage yet, but think it’ll be a Swedish League 2 (HockeyAllsvenskan) – possibly Mora IK, team where I’ll try to build my reputation up to try to get a job in the NHL) hopefully with the New York Rangers).

This post is really about getting my philosophy set in my mind and so I’ve got a quick reference to look to rather than having to go back to the manual again and again.

I want to build a team of youngsters (creating a dynasty) so only 2 or 3 players over 30 – most likely a goalie and a top D man as they tend to mature later on in their careers.

The way I want to line up is as follows:

1st line – scoring line – offensive
2nd line – scoring line – slightly more defensive than the 1st line
3rd line – checking line – defensive – play vs the top opponent line
4th line – speed line – dump and chase – give the rest a breather

So as above, I want my 1st line to pretty much be my 2 best offensive players plus another decent forward, they’ll be my top scoring line.

The 2nd line will contain my 3rd best offensive player, (spreading the scoring) – probably a passer, shooter and a grinder.

The 3rd line will be my defensive offense line – it will be made up of my best defensive forwards – I plan to use line matching to get them out against my opponents top line – and will hopefully get my top line out against the opponents weakest line. The centre on this line will be my best faceoff man, as they can’t score if they don’t have the puck.

The 4th line will be used to give a breather to the other lines – ideally I want this line to be quick and hard hitting to allow them to play dump and chase effectively and hopefully cause a few problems in the offensive zone. I’ll also use this line to give some time to prospects / youngsters to allow them to gain some experience of first team hockey.

My D will need to be set in lines so that my best pairing are on the ice with the third line.


I guess I’ll get more into this when I see what my players are like but I intend to go with the following tactics, I’ll also be using unit tactics to get each line to play the way I want them to:

  • Mentality – Balanced
  • Aggressiveness – I don’t want to be overly aggressive and draw penalties but we need to have some aggression so this will be set to 3 or 4 out of 5 on the scale.
  • Backchecking – Hard or Very Hard – I want my players to backcheck as much as possible to prevent scoring opportunities – shift lengths will be short so they shouldn’t get too tired.
  • Gap Control – Probably leave this slider in the middle.
  • Puck Pressure – again leave this one in the middle.
  • Hitting – Middle again, don’t want to be caught out of position going for the big hit, but don’t want to be too soft and be pushed around
  • Tempo – Low – I want to keep the puck (4th line will play D&C with a lot of speed so will be set to a high tempo).
  • Passing – This will be line specific but will be balanced overall. First line more adventurous 3rd and 4th line will be safe.
  • Shooting – again line specific, but first and second line more selective, 4th line will shoot on sight.
  • Dumping the puck – 4th line only – I don’t want to give up possession too easily.


The following is what each player attribute means as well as an example of what to look out for. This can also be found in the game user manual.

Physical attributes

Players with good physical attributes are more likely to be a better overall hockey player as you’d struggle to be a good player without these skills.

Attribute Useful for? Description
Acceleration Scoring wingers in particular, but in general most players who require strong recovery and breakout speed. How quickly a player can reach his top speed from a standing start. The attribute will correlate with Speed – you’ll rarely find a player with a massive difference (> 5) between the two.
Agility Speedy wingers you’ll expect to impact upon your play, and players with top speed. How adept a player is at keeping his balance and moving quickly in tricky situations.
Balance Everyone. Players need to be able to skate to be at all competent on the ice, and balance is fairly key to that. How well he stays upright and on his feet in physical contact and quick turns on skates.
Speed Players with impact speed will always be better against slower players. Speed kills and is a very useful tool in hockey. The player’s maximum skating speed, regardless of how long it takes him to reach that speed.
Stamina Anyone who needs to play considerable amounts during the game. It’s pointless having a technically gifted player if he can’t spend more than thirty seconds on the ice at any one time. How long he is able to play effectively before tiring.
Strength Big centers who have the main aim to drive to the net and make life as hard as possible for the goaltender; and defensemen who need to move those big centers. How physically strong he is

Mental attributes

I’ll be looking for players with high anticipation, bravery, determination, work rate and teamwork. No one player is bigger than the team. The others will depend on the position and situation I want to use the player in.

Attribute Useful For? Description
Aggression The majority of players. Aggression is a big part of hockey, and without it some players will be lost on the ice, but an overly high aggression may cause problems on the ice How aggressively he behaves towards other players.
Anticipation Top six forwards/top four dmen. If these key players anticipate situations quickly they can make plays happen. How well he anticipates what is about to happen on the ice, i.e. reading the play.
Bravery That player you want out there when the going gets tough. How brave he is when playing, as indicated by things like his willingness to go into the corners after the puck despite the risk of being hit or his willingness to block shots with his body.
Creativity Forwards in general, but mostly centers; offensive defensemen. How good he is at recognizing teammates in potentially good scoring position and make things happen for his team.
Determination Everyone. A team united to reach the same common goal will be more likely to reach it if they’re all committed to the cause. How determined he is to win
Flair Your franchise player. Each team would love to have a player with so much flair it’s frightening. It’s generally a case of finding/developing one to build your team around How likely the player is to show off and try the unexpected – how exciting he is, essentially.
Influence The player who will lead the team and wear the captain’s ‘C’ on his jersey, and players who would be potential ‘A’ or future ‘C’ wearers. How well a player leads by example, and how much they affect the team in a positive way
Teamwork A majority of players if you want your team to play as a cohesive unit, and not like certain collections of highly paid individuals How good he is at playing for the team rather than for himself.
Work Rate Everyone. It pays off to have everybody work for the cause every shift they take. How hard he works during a game, as evidenced by how much he regularly does during a shift.

Technical attributes

These attributes are how skilled the player is at certain things.

Attribute Useful For? Description
Checking Your checking line, should you choose to have one How good a player is at shadowing the opponents and preventing them from finishing offensive plays.
Deflections Players in the slot looking to get a piece of the puck from longrange shots. How good a player is at deflecting long-range shots on goal.
Deking Wingers generally, but any player who can take get past an opponent with skill is handy. How good a player is at deking opponents using body moves rather than stickhandling.
Faceoffs Since your centers will be taking the faceoffs, them How good he is at winning faceoffs.
Hitting Big defensemen, and tough forwards. A big hit leads by example and gives the whole team a boost. How good he is at bodychecking opponents.
Off The Puck Offensively minded players. How good he is at moving into good attacking positions, i.e. finding holes in the defense to move through
Passing How accurately the player can complete a pass. Also reflects how easily a pass from this player is received. Anyone who wants to remain in your plans. Someone who can’t pass is someone who puts your team in danger.
Pokecheck Defensemen. They need to break up the offensive rush as quickly as possible. How well a player can poke the puck away from an opponent using his stick.
Positioning Anyone with defensive responsibilities, and especially if a team plays a zonal defensive system How good he is at staying in a good defensive position.
Slapshot Players who play the point on powerplays. A top slapshot can be worth its weight in goals. How good his slapshot is, taking into account release, strength and accuracy.
Stickhandling Any player who’ll be moving the puck up-ice frequently. How good a player is at moving and controlling the puck while skating
Wristshot Offensive talents with an eye for scoring How good his wristshot is, taking into account release, strength and accuracy.

Goaltending attributes

Attribute Useful For? Description
Blocker All goalies How good he is at saving shots with his blocker
Glove All goalies How good he is at saving shots with his glove hand, and how well he holds onto the puck with it.
Passing Goalies playing in teams who stress a passing/puck possession game. A goalie acting as a sixth skater with sound passing is an asset. How well he passes to teammates.
Pokecheck Goalies on teams who may be prone to giving up breakaway situations often. How adept he is at making pokecheck saves.
Positioning All goalies How positionally sound he is.
Rebound Control Goalies on teams who have defensemen who may be less than adequate at clearing the slot. How often he is likely to offer up rebounds – a higher number will result in less rebounds and better control of them when they happen.
Recovery All goalies How well he recovers from one/multiple saves or tricky situations.
Reflexes All goalies How likely he is to make spectacular saves and react as quickly as possible to all situations.
Stickhandling Goalies playing in teams where the coach allows them to play the puck outside of their crease. How well he handles the puck when attempting to play it.

Much Better – Season 3

I finished Season 3 – on the Regional Tour – in first place.

I played much better this time around as the results screenshot below will show you, winning 2 tournaments and finishing runner up on another 2 occasions.

Though strangely enough the only stat I’ve improved is my Money Ball making percentage. It’s up by 1.9% from 71.9 to 73.7%.

End of Season 3 – Regional Tour – Results

End of Season 3 – Regional Tour – Stats

Stats, Stats, Stats – Season 2

A good end to a horrendous season, which eventually saw me remain on the Regional Tour.

I finally got my act together to comfortably win the final tournament (for 0 ranking points – if it were the tournament before, I’d have been promoted).

Unfortunately, I could barely string 3 pots together for the rest of the season.

End of Season 2 – Regional Tour – Results

End of Season 2 – Regional Tour – Stats

The good news, after playing for 3 hours last night, is that I’ve found my ‘potting ability’ again. Reflected in winning the final tournament of the season and I’m going well in the first tournament of the new season – hopefully I’ll be able to keep it up.

I’m now half way through season 3 and am sitting top of the rankings table with a win, a runner up, a 4th place, quarter finalist and a last 8 to my name.

I’ve been playing a little snooker too and haven’t lost a frame so far on the local tour with a high break of 29 (on the tournament table).

Stats, Stats, Stats!

My virtual and real life pool game is coming along nicely – I can see a steady improvements over the last 3 weeks.

Here are a couple of screenshots showing my results and statistics from the first season ( The Local Tour) of my virtual career on Virtual Pool 4.

End of Season 1 – Local Tour – Results

Season 1 - Local Tour - Results - Virtual Pool 4

End of Season 1 – Local Tour – Statistics

Season 1 - Local-Tour - Stats


Picked up the Pool cue

Virtual Pool 4Well it’s just about Winter, which means it’s too dark to play golf among other reasons, namely the expense and the general snottyness of your standard golf club so I’ve picked up the Pool cue again, both virtually and in real life.

Why? I don’t know really… I watched a documentary about Ronny O’Sullivan which led me to re-install Virtual Pool 3 awakening the pool bug inside me. A few days later I found myself in Riley’s with my mate Mal (who incidentally has a great blog so check it out) and on return bought myself Virtual Pool 4.

Considering it was the first time I’d played in over a year it wasn’t too bad really – some good shots (and a lot of bad).

The game is great – though I’ve had to turn off room backgrounds and lower graphic quality to be able to play it smoothly.

I’m planning on recording a few games and uploading – not for entertainment – just to  track progress really.

And that’s just about all I have to say on that.



Last night I downloaded and installed a Linux distribution called Ubuntu(v10.10) in what was my first adventure (I’m not counting using Knoppix to fix Windows problems) into using an OS that hasn’t been written by Microsoft.

UbuntuLet’s go back in time

In my, almost, 20 years of computing I’ve used everything from Windows 3.1 up to Windows 7 and a couple of the server editions.

And back to the future

I have to say, I’m well impressed with Ubuntu! It’s easy to install, easy to use and packed full of functionality!

In fact I’d even go as far as saying that if I didn’t already own Windows 7 I wouldn’t bother buying it but would use Ubuntu instead!

Installation was absolutely painless!

I downloaded the Ubuntu disc image from the Official Ubuntu website, burned it to a cd before restarting my pc and booting from that cd.

The Ubuntu installation disc also allows you to run a ‘Live OS’, in other words, you can run the OS straight from the disc with no need for installation. Which is great for evaluation purposed and to make sure you like the OS before installing it.

After booting from the disc I was presented with two options: Try Ubuntu or Install it. I chose to install.

I chose to install Ubuntu alongside my Windows 7 installation, again this was something made very easy by the Ubuntu installer.

All I had to do was choose how much disk space to give Ubuntu, choose a username and password and click go! Ubuntu took care of the rest.

Now that Ubuntu is installed I get an option on bootup asking whether I want to load Ubuntu or Windows 7.

My initial impressions of Ubuntu are that Ubuntu is quick, clean and well organised. So far it has done everything I’ve asked it to.

A couple of minor drawbacks  I’ve found so far are that spotify and Virtual Pool 3 aren’t available native to linux, however, they both run fine under WINE.

GIMPThe main drawback is that Photoshop won’t run on Linux, in this case GIMP will be more than enough for the work that I’ll need to do and it’s free!

I have Eclipse for web development, GIMP for graphics, Spotify and VP3 run under WINE, a great email client, an equivalent to Windows Live Messenger, media players, what more could I need? Everything I use my Windows PC for can be done just as well running Ubuntu.

And when you throw in the fact that this software is all completely free you know you’re onto a winner!

MODX – “The developer’s CMS”

For those of you who are looking for an alternative CMS (content management system) to something like Joomla, Mambo, Drupal and the numerous others then I urge you to check out a CMS called MODX.

MODXMODX is open source, written in PHP and MySQL and very, very easy to develop on and customise whether it be front or back end functionality.

MODX has become the CMS of choice at work for content managed websites.

This is mainly due to the cost (MODX is free!), functionality, ease of use for the web master  and ease of,  and therefore speed, of development.

It allows you to plugin your own PHP scripts almost seamlessly and embed them into content with a simple ‘snippet’ call.

You can get MODX from here:

If any of you MODX users come across this page and need a little help then be sure to drop me an email or a comment and I’ll do my best to help you out!

Spambots & Prevention

As you may know from reading other blog posts or pages on this site I’m a web developer. This is my job and I also do some at home.

Whitley WarriorsYou may also know that I used to play ice hockey for the Whitley Warriors until I was forced to retire after suffering a DVT.

When playing for the Warriors and studying HND computing at college I created a website dedicated to the Whitley Warriors ice hockey team. Eventually this site became the Official Whitley Warriors website.

The site is powered by a custom CMS (Content Management System) written by myself using PHP and MySQL and makes use of the ZEND Framework.

SpambotsRecently we’ve been getting a lot of spambots registering on the site forums (powered by SMF), making a mess and forcing me to spend hours removing post and spam users (I’ve removed about 2500 users up to date).

We are running CAPTCHA images but the spambots have managed to bypass this allowing them to sign up.

So I’ve recently added a few fields to the sign up form and database to help track new users and try to prevent the registration of spambots. Without the correct answers the registration will fail.

So what have I tried?

I’ve added a couple of dropdowns: Are you human? Are you a spambot?

Pick the wrong answer here and the registration attempt will be rejected.

I’ve attempted to catch spambots out here – if they change both answers they’ll fail, if they leave both answers on the default value they’ll also fail. They must choose the right question to change the answer in order to be successful.

Spambots also like to try to answer every question in the form – so I’ve added a box which must be left blank in order for the registration process to be successful.

The final measure in this attempt to prevent the registration of spambots is to ensure that the form has been posted from the correct page on my site. A lot of spambots submit their own form from a remote site, so, by checking the referrer we can see if the user has registered from the correct site and reject any remote registrations.

These measure seems to be working so far, but, if any of you can think of any other measures, whether it be actual code or just theories, which could be introduced or have any comments on the steps I’ve taken so far then please leave a comment.


I’ve been doing a lot of reading on networks / networking over the past few days.

NetworkingAs well as being interesting, this reading has also helped to refresh my knowledge of how networks operate – why we use this switch instead of that hub and other things most people wouldn’t know, or want to know, about.

The last time I really did any reading about networks was at college, 6 years ago, no wonder I’d forgotten a lot of it.

This refresher has meant that, although I’m working with networks a lot of the time at work, I now feel much more confident as to why the network is working in the way it is rather than knowing it just works.