NHL 2K6, 06 drop the gloves

2K Sports, EA Sports put latest hockey sim biscuits into retail basket, hard rock of the '80s plays in background as the crowd goes wild.

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"Game on at last! Game on at last! Thank God Almighty, game on at last."

In a Saturday Night Live editorial on the hockey lockout of 1994-1995, Tim Meadows complained about the only three things that made him mad: racism, sexism and no hockey. The former two are the same today as yesterday, but Meadows has to be happier with the last one.

While the puck won't drop on the first regular season NHL games in 18 months until October 5, the first video games of the year are already facing off.

2K Sports' NHL 2K6 and EA Sports' NHL 06 arrive in stores today complete with the new rules changes and the annual batch of tweaks and revamps. To this end, EA's introducing the skill stick feature, which lets marquee players pull off trick shots and dekes, while 2K Games adds an icon-based passing system and on-the-fly play calling to its game.

The third man in on this donnybrook was supposed to be The Great One himself in Gretzky NHL 2006 for the PlayStation 2 from Sony, but retail sites that previously had it scheduled for release today now have it pushed back to later this month, with the PSP version of the game following in October. Both versions are rated E10+ for Everyone 10 and Older, and both will retail for $39.99

NHL 2K6 is rated E10+ and is available on the Xbox and PS2 for $19.99. NHL 06 is rated E10+ and is available on the Xbox, PS2, GameCube, and PC for $29.99. For the full scouting report, check out GameSpot's full review of NHL 2K6, and check back soon for the final word on NHL 06.

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