Auston Matthews played it coy when asked what EA Sports identified as his “X-Factor” in its new NHL 22 game.
“I’m going to take a wild guess and say that I’ve got a good shot in the game. Maybe some good goal-scoring abilities,” said the Toronto Maple Leafs center, who last season led the NHL in goals for the first time in his five-year career.
Matthews is the cover athlete for NHL 22, the second time he’s made the front of the box for EA Sports after gracing the NHL 20 cover. It’s only appropriate that a game focused on separating the superstars from the rest of the league would feature one of its elite young talents, one who just scored 41 goals in 52 games.
“I think it’s a good cover. Not many people get to be on the cover of the video game. I consider myself pretty lucky,” he told ESPN. “I think it’s going to be a pretty sweet game.”
With NHL 22, EA Sports has made the league’s best players something more than their ability ratings. It created two different tiers of abilities: “zone” and “superstar.” The “zone” abilities are assigned to elite players that possess game-changing talent; since they’re so powerful within the game, only one is assigned to each eligible player. The “superstar” abilities are less powerful, and multiple ones are assigned to about 100 players in the game. They range from enhanced shots and passing abilities to being able to sneak a puck through screens to the goaltender.
“We’re trying to re-create superstars in a way that’s authentic to hockey,” said NHL 22 producer Clement Kwong.
Matthews’ zone ability is called “Shock & Awe.” It seeks to mimic his exceptional power and accuracy when shooting out of a deke move, using his curl and drag shot. Much like in the real world, digital defenders will have to be more aware when Matthews is on the ice.
The same goes for Edmonton Oilers star Leon Draisaitl‘s video game proxy, who has the “Tape To Tape” zone ability, allowing him to make remarkable passes within his vision. The exceptional attributes extend to defensive players as well: Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy has the “Contortionist” zone ability, in which he can make “impossible” saves during the game.
“I just picture [Connor] McDavid in this game just skating by everyone so easily. I can’t wait to see that,” said Matthews.
We spoke with the NHL 22 cover athlete recently about gaming, both on Nintendo and on the chess board; another Maple Leafs’ playoff disaster; and whether he’s in Justin Bieber’s posse, or if it’s the other way around.
ESPN: You’re someone who’s always been interested in ways to grow the NHL’s fan base. Are video games one such way? Were you one of those guys that, say, got into soccer playing FIFA?
Matthews: A little bit. I’ve always played video games here and there. I’ve never been a super-gamer kind of guy, but I do enjoy playing them a lot. [EA Sports’] NHL is one that I always enjoyed playing, and looked forward to getting every Christmas. But I played a little FIFA once in a while, which gives you the itch to play the sport itself. But I don’t know if the Leafs really want me doing too much of that, though. [Laughs].
I’ll bring my Nintendo Switch on the road, and so will a couple of the other guys. This year I actually got into playing chess on the plane. Trying to learn that a little bit. I like it a lot. Had a big chess bug this year, for some reason.
ESPN: Were you a “Queen’s Gambit” binger?
Matthews: [Laughs] Yeah, that’s why. Watching that show. It’s funny how that works. So I got into that. You go through these phases where all you want to do is play video games and then all you want to do is play chess. I played a little bit against the boys. Me and [former Leafs goalie] Freddie Andersen hung out a lot, so we played against each other quite a bit. I wouldn’t play [center Alex] Kerfoot because I know he went to Harvard, and obviously would beat me.
ESPN: Let me ask about your offseason. Were you in Justin Bieber’s entourage or was he in your entourage at UFC 264?
Matthews: [Laughs] I was in his, for sure. But when he came down to Phoenix, I would have to say he was more in mine. He came down, he stayed with me, he hung out at my house. My buddies were there and stuff. I can’t say enough great things about him. He’s a Grade-A guy and we had a lot of fun.
ESPN: When you win the Rocket Richard Trophy, as you did last season for the first time, where do you keep it?
Matthews: I’ll keep it at my parents’ house. They’ve got a little room with jerseys with all the teams I played on, with little awards. They’ve got my sister’s golf stuff in there, too. I’ll pass it along to them and they can do what they want with it. Every time I go over there, it’s like something new is in that room.
All the stuff used to be in my dad’s office, and then one summer I came home and my dad took all my stuff out of his office and decided to put his stuff in there instead. He likes to hunt, so he put all of his hunting stuff in there and then designated another room in the house for my stuff. I let them do that. I guess it made them happy.
ESPN: Did you ever do the father-son bonding thing and go hunting together?
Matthews: Yeah, I actually used to go when I was a little bit younger. But I saw some snakes a couple times when I was out there. That was it for me.
ESPN: That sounds like a “growing up in Arizona” problem.
Matthews: It really was.
ESPN: Touching on the Toronto Maple Leafs for a moment. It was obviously another unsatisfying playoff result. The Montreal Canadiens, the team that eliminated you in seven games, went all the way to the Stanley Cup Final. It was a series that saw you lose John Tavares to a scary injury. Compared to previous losses, was it any easier to get past this one, given the context?
Matthews: No, it was definitely harder, in that sense. It’s tough … it’s obviously really frustrating. It sucks right now. People have opinions and they can say what they want, and rightfully so, but I really believe in the team and I really believe in all of the players on the team — the core group especially. I truly believe that we’re going to get it done. We’re going to be better from our losses, and from the adversity that we faced.
The only way is forward. [The playoff loss] sucked. There’s no other way to put it. Extremely disappointing. But it’ll just feel that much better when we eventually get to the top.
ESPN: Your general manager, Kyle Dubas, has doubled down on that sentiment. He’s said that he would “bet everything” on the core of the Leafs being able to figure out how to win a championship. When you hear your GM say that, what does that mean to you?
Matthews: I don’t think that’s news to us. We know that’s how he feels. When he reiterates that, it gives us confidence moving forward. That’s all you can ask for: that your general manager and all your teammates truly believe in one another.
ESPN: Finally, as a hockey player and a fashion icon, would you prefer the cover of a sports video game or the cover of GQ?
Matthews: Oh, I would take the cover of the video game. I don’t read magazines too often.
Alberta doctors raise alarm on specialist staff shortages in intensive care wards – Saanich News
The Alberta Medical Association says the province’s high COVID-19 numbers are behind a desperate shortage of specialized staff to care for critical care patients.
“The demand for (intensive care unit) nurses is currently so high that we need to increase the number of patients assigned to each nurse,” the medical association said in a public letter Monday.
“This reduction in staffing ratio is well below our normal standard of care. This will jeopardize the quality of ICU care that we are able to provide.”
The letter was signed by members of the group’s intensive care section.
Alberta’s hospitals and intensive care wards are overwhelmed by critical care patients, most of them stricken with COVID-19. The overwhelming majority are either unvaccinated or partially vaccinated.
Alberta Health Services has been briefing doctors on criteria to use should the health system collapse and they have to make on-the-spot decisions on who gets life-saving care.
Last week, Dr. Paul Parks, the medical association’s head of emergency medicine, said the staffing shortage is affecting care in other ways. Parks said some critical care patients are not being put on available ventilators because there aren’t enough nurses to monitor them.
Kerry Williamson with Alberta Health Services says while typical ICU care is one nurse per patient, an alternative model, known as a hub, is being used to adapt to the pandemic while ensuring care is delivered.
Each hub includes one or two trained intensive care nurses and two to four registered nurses.
“This model partners registered nurses from other areas with existing trained ICU (nurses) to expand the availability of the critical-care nursing skill set to more patients,” said Williamson in an email.
“ICU patients are never cared for by nurses alone. Whole teams work with nurses in ICU, including respiratory therapists and many others. “
In recent weeks, the province has scrambled to create more ad hoc intensive care beds, effectively more than doubling the normal total of 173 to accommodate 312 patients currently receiving critical care.
Staff have been reassigned, forcing mass cancellations of surgeries, including cancer procedures.
Alberta has asked the federal government for help, and the Canadian Armed Forces has said it will respond with eight more intensive care nurses and air transport to take critically ill patients to other provinces.
Almost two weeks ago, Alberta reintroduced gathering restrictions and brought in proof of vaccination requirements for entry to restaurants, bars, casinos, concerts and gyms to try to reduce spread of the virus.
Daily case counts remain well over one thousand and a growing number of doctors and infectious disease specialists are calling for a “firebreak” lockdown, which would include a shutdown of schools, businesses and other activities.
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, in a weekend radio interview, rejected a lockdown. He said it would make “no sense for the 80 per cent of the population that is vaccinated” and who are much less likely to transmit the disease and be hospitalized.
Alberta has lagged behind other provinces in vaccination. Kenney and his United Conservative government have been trying to persuade more people to get their shots by offering $1-million prize draws, other gifts and, more recently, $100 debit cards.
About 73 per cent of eligible Albertans, those 12 and over, are fully vaccinated, while 82 per cent have had at least one shot.
Opposition NDP Leader Rachel Notley said it’s time to partner with community groups and health-care professionals to go door to door and help those who are not vaccinated due to health or work concerns or a language barrier.
Those groups could be “having conversations and offering Alberta vaccines right there on people’s doorsteps,” Notley said in Calgary.
—Dean Bennett, The Canadian Press
Face ID stops working on iPhone 13 after any third-party screen replacements – XDA Developers
Apple just released the iPhone 13 series earlier this month, with four models to choose from: the iPhone 13, iPhone 13 Mini, iPhone 13 Pro, and iPhone 13 Pro Max. The phones are a step up from previous models, with smoother displays and enhanced cameras, but the iPhone 13 series appears to be a downgrade from earlier iPhones in at least one regard — Face ID will stop working after anyone except Apple (or an Apple-authorized repair center) replaces your screen.
The below video from Phone Repair Guru (via MacRumors) shows the displays on two iPhone 13 phones being swapped. Even though the displays are genuine Apple parts, and the screen assembly doesn’t contain any components directly related to Face ID, the result is that Face ID no longer works.
It’s not clear at the moment if this is a software bug, or yet another measure against unauthorized iPhone repairs. Apple has become increasingly hostile to third-party repairs over the past few years. Apple has its own Independent iPhone Repair Program, which provides select companies or third-party repair centers with genuine Apple parts and repair manuals. However, an iFixit report from last year pointed out that it can take several months for repair centers to join the program, and Apple often sells parts to repair centers for high prices. In some cases, the cost for parts exceed what Apple would charge to perform the entire repair.
Apple has not yet published a statement about Face ID and third-party repairs. If Face ID is intended to break, it would likely only give more momentum to the ‘Right to Repair’ movement, which has pushed governments around the world to force electronics manufacturers to make replacement parts and repair manuals readily available. U.S. President Joe Biden signed an executive order in July that called for the FTC to establish guidelines for device repairs, and other countries around the world are in various stages of crafting similar legislation.
Signal, the encrypted messaging app, is currently down for many users (Update: it's back) – Yahoo Canada Shine On
Update 2: Signal is now back up for “99% of users,” according to its Twitter account.
Update: In a tweet, Signal said the disruption is due to a hosting outage.
Signal is down for many users right now. Its status website says the encrypted messaging app is “experiencing technical difficulties” and many people are getting an in-app error message that says the same thing. The company says it is “working hard to restore service as quickly as possible.” TechCrunch has contacted Signal for comment.
Signal’s in-app error message
According to Downdetector.com, users started reporting outages around 11:05 PM Eastern Standard Time this evening, and it appears to be affecting people around the world.
Over the past few months, Signal has continued to build out its feature set, adding a default timer for disappearing messages that automatically applies the settings to all new conversations.
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