Anyone who’s played the last two entries in EA Sports‘ popular NHL hockey video game franchise knows that—-after facing stiff competition from rival game company 2K Sports—-the EA designers have rededicated themselves to producing a game that, in addition to being a fun waste of time, is also a realistic simulation of the sport. Because, you know, when your slogan is “If It’s In the Game, It’s In the Game,” realism is kind of important.

Last year, EA Sports introduced the “Skill Stick,” which allowed players to cradle and shoot the puck using the right analogue stick, much like you would with an actual hockey stick. The Skill Stick was widely regarded as the most important innovation in hockey video games since EA’s NHL ’93, in which players could spill each other’s blood on the ice during fights. (Unfortunately, the blood was absent from NHL ’94.) This year, the designers introduced an advanced artificial-intelligence system, in which the computer learns your tendencies and adjusts its offensive and defensive strategies accordingly, as well as a create-a-play system that makes players on your own team react the way you want them to in certain situations.

But, as a poster at the Washington Caps’ message boards noticed earlier this week, the crack development team at Electronic Arts has apparently also put a renewed effort into ensuring that the player attributes, skills, and playing styles are as accurate as possible. Take, for instance, Sidney Crosby, who—-during his first two seasons in the NHL—-has often been accused of taking a dive to draw a penalty.

Special thanks to poster “Hollowboy” for relating this story and providing a link to the video.

Okay, so the other night I’m playing NHL08 on my Xbox360 as the Caps versus the Pens and early in the game I landed a hipcheck on Crosby from Pothier. My controller rumbled nicely to confirm this check. As I continued skating towards the Pens goal my controller kept rumbling every few seconds and I had no idea what was going on. I pulled up a replay and I when I focused on Crosby I see that after connecting with the initial check… he continued to flop on the ice in the other zone! I skated back to the zone and bumped him with Eminger and it “unfroze” his diving around on the ice. I couldn’t believe what I just witnessed so I grabbed my camera that can capture some video and I wanted to share with those who want to waste another 25 seconds of your time for a giggle. Sorry, it’s a little shaky and there’s no sound as I did a quick video capture of the replay.