What is Empty Net'83?

NHL'93 without the Goalie:
  • Using a ROM of Sega Genesis NHL '93 edited with tools created by the brilliant forum members of NHL'94.com to create rosters that are roughly a composite of the '82-83 & '83-84 seasons
  • I play every game as the home team, with an empty net. 
  • 3:00 periods. No line changes. No offsides. No penalties except fighting (and hopefully plenty of!). Set PIM time for Fighting to 0:00 so there are no penalties. Players only exit game via injury
  • OT set to 0:01 for the regular season so that games end in ties. Changed back to 10:00 in the playoffs so that no game can end in a tie!
League Format
  • The 21 teams of the era are joined by the Colorado Rockies, Cleveland Barons & Atlanta Firebirds to comprise a 4 division x 6 team NHL alignment. These three retro-expansion teams are rostered by players who played for them in real-life. Atlanta named the 'Firebirds' to avoid a Roughriders like situation. The Firebirds are in the Norris, the Rockies join the Smythe, and the Barons will attempt to do battle in the difficult Adams. The Patrick Division remains unchanged from it's 1983 reality.
  • Teams play a 12 game regular season schedule. Very much like a college football schedule set-up: Weeks 1-4 vs other conference; Weeks 5-7 vs other division in conference; Weeks 8-12 vs division rivals. There's a formula for setting matchups in the non-division games, while divisional rivals will alternate home and away from season to season (ie: Rangers host Islanders in odd seasons, vice versa in even numbered seasons)
  • Playoffs will be as they were at the time. Divisional based with a 1st vs 4th & 2nd vs 3rd opening round. 5th and 6th place miss the playoffs. Each round will be a Best of 5 up to and including the Stanley Cup Finals.
Roster Creation
  • Each team has a base roster of 12 forwards, 7 defencemen and 2 goalies
  • Each season a mini-roster is selected for each of 5 forwards, 3 defencemen and 1 goalie
  • Based on overall player rating, forwards for example are ranked 1-12. Ten players from each ranking will be selected each season from across the league. This way there aren't seasons with too many star players and too many weak players. This applies similarly to defencemen as well.
  • The strength of teams should fluctuate from season to season as some strong teams will have off-years if most of their lower rated players are selected, while traditionally weak teams can rise up now and then if loaded with their best players.
  • 3 of the 8 skaters for each team will change each season, that way teams will progress (or regress) each offseason.
  • For goalies, each team has a #1 and a #2 goalie. Each season 18 teams will use their #1 goalie, while 6 teams will employ their backup. So for example the Blues will start Mike Liut 3 of every 4 seasons and Rick Heinz in the other. 
  • Lineups for each game are selected randomly; though playing time evenly distributed throughout the roster. 
  • In the regular season each Defencemen will start 8 and sit 4 games. Forwards will start 8 or 9 games; with 1 or 2 of those as the Extra Attacker in home games. Goalies only play on the road.
  • In the best-of-5 playoffs, skaters will be randomly assigned to start 3 or 4 games in each round - subject to how long the series goes of course.
  • Random lineups means teams can in effect show up strong some nights and show up flat on others.
Injury Replacement Sub-Roster:
  • Using a ROM with 5 forwards and 3 d'men caused the CPU to substitute injured forwards with defencemen (not a good result with how I rated players). Therefore each team has an injury replacement sub-roster of 4 forwards and 2 defencemen. Using real-life player names from the time, but with every rating set to 33 - call it the below-replacement level - except for Fighting ratings which depend on the player. This way teams are negatively effected when their players are knocked out of the game. Since adding these players to each squad I've noticed the CPU always substitutes with these players. I've added a 'home-ice' advantage clause where I'm allowed to choose a different bench player from the regular roster IF that player's overall rating is less than that of the injured skater. ie: if I'm playing as the Islanders and Bryan Trottier (86) is hurt, and Bob Nystrom (52) is their bench forward I can put him in his place instead. But if Nystrom is hurt and Trottier is the bench skater, I must use the 33 rated sub the CPU selects (enter Dale Henry OR Mark Hamway!). These injury replacement players are not included in the rosters I post on-site and will remain unchanged from year to year.
 How I thought of this:
  • This is similar to how I played NHL'93 on the original Sega Genesis nearly 20 years ago. 
  • The customizable ROM not only allows me to create players from my earliest hockey memories, but also allows me to change the game lengths so that it takes less time to play and that final scores are more in line with the averages of the day. It also allows me to shrink the rosters down so that injured players are NOT replaced by players that are not on the teams current season mini-roster
  • The league format and scheduling is actually inspired by the first hockey game I played - Sporttime Superstar Ice Hockey on the Commodore 64. You would play 4, 7 or 11 game seasons and the top 2 teams in each division made the playoffs. My 12 game schedule is very reminiscent of the 11 gamers I used to play in the 80's on the Commodore. 

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