Game Informer writes: "With Visual Concepts replacing Kush Games as the lead developer of 2K's NHL franchise, I expected a return to the days where the series ruled the ice. What I found instead was a player past his prime facing the waiver wire.
NHL 2K9 fails to impress from the moment the skates hit the ice. The emotionless and repetitive commentary and presentation betray the excitement generated in a hockey arena. The stiff skating makes star players look like unathletic junior varsity kids struggling to make the team, and the goalies stand in the net like Herman Munster. Both control options - the classic face button scheme and the part analog/part face button hybrid - fail to feel as fluid or natural as EA's superior skill stick. The only areas where 2K outshines the competition are in the varied collision animations and the face-off mechanic, which keeps you guessing each time the puck drops."