Game Informer writes: "While Madden treads water and NBA Live struggles to find its shot, NHL has quietly raised the benchmark for sports games. With its unparalleled controls, refined presentation, and unrivaled selection of game modes, NHL 09 is the best hockey game ever created.
Forget the patsy-cake checks of last year's game - NHL 09 dishes seismic hits that leave your opponents a huddled mass of pain and broken bones on the ice. Combine the big checks with the stick lift and improved poke check, and the gameplay finally finds a balance between offensive and defensive abilities. Many games will be won or lost in front of the goalmouth as you disrupt potential one-timers to protect your net or set up deflection scenarios on the attack."