A few years ago, Visual Concepts and 2K Sports had the best hockey game on the market. In 2008, however, the tables turned, and EA Sports' NHL 09 is superior. That's not to say that this year's 2K release, NHL 2K9, is a failure. It's moderately entertaining as far as hockey games go, but it's not as satisfying as the competition.
First, the game isn't nearly as realistic. You still play six-on-six games, with five players and their supportive goalie taking the ice to stop the other team from scoring. However, at times during each period, the goalies act stupid, letting the puck sail right past them. (You can try to fix this with the manual goalie control, if you're up for it.) There's also a ridiculous amount of body checks. Even the poke checks have thunderous force behind them, sending players sliding across the ice.