Okay I could be reviewing this game all day. But let's just cut the b.s. and go straight for Be A Pro mode. Basically you control your player and try and score goals, assists and (not) get penalties. One problem is the penalties. First you can get a lot of them, because pressing A to lift the stick is the same for hooking and high sticking. Then checking can be a cross check. It's kind of random. The fighting is sort of lame. There's three controls (punch, duck, grab) but it comes down to who punches fastest in 7 seconds. In NHL 2k7 the fighting is pretty good because you have more health and ducking actually does something. The second problem with penalties is that the other team gets a lot of them, and not legitimate penalties, thing like delay of game for knocking it over the glass. But if you turn the penalties down (or off completely in my case) it resolves the situation I guess.
Playing the game is fun though, basically you try and stay in your position (marked by arrows) and make good passes and score. You can only be out for a few minutes until you get tired and then you go off the ice, watch for a minute and then go back out. Although it's optional I did it because its realistic. Basically that's what it comes down to. Scoring as many goals and getting assists. Meeting the teams expectations of you and trying to win the cup.
Being goalie is a lot more difficult. To be honest, I enjoy 2k7's goalie system more than 09's because the 2k7 slows time down and makes you make a move. In this it's more press the thumbstick and the goalie tries to save it. The problem with not slowing it down is that you can't react to slap shots or wrap arounds in time.
Programming: 8.5/10 : I loved the Be A Pro mode, but being goalie is a pain in the ass
Graphics: 8/10 : The ice and players look great, but there's some obvious slowdown with the player animations when not playing
Story: 8.5/10 : The go from AHL to NHL and Be A Pro mode is a new view of a hockey game
Atmosphere: 8/10 : The arenas are beautifully done but the announcers are very repetitive
Multiplayer: N/A : Didn't even scratch the multiplayer yet but I'm told it's extravagant
Overall: 8.5/10 : Overall great fun but just as frustrating as any NHL game