* CatharsisFactor: Your favorite team got beat by a hated rival team? Just play a virtual rematch of the offending game, put every slider in your favour, and then go demolish said rival team in a CurbStompBattle.
* GrowingTheBeard: After a lull in the early-to-mid-2000s with lagging sales, ''NHL 08'', with its new control scheme and improved gameplay, was a commercial and critical success, as were the following iterations.
* GoodBadBugs: In NHL 09, should the puck ricochet into the net off of a defenseman, the celebration cutscene will show the defender partying with the opposing team.
* HilariousInHindsight: Two of the songs on the NHL 10 soundtrack were Music/GreenDay's "Know Your Enemy" and Music/{{Nickelback}}'s "Burn It to the Ground." Fast forward a year later, and they're the theme songs to [[Wrestling/WWESmackDown WWE SmackDown]] and [[Wrestling/WWERaw Raw]], respectively.
* MostAnnoyingSound: The "click-click clack-clack" sound[[note]]Supposedly the goalie banging his stick on the ice[[/note]] that comes at the end of a penalty.
* ScrappyMechanic: Goaltender controls. Granted, it's not easy to replicate the kinds of movements goalies need to make in real life to cover every potential hole but it still seems like the developers could put in just a bit more effort.
** Any sort of play along the posts is a particular problem. The hug commmand basically locks the player to the post making it very difficult to get to the other side of the net in an odd man situation. There's also no good way of using the pad to press against the post in order to stop wraparounds and shots from off to the side. The post hug somewhat helps, but in additions to the locking issue, when combined with the butterfly trigger will leave the 5 hole wide open.
** The 3rd person goalie camera means that it is extremely easy to lose track of the puck right in the low slot - ie, right in front of you.
** They basically gave up in 13 making most of the controls automatic save for positioning. Reaction has been mixed.
* TheyChangedItNowItSucks: The fighting mechanics originally looked pretty realistic in ''NHL 2004'', but got overhauled in ''NHL '07'', where fights ended in just one or two punches. It got changed again in ''NHL '10'' to a first-person view, and reactions to it have been mixed. [[AvertedTrope It seems they finally got it right]] in ''14'' which switches to a third person view with a repurposed engine from EA's ''Fight Night'' franchise.
* TheyJustDidntCare: The reaction from some fans of the franchise about the lack of attention paid to recent games' creation modes, particularly Create-A-Team.
* UnfortunateImplications: With the addition of female created players in NHL 12, it's now possible for a male player to beat up on a female player during a fight.
** That's nothing. Just look on Website/YouTube, and see how many comments are about StayInTheKitchen jokes.