"Over the last three years, EA Sports' "NHL" franchise has won 22 Sports Game of the Year awards from various publications.
So to the game's creative director, David Littman, it doesn't even matter that this year the game faces no direct hockey game competition on the Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 (2K Sports is only making "NHL 2K11" for the Wii). "Our competition has always been games like 'FIFA' and 'MLB: The Show,'" he explains. "We're not only trying to make the best hockey game out there, we're trying to make the best sports game period.
"That's how we approach the 'NHL' franchise every year. For us, it's not about the hockey category, it's about growing the sport and winning more Sports Game of the Year awards because that means that we're among the best sports games in the world and that's our goal."
So what does the team at EA Sports have planned for the "11" version of their game?
I recently caught up with producer Sean Ramjagsingh to break down the five biggest gameplay improvements hockey heads should expect when the game drops September 7."