Wondering how NHL '08 is shaping up?
First and foremost, skate controls are going to get a major overhaul. Playing defense in last year's game was quite difficult due to lack of skater control, which is also getting overhauled. For example, the way you move your analog stick (left to right or in a semi-circle motion) will determine how your player turns. It's pretty obvious -- left to right turns the player around right away, a semi-circle motion will turn the player around in a slower, wider arc. You can dynamically switch between the two turns mid-way if you want, too. Your skating speed is affected by the amount you push the analog stick forward. Basic and intuitive, but something they needed to do.
In addition to those control tweaks, there are additions to the skill stick so you can do some fancy puck work around the competition -- no doubt to liven up the online aspect of the game. You can toss the puck in 10 different directions now, so that should help in online matches as well. There's only so much you can do with left, right, and behind.
Checking is getting improved -- momentum based for both players instead of the incredibly outdated "I hit you, so you fall down" method. Shooting takes on a Tiger Woods twist. Your right analog stick serves as your accuracy. With all these improvements, we have to ask: did EA even try on previous NHL titles? It sounds like these "updates" are incredibly basic things that should have been improved and changed at least five years ago. We hope there's more to come, because we'd hate to have the hockey-lovers rise up in rebellion against the lack of attention EA gives to the games.