More of the same.
Personally, when they took away the speed burst, I began to lose interest in the series. I've found the games, while they look better each year, they seem to grow more sterile and quite frankly, boring.
A lot has been made about the new skating engine but I didn't really see much difference from previous games.
The game didn't seem to have the odd slowdown that NHL 12 had but it still doesn't seem as fast as NHL 10 or NHL 11 but maybe that's just my memory playing tricks on me.
The problem with this game for me is that while it's a decent hockey game, besides the roster/team updates, it's really no different than NHL 10, NHL 11 or NHL 12.
If you want a quick hockey game to play against your friends and you're not too concerned with rosters and the like, spend five or ten bucks and get NHL 10 or NHL 11.
I think what annoys me the most about EA, more than the lack of a manual or the online code, is that they don't offer anything new. Where's the skills competition? Where's a series of games with the some old classic teams, where's a league with the original six teams, etc. EA just keeps doing minor tweaks and keeps sitting on the NHL license without really giving more, like the old 2K games used to do.
There's a shootout mode but it's boring. I'd have rather had a stand alone fighting mode but that's nowhere to be found.
The game comes with a download code for 3 on 3 NHL Arcade and quite frankly, I find that more fun than the regular game. It's hard to understand why the game couldn't have just come on the disc.
Overall an underwhelming experience and unless you're a diehard hockey fan, previous versions of the game will do if you need a hockey fix.