Its tagline is "Good Old Hockey," with television ads featuring the Stompin' Tom Connors favourite "The Hockey Song" (also known as "The Good Old Hockey Game"). It is the first game in the NHL series by EA Sports to not get a PC release and the first since NHL 2000 to not get a PlayStation 2 release. On October 1, 2011, all online services for NHL 10 were discontinued.
Battle on the Boards: A new board play physics engine lets players shield the puck along the boards, kick-pass it to teammates, or pin an opponent.
Intimidation Tactics: Players are able to fore-check defenders, pressure the puck, and finish checks to force your opposing skaters into making mistakes. Engaging the opposing team's star players will now instigate players and fans. Skaters who frequently harass star players will become antagonized by the opposing crowd and players.
Post-Whistle Action: Players are able to finish checks, retaliate for late shots on goal, draw penalties, and pick fights after the referee blows the whistle.
New First Person Fighting Engine: Players controlling the team's enforcer are able to engage instigators in a new first person fighting simulator.
Spectacular Goals: Introducing spectacular new ways to score, like players one-timing loose pucks, stick-handling and shooting from their knees, batting pucks out of the air, and lifting a leg to fake a shot on goal.
New Precision Passing: A new 360° precision passing mechanic delivers control over the speed and direction of passes so players can bank passes off the boards or play the puck into space for teammates to skate on to it. Players take poor passes off their skates and kick the puck to their sticks.
Improved Goalie Intelligence: Goaltenders will be able to position themselves more intelligently, react to shots more quickly, and recover from saves faster. NHL 10 features 250 new goalie animations, including swatting pucks out of the air, second and third saves, and desperation lunges.
Interactive Atmosphere: Animations of fans within the game have been rendered to appear more lifelike and detailed. Playoff games will feature towel-waving fans and greater reactions from the crowds.
Be A GM Mode: Players will now be able to control a team as if they were a general manager in the "Be A GM" mode. This feature enables players to build their own dynasty team through drafting, trading, and signing skaters. A player's success will be measured by the number of positive influences they have on their franchise.
Battle for the Cup Mode: This mode allows players to choose two opposing teams and pit them against each other in the Stanley Cup Final. Players have the option to play a 1, 3, 5, or 7 game elimination round. The winning team will be presented with the Stanley Cup.
In addition to the standard NHL and AHL leagues, NHL 10 also features the Swedish Elitserien, Finland's SM-liiga, Germany's DEL, and the Czech O2 Extraliga, all of which were featured in the previous installment, NHL 09. This game also adds a new league, the Swiss National League A. Despite being featured in NHL 09 as the Russian Superleague and being one of the highest-ranked hockey leagues in the world, the Kontinental Hockey League was not featured in NHL 10. Like the previous game, NHL 10 features national teams from multiple countries; however they are not licensed by the IIHF and as such, the rosters used are not the official ones, and some countries' teams such as Great Britain's, Italy's, and Japan's have to use fictional characters on the rosters due to the lack of players and teams from their respective countries in the game.
EA Sports officially announced NHL 10's soundtrack in July 2009. It became available for purchase on July 31, 2009 in the form of an iMix on iTunes, containing all tracks that have been given official release. As such, tracks such as "Raccoon Eyes" are not included in the iMix due to not yet being released by their respective artists.
A demo was released on the Xbox Live Marketplace for gold and silver subscribers on August 20, 2009. Since August 27, it has been available to download for silver members and for the at the PlayStation Network. Like last year, the demo includes tutorials for shooting, deking, defensive moves, new additions like board play, and fighting, all the while playing as your created player. Once the tutorial is completed (or exited), the user then has access to a single 3rd period game between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Detroit Red Wings, symbolizing the 2009 Stanley Cup Final, where the player may choose which team to play as. Also, the user may play the Be A ProNHL Entry Draft mode, in which the user plays a single 3rd period in a prospects game. After, they are rated on their performance and selected in the draft by an NHL team.