The IIHF license which granted the World Cup mode also allowed EA to use real-life international jerseys for the only time (previously released games used unique jerseys designed by the game's staff which only bore a passing similarity to their real life counterparts, so the jersey shows their flag.) The PC version of the game was stripped down to the bare essentials, including the omitting of the create-a-player feature. These omissions were possibly due to the labour dispute that season, but EA explained that they hadn't perfected the new create-a-player interface, which would have allowed for far greater customizability than what was previously available.
NHL 2005 remove some songs due to unknown issue. Also this is the only EA NHL PC game that lacks the ability to view league-wide statistics when playing in season mode. Vancouver Canucks captain Markus Naslund is featured on the cover, except in Finland where Olli Jokinen is on the cover. NHL 2005 is also the first EA Sports NHL title to be online enabled for the Xbox system.
The game was met with positive to average reception. GameRankings and Metacritic gave it a score of 77.15% and 77 out of 100 for the Xbox version; 76.71% and 75 out of 100 for the GameCube version; 76.54% and 75 out of 100 for the PlayStation 2 version; and 66.60% and 66 out of 100 for the PC version.