In the German gaming magazine GameStar (issue 02/2002) NHL 2002 was named as "Best Sports Game in 2001".
EA Cover Curse
Mario Lemieux's comeback was plagued by a series of recurring injuries. He played just 24 games in the 2001-2 season following his cover appearance. He scored only 6 goals in these games and his Penguins missed the playoffs for the first time since 1990.
The band Barenaked Ladies debut their previously unreleased track “It’s Only Me (The Wizard Of Magicland)” in the introductory sequence. You can also play as band members in the game via the Create Player feature by entering in the band members’ names.
NHL 2002 features NHL Legend Mario Lemieux on the cover. In 2000 made a succesful comeback as player/owner of the Pittsburgh Penguins.
If you enter a common name that is recognized by the game, such as James, John, Frank, etc.), the game will use your name. For example, if you score, the announcer will shout "Great goal by James!" or whatever your name is. This only works for first names.