When a publisher or development house puts out a game that does well, sometimes they're tempted into sitting on their laurels, adding a few new features and some bonus levels and putting out a cheap follow up. That kind of thinking doesn't win you game of the year, especially not multiple times over as EA has done with their NHL franchise.
While NHL 2011 is still in development, EA is already announcing some of the things they're fixing for this year. They adressed this discussion in a chat with some of their forum members who regularly provide defects. Here's the link to the chat archive, and it provides some pretty neat little insides. The devs are keeping a lot close to the vest still, but most of the major issues I saw related to animations and defensive weaknesses are being addressed.