There are probably not many of us who’ve managed to confidently take to the ice, smash a few pucks around and feel the harsh reality of an ice-cold collision between you and an opponent desperate for a ruck.

Therefore, EA’s NHL series is likely to be the closest we get to ice hockey heaven.

And this franchise continues to up the ante when it comes to presentation, in-game animations, sound and the whole host of modes you’ll want to triumph in before the following year’s release comes around.

You’ll be thrown by the sheer speed of the on-ice events, as well as taken by the increased creativity and strategic possibilities, thanks to the innovative True Performance Skating system that does seem to deliver a higher proportion of explosive moments — once you get to grips with the control system.

As is often the case, perhaps the best fun is to be had when you sync up with friends online, to engage in the first-ever multiplayer dynasty mode with co-operative and Online Team Play, or relive the greatest moments from today’s NHL in NHL Moments Live.

Ice hockey purists may complain that this year’s release is a little more detached from reality than usual, but for the rest of us EA’s NHL is still as cool as a cucumber.