I love this game. It has so much longevity, and almost anyone can pick it up and play without learning the NHL games' more complicated controls (although a knowledge of those will give you a distinct advantage).
The only thing that gets annoying is if you play against someone whose strategy is to knock down your goalie and shoot. In that case you can really start to point fingers at the game's design, but that's just the style of the game.
Basically, if you have friends who will be willing to refrain from taking to cheap strategies like that, you have to get this game. You'll enjoy it, your friends will enjoy it, your girlfriend will enjoy it, and I'm pretty sure your dog will enjoy it.