While EA has yet to release an official statement regarding the problem users have found success with two bandaid solutions -- which point to cache problems in the game. According to the EA Forum users clearing the cache of the Xbox 360 and disabling the auto-save feature in NHL 09 may help fix the problem but as gamers play more of the game the issue returns.
Let's hope we'll get a fix for the game soon. Actually, it's cool. We'll just play our 82 game seasons in one sitting. No, really.
Update: EA Sports actually responded to this issue late last night recommending the cache clear route as a possible solution. They have yet responded to the cries for a patch.