By Lisa Ovens
Wow, the NHL Awards show is really starting to look the Academy Awards! We saw plenty of red carpet action on Thursday evening as hockey stars, and a few other celebs entered the Elgin Theatre in Toronto.
However, no one was dishing the women’s choice of gowns, or gushing over borrowed Harry Winston rocks and baubles. It was all about the tuxedo. The two big questions on the carpet: Rented or Own, and which designer? Once or twice the red carpet banter was a little painful to watch, which makes me wonder if they’ll enlist, Canadian red carpet pro, Ben Mulroney next year.
In the end, cheers to Scott Oake, Kelly Hrudey, Cassie Campbell and the Bare Naked Ladies, Tyler Stewart for doing their best to provide the play-by-play and carpet- side interviews with this year’s brightest hockey stars.
Inside, host Ron MacLean delivered his welcome presentation and monologue peppered with jokes, with the biggest laugh coming at the expense of Mark Messier. Well, the biggest laugh in my living room, anyway. Ron questioned, “where is Mark Messier?” almost wondering if he was lost. Then up on the big screen was a clip of Mark walking through a forest, all by himself in a black tee shirt and jeans, carrying the Stanley Cup.
MacLean then quipped something along the lines of “I think he thinks it’s his”, referring to the cup.
No surprises as far as the award winners go: Sidney Crosby captures both the NHL’s MVP award, the Hart Trophy, and the NHLPA’s Lester B Pearson MVP Award. Our little superstar is really growing up, and played the best he could, which meant out playing his last year’s best. Plus he’s well spoken, and will do so much for this league for years to come. Go Sidney Go!
Niklas Lidstrom won the Norris trophy for best defenseman, with co finalists, Scott Niedermayer and Chris Pronger winning the “Thelma and Louise” Award (on the same team, they cancelled each other out, just like Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis did at the Oscars several years ago) One day they’ll have to create a Lidstrom Award, just so they can always say the defenseman’s name, because he’s been winning it and nominated for it so many times.
Being a Canuck fan, I was please to see Alain Vigneault receive the Jack Adams’ Coach of the Year Award. Let’s face it, at the beginning of the year, most everybody whom is anybody ranked the Canucks to finish 11th or 12 in the West, and AV managed to lead this team to a second round play off exit. And my Mom likes him too!
What might have gone through Roberto Luongo’s mind when Martin Brodeur won the Vezina Trophy for being the Top Goal Tender in the league…maybe “Martin Martin Martin” (sung to the Jan Brady tune of Marcia Marcia Marcia) Luongo, shut out on all three nominations, just has to have another stellar year and return to the Awards show next year…and talk about how great it was to win the Stanley Cup AND the Vezina… (Oops…I’m daydreaming about the Canucks winning the cup again)
And way to go, Phil Kessel, in making a lovely speech of thanks after receiving the Masterson Award for perseverance and dedication to the game. Something like that can’t be easy for a young man to do, especially for the humblest, and Phil pulled it off.
Penguin fans must have been loving it when rookie sensation Evgeni Malkin won the Calder Trophy for Rookie of the Year. Penguins coach and Coach of the Year Nominee, Michel Therrien, accepted on Malkin’s behalf. I wonder if the talent on that team ever dumbfounds Therrien? You know, he’s walking down a hallway, and stops and blurts out “Holy Crap!”
The Detroit Red Wings’, Pavel Datsyuk had prior commitments and could not accept the Lady Byng Trophy for the most gentlemanly player. Yep, after seeing those “Shaye” girls present the finalists and the award, I agree…we girls all love gentlemen, don’t we? This is Datsyuk’s second “Byng-er” and we here at h&hh.com think that’s great.
Saku Koivu was honored with the King Clancy award for achievements off the ice, and so many people can thank the Saku and his foundation for raising mucho dollars for desparately needed cancer medical equipment in the Montreal area. Saku was not at the ceremony as he was in Finland continuing with his off ice charity work there.
And Rod “The Bod” Brind’amour won his second straight Selke award for being a defensive forward, which brings one thing to mind…how about an offensive defenseman award one of these days, huh? Mr. Brind’amour claimed the Hurricanes will “be back” next season and based on the look on his face when he said, I believe him.
Two goaltenders won the Jennings award – a Niklas Backstrom fellow and another guy named Manny Fernandez…that’s all I got there. I kid…two two, two goaltenders in one for the Minnesota Wild were honored net minders with the fewest goals scored against.
It’s nice to have someone to share everything with, and these guys are lucky to have each other.
And finally, we already knew who won the Art Ross for points (Sid “The Kid” Crosby) and the Maurice Richard for most goals (Vincent Lecavalier) But it was still nice to see them on stage chatting about their efforts.
Let’s see, last year’s awards night was held in Vancouver, this year it was Toronto. I wonder where it will be next year? It might be time to have the special evening in New York or Los Angeles. That would be a real treat for hockey fans in both of those large markets. The awards night is an excellent opportunity to snap some pics and get some autographs from the players, when they haven’t just left “the office” in their sweaty gear. It would also be a great opportunity for the American media to get a good look at the players: they clean up pretty nicely, if I don’t say so myself.