Sunday, June 21, 2009

NHL all growed up

For a week without any games, there was a bunch of hockey. Sean Avery started it off with a a visit to Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. While it sweet to see him getting even more mainstream media exposure, I'd rather see him in glasses. Plus I miss the old, shall we say franker, Sean Avery. I hope Torts didn't see that segment because somebody's not been practicing his shot. And I've seen him chain smoke this off-season. Might as well live it up until August, right?
Thursday night brought the NHL awards, snatched from the CBC's semi-professional clutches and relocated to Las Vegas. I wasn't sure how the upgrade would translate. There was something adorably ridiculous about the Canadian produced specials. Ron MacLean's corny jokes and constant references to Don Cherry set the perfect tone for the low-rent affair. Basically expectations were low, so the audience could never be too disappointed. This year the awards were much fancier, so much so that it made for an even more awkward show. I think some of the winners were so overwhelmed by the set and the setting that they could barely speak straight. Or maybe it was making Steve Mason follow Chaka Khan! Two winners did acquit themselves with aplomb, Ovechkin and Tim Thomas. Ovechkin's jokes are just as corny as MacLean's, but his crazy teeth and clipped English just plain sells it. Thomas was by far the highlight. He was funny and sincerely emotional when excepting his two Goalie trophies. Did I wish it was Henrik? You bet, but I'd much rather Thomas get his due and truly appreciate it than Brodeur adding just another accolade. Speaking of Fatso, he must have been so upset at not being up for the Vezina that he forced the State of New Jersey to celebrate him that very day. I celebrated "Martin Brodeur Day" by watching the 2008 handshake line again.

In an attempt to spice up the awards I tried to figure out a drinking game before showtime. Maybe every time the camera lit on Sidney Crosby? But saints be praised he didn't even show up - must be still splashing around in Mario's pool for the kiddie swim. Anyway three prime drinking opportunities blossomed during the show:

1. mildly drunk - every time someone willfully mispronounces a player's name. I'm not even sure who it was, but it sounded like they had never even seen the name Pavel Datsyuk let alone said it aloud. It went something like "Pavement Datsun"! I know no one watches this thing, but you might want to practice before hitting national TV. Don't feel bad though dude, the Chyron operator spelled it wrong too!

2. undoubtedly drunk - every time you spot Michael Buble in the audience, on stage, in the bathroom. This dude was all over the awards. I know he's Canadian and looks good in a jersey, but he didn't even sing. Why was he even there?

3. excessively drunk - two words Jeremy Roenick. I thought I had Buble overload until Roenick introduced at least 4 segments and was in every other audience shot. Wait a second Bettman, this notoriously loudmouthed grandpa can be the poster boy of your new NHL, but Sean Avery can't be anywhere near a camera? Have you seen the amount of press Avery's generated in the last month? The Penguins couldn't even make the full cover of SI!

At least let Ovechkin host next year. You could have Don Cherry translate everything he says. Comedy gold I tell you.

Well I'll be moving on to greener pastures of Wimbledon tomorrow, or at least until the draft next week. I believe in you Roger, let's get number 6.

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