The NHL kicked off its Las Vegas experiment without a bang, without the star attractions you come to find in Sin City and celebrated its awards show like it has done in the past: in bland fashion.
Then again, it was an awards show we're talking about and to expect Siegfried and Roy to balance one of their tigers on Alex Ovechkin's shoulders might be asking a bit much.
The move to Las Vegas left Ron MacLean behind and the show went unmanned. Well, unless you want to count the numerous times we saw San Jose Sharks forward Jeremy Roenick(notes) and pop singer Michael Buble grab some screen time.
In the end, just about every award was handed out to the expected winner, except for the Norris Trophy where Zdeno Chara(notes) (deservedly) won the honors after many had expected Washington's Mike Green(notes) to take home the award.
More thoughts on the 2009 NHL Awards after the jump.
-I'm a sucker for video montages and the opener with Dennis Leary was well done.
-Chaka Khan and Robin Thicke kicked off the show both wearing black. Did they receive fashion advice from NHL uniform designers? And what was with Chaka's dress? Did she raid MC Hammer's leftover parachute pants collection? If you want NHL Awards fashion talk, check out Curl's review.
-Throughout the night, except on a few occasions, the crowd seemed very subdued. Did they know they were in Las Vegas? Was it not open bar at the Palms? Did Don Cherry give them a pre-show talk about showing emotion?
-Here's a tip for the NHL for next year's show: If Patrick Kane(notes) is a nominee or going to be a presenter, please buy tickets for his sisters. Also, a tip of the cap to Versus for its numerous camera shots of the girlfriend of Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender and Calder Trophy winner Steve Mason(notes) during his acceptance speech.
-Great to see Vladimir Konstantinov on the stage helping announce Ovechkin as the Pearson winner. If you haven't seen the ESPN piece on Vladdy, do check it out.
-Mike Green sporting the
spare tire bow tie was a nice fashion touch. I didn't notice it spinning in bemusement when Zdeno Chara was announced as the Norris Trophy winner, though.
-The NHL had a nice montage of the goals of the season during the show. Why can't this be a fan voted category? Instead, fans get to vote on the "ScotiaBank Fan Fav Award" or, if you're Jeremy Roenick, the "Fan Five Award"
-What was with the large red spot lights shining behind those in the sections closest to the stage? It was like the Kenny Rogers Chicken episode from "Seinfeld."
-So either the Professional Hockey Writers Association knew while they were voting that Richard Zednik(notes) was going to leave for the KHL and wanted to hold it against him or they think: seriously bad back > almost dying on ice. No knock on Steve Sullivan(notes) at all. Great story. He and the Boston Bruins duo of Zdeno Chara and Tim Thomas(notes) were the inspiring figures tonight. Just sayin'.
-What's up with Ben Roethlisberger's wannabe FANarchy video out of nowhere?
-"Want me to thank your wife Manny?" -Tim Thomas with the line of the night while accepting the William M. Jennings Trophy with Manny Fernandez(notes). Timmy also had the speech of the night when he took the Vezina Trophy honors.
-Pavel Datysuk unfortunately wasn't as funny as he was a year ago in either of his two speeches while accepting the Selke and Lady Byng trophies. I think someone needed to surprise him with a cell phone call.
-Who's Gerry Dee?
-"I thought I was down the block at the Russian awards" - Glen Anderson. With all the awards Andy has been giving out recently, he must have forgot that Wyshynski is Ukrainian.
-Stick tap to Kevin Smith and the League for their vignette playing off of Silent Bob's "controversial" blogging at the beginning of the playoffs for NHL.com.
-Evgeni Malkin(notes) and Alex Ovechkin on the same stage accepting the Art Ross and Rocket Richard trophies showed their "peace accord" in Montreal during All-Star weekend wasn't a farce. The world should be very, very afraid when the Olympic hockey tournament begins next February in Vancouver.
-I enjoyed the polite applause as commissioner Gary Bettman was announced before he presented Jean Beliveau with the "NHL Lifetime Achievement Award." Of course, there were snipers ready in the balcony should he be booed at his own awards show.
-My reaction to Montreal Canadiens great Jean Beliveau saying the Pittsburgh Penguins "deserved" the Stanley Cup? Welcome to Penguins Nation, sir.
-For a moment, I thought Michael Buble was going to break out a Bill Murray rendition of "Star Wars" to end the show, but alas, it wasn't to be.
The first of three (at least) NHL Awards shows are in the books for Las Vegas. What did you think about the winners and the show itself?