June 23, 2011
(Ed. Note: Wysh and Leahy are traveling to the NHL Draft today; here's Lambert on the NHL Awards.)
A lot of things happened at this year's NHL Awards in Las Vegas. Some of them really cool, most of them quite bad. (Full disclosure: I'm writing this at 8:09 a.m. the morning before they start, but I feel like it's a safe assumption. I have, after all, seen both Jay Mohr do standup and the NHL's past choices in musical acts.)
(Update: I was right.)
To list them all would be impossible and, as the great poet Pierre McGuire once said, "Doc and Edzo, brevity is the soul of wit."
And so without further ado — except to say that anyone who scores 66 points in 41 games should be up for MVP — Puck Daddy now presents to you the five best and 42 five worst things about this year's NHL Awards show …
The Five Best
5. The Cold Open
People across the Internet are going to be kicking the absolute hell out of Jay Mohr for his performance last night (for much more on that, see below). But you gotta give him this: That NHL Awards Show 24/6 sketch — obviously a parody of the Caps/Pens 24/7 series — was a pretty good idea, and the good-natured shots it got in on most people from both organizations were genuinely funny.
Hopefully now this puts the whole Boudreau F-bomb thing to rest, too.
Look at that thing. It's wonderful.
Give Skinner some credit: He went up there clearly having thought very little about the speech he would give when he won (that he would do so should never have been in question). He rambled on a bit, as anyone in his situation would, but managed to thank just about every meaningful person in his life with an aw-shucks attitude. Good work, kid.
Perry, for his part, looked legitimately shocked to have won the award, and was on the verge of tears when thanking his family and teammates. That was real emotion, and it was great to see.
2. Jon Hamm
I think it's safe to say that most people who are aware of Jon Hamm are fans of his. He must shower in superlatives. But in his one minute of mic time before presenting the Vezina to Tim Thomas, he got more laughs than Jay Mohr did in his entire monologue.
(Full disclosure: I genuinely like Jay Mohr when he's on the radio, but this awards show bit just doesn't suit him. The environment is far too controlled. Not that I begrudge him taking what I'm assuming is a fat check and a free trip to Vegas. I will say, however, that his Peter Forsberg(notes) joke was worth the price of admission.)
Hamm was funny, he was clearly a fan of the sport in general and the St. Louis Blues in particular, and he referenced Ron Swanson. I know he'd probably never do it, but he should really host this thing next year and then every subsequent year.
Gosh he's great.
1. They got the awards (mostly) right
Can't argue with Daniel Sedin(notes) and Corey Perry splitting the Ted Lindsay and Hart awards. Can't have a beef with Tim Thomas taking the Vezina. Can't disagree with Disco Danny Bylsma taking home the Jack Adams, or Marty St. Louis winning the Lady Byng. Can't get mad over Jeff Skinner walking away with the Calder.
But Nicklas Lidstrom(notes) won the Norris, as a result of what I can only imagine was most people's teary-eyed nostalgia. He finished the year a minus-2, but as we all have been told many, many times, plus-minus is a bogus stat (trademark and copyright everyone for whom a player's plus-minus doesn't fit their argument about his good- or badness) and should therefore be discounted.
And, weirder still, Ian Laperriere won the Masterton for a season in which he did not participate.
So what do they give him if he returns to the league in 2011-12?
And I guess that leads us to…
The Five Worst
5. The musical acts, predictably
Dierks Bentley is awful, but he's popular and actually a hockey fan, so that he was there performing was fair enough. But what the hell is Far East Movement, besides a convenient excuse for me to go grab another drink from the fridge?
The song they performed was called "If I Was You (OMG)," and was every bit as insipid as it sounds. Now, I feel like I'm pretty plugged into the music world, but I guess the genre Wikipedia refers to as "electro hop" just isn't for anyone over the age of 14. So at least Jeff Skinner was happy.
Never thought I'd yearn for the days of Chaka Khan, but here we are.
4. Kevin Smith's jersey/jorts combo
Look, Kevin, I know you're an auteur and all that, but that get-up was worse than "Cop Out," which I, like all other Americans not directly related to you, did not see. So maybe you throw on a suit like everyone else and leave that wardrobe in the closet until the next Korn show in 1997?
3. Ryan vs. Ryan: Part Deux
You saw "The Hangover 2", right? Statistically, you probably did. The geniuses behind that film — and I say geniuses because it made a boatload of money and probably cost next to nothing to actually make — saw that they created a successful, universally-beloved movie and said, "We should capitalize on this by making the exact same thing and putting it out again."
That's what this was.
Remember how much you liked the original showdown between teammates Ryan Getzlaf and Bobby Ryan? It was the more or less the same except, obviously, less funny.
This was the "Blues Brothers 2000" of awards show sketches and three minutes that I wish the NHL could credit me at the end of my life.
Stevie Whyzerman. Martin St. Lewis. Nicholas Lindstrom.
I don't know who any of those people are, but they apparently all either won or were up for awards last night, according to Jay Mohr, some old ladies who looked like transsexuals from "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" and Cobie Smulders, who is most famous for being a fictitious Canucks fan.
I know hockey's a niche sport that not many people care about (relatively speaking), but if you're getting, like, all-time great players' names wrong, maybe that's a thing that they need to be coached on.
'Course, Mohr took hell on Twitter for getting Stevie Y's name wrong, and said it was live TV and he knows it's pronounced "Eye-zerman," and you couldn't do a better job than he did. Probably true.
It's funny though, I don't like football that much and I never pronounce it Johnny Yoo-nitt-uss.
1. A two-hour red carpet special
I'm sure the crowd who only cares about the movies or TV come Oscars and Emmys time loves to see who so-and-so is wearing and have handsome actors and actresses charm the absolute pants off every interviewer within a three-mile radius.
But with all due respect, Jon Hamm couldn't have saved this unmitigated disaster with a complete reenactment of the wonderful "Mad Men" episode "The Suitcase." In which he played every part. Including Peggy. In drag.
Hockey players are, by nature, not particularly funny people in an interview setting. They are, in fact, trained not to be. Unlike actors, they are not professionally good-looking or conversationally charismatic. So whoever got the bright idea to have poor Heidi Androl pulling teeth in 105-degree heat, struggling to get Logan Couture to say anything even remotely interesting for 120 painful minutes deserves a sternly-worded email.
No one on earth should have to listen to Kevin Weekes saying, "Let's talk about the whole ensemble," and "The accessories are great!"
Except Matt Cooke.
Ryan Lambert is a columnist for Puck Daddy. Read him every Monday and Friday on this very blog.