Tampa Bay Lightning hope for lucky strike in Vegas (Lightning Links)

Wynn Las Vegas

The NHL Awards will broadcast from the Encore Theater at the Wynn in Las Vegas. Photo by Charles Schelle

The NHL Awards are finally here, set to broadcast at 7 p.m. Tuesday on NBCSN, with the Bolts leading away.

The team has done well for itself getting deserved coverage this past week for each of its nominees: goalie Ben Bishop, coach Jon Cooper plus rookies Tyler Johnson and Ondrej Palat.

Dan Rosen of NHL.com looked at how the Lightning and Colorado Avalanche are leading the top nominees at the awards, and everyone is all smiles, including Johnson:

“To come to the awards like this, I never really thought it was possible so just to be here is a dream come true,” Johnson said. “It’s even better to have the guys on our team, like it’s a little team reunion so it’s a lot of fun.”

While I’m eager to hear Johnson’s night on the town in Vegas, I’m still waiting to hear more of his Red Light District visit in Amsterdam.

The awards are noted for their awkwardness with selecting Canadian bands nobody heard of, or nobody wants to hear from again or Def Leppard putting the goddamn trophy upside down. There are also celebrity presenters who screw up names. As Puck Daddy’s Greg  Wyshynski opined in 2012, despite bringing in Nickelback and then Jay Mohr for a second time, IMG Productions helped improve the broadcast and the celebrity line-up as the sports mogul also has a long list of actors and models at its disposal. That ought to be a wider net now that IMG was acquired by powerhouse agency William Morris. (Full disclosure: I cover IMG Academy’s business dealings in Bradenton for my employer.)

Here are this year’s celebrities, according to the NHL:

Current and former NHLers P.K. SubbanChris ProngerRich PeverleyDanny DeKeyserMichael Pecaand Luc Robitaille will present alongside notable hockey fans David Boreanaz (“Bones”), Cuba Gooding Jr. (“The Butler”), Retta (“Parks and Recreation”), Eric Stonestreet (“Modern Family”) andDavid Walton (“About a Boy”). Longtime hockey fans Michael J. Fox (“Family Ties”), Susan Sarandon (“Tammy”), James Lipton (“Insider the Actor’s Studio”), Kevin Connolly (“Entourage”) and Whoopi Goldberg (“The View”) also will be featured during the broadcast in pre-taped segments.

So this year, it’s Phillip Phillips singing, who is not an IMG or William Morris client, and George Stroumboulopoulos, who will take over CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada, relegating Ron MacLean and Don Cherry to smaller roles as part of Roger’s production. I do admit I miss some of MacLean’s corny jokes at the NHL Awards when he hosted them in the past. They were better hockey jokes than anything the celebrity hosts could write.

As much as it’s about making a good show in Vegas, there is hardware to hand out. Here are more of the Bolts checking in from Vegas and the rest of Lightning Links.












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