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. Subban, Chris Pronger, Rich Peverley, Danny DeKeyser, Michael 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.
- Tyler Johnson had to use the hotel phone in Belarus to negotiate his contact. His stories from overseas keep getting more interesting (see above). Come on, Palat, we know you have something. Tampa Bay Lightning
- Palat on Johnson: “He’s one of my best friends.” Just don’t call it a bromance. Joe Smith | Tampa Bay Times
- “I like to think that I like craps, but I don’t know how to play so it’s kind of…” Ben Bishop tries to answer an intentionally awkward interview in Vegas. Jen Neale | Puck Daddy
- Nathan MacKinnon says nice things about Tyler Johnson and Ondrej Palat, hopefully not practicing an acceptance speech. Tampa Bay Lightning
- Cooper on awards: “If you get recognized individually, that’s an unbelievable honor, but it’s team success that brought us here and that’s what counts.” Erik Erlendsson | Tampa Tribune
- Meanwhile, Steve Yzerman shows off his Order of Canada bling. Hockey Canada | Twitter
- This is what a player’s agent says when he tries to get some leverage in negotiating: “It’s at a critical stage where we have to find a way to close the gap.” Specifically, Ryan Callahan’s agent. Joe Smith | Tampa Bay Times
- What prospects in the NHL Draft be headed to the Syracuse Crunch? A good many. Bolt Prospects
- A fancy stats look at the Lightning’s 2013-14 season. Claire Austin | Raw Charge
- Dave Andreychuk didn’t make it to the Hockey Hall of Fame again. It’s Rob Blake, Peter Forsberg, Dominik Hasek and Mike Modano leading the way. Corey Masisak | NHL
- I scanned both the schedule and Erlendsson’s hit on the schedule and overlooked the part where it said the Lightning accidentally scheduled a game against the Habs while the NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship is set for the Forum. Oops on everyone. Time to re-link. Erik Erlendsson | Tampa Tribune
- “You look at their roster and you look at their core players and I think this is a great opportunity,” Gallant said. Lightning alum Gerard Gallant is introduced to the Florida Panthers media as head coach. George Richards | Miami Herald
- Another Gallant from Summerside, Prince Edward Island, Alex Gallant, resigns with the Orlando Solar Bears. It’s not Gerard’s son, but you’d imagine it has to be a nephew or cousin. Hope to hear from the OSB on that. Jason Simmonds | The Guardian
- While the focus is on the Orlando Magic, the neighborhood beside Amway Center for Orlando Solar Bears games will look just as spiffy, in my opinion. Orlando City Council approved a plan for a vibrant $200 million Orlando Sports and Entertainment District. John Denton | Orlando Magic