Friday, June 19, 2009

NHL Goes Bust In Vegas

Initially I was going to boycott the NHL Awards show for not giving Henrik Lundqvist a nomination for Vezina but I ended up watching anyway. What a bland, boring broadcast of what should have been a fun celebration. The house band played benign jazz but it could just as well been Muzak. Sure the league is loathe to promote the individual over the team but, just as with the All Star Game, this should have been all about the personalities that make up our game. Some more thoughts:

*You couldn't tell the show was in Vegas. Get a lounge act, Elvis impersonator, comedy act, hell, a white tiger or two. Not Chaka Kahn. As an entertainment reporter said to me, 'wow, big get, if it was 20 years ago.'

*Comedy would have been huge as the audience looked like a bunch of bored, mildly annoyed people sitting in a lobby waiting for a job interview.

*Things were so boring that I was hoping Jerry Bruckheimer would announce his intention to bring a team to Vegas while he was on-stage. At least then we would have something to talk about.

*And it looked terrible. Versus, or whoever produced it on site, had trouble balancing the bright colours and most shots looked waaaayy too saturated. Plus, like the Versus game broadcasts, the directors made many questionable camera cuts. At one point when Jean Beliveau was on stage they picked an overhead shot that looked down - we weren't trying to decide if someone scored, we want to see how well respected the elder gentleman of the NHL is.

*On that note, why were there no identifier lower thirds? They splashed this ridiculous thing that covered two-thirds of the screen when the winner was about to speak but not once did they show something that IDed whoever that smug host was (not Roenick). And why was that guy shaking hands afterwards? Is he running for mayor?

*This should have been on the NHL Network instead of Versus, or Versus should have at least allotted more time for it. They could have done so much more with the broadcast, gotten into more detail. Tim Thomas' Vezina acceptance speech (my favourite moment in the show) was truly touching when you consider what he went through to get to the NHL. But how many people know that?

*I know that the players themselves don't get to keep the original trophies - they get those small replicas - but you don't get those good photo ops where the winners would hold those up. Everyone took their little toy and walked away.

*It was incredible seeing Vlad Konstantinov on stage. He should have helped give out the Norris - but I understand the Russian thing early on. I do wonder what was backstage that distracted him so that Igor had to keep getting his attention.

*While hearing Pavel Datsyuk's broken english is amusing, perhaps it would be better to allow him to do his speech in Russian with a translator - then it wouldn't be so awkward. The bilingual Julien did a nice job covering both bases.

*BOOOOOOOO BETTMAN BOOOOOOOOO. Someone had to do it and apparently the folks who paid $500 a ticket weren't about to. What a loathsome little man.

*Kelly Hrudy had problems reading the prompter and Mark Messier ignored it. Mess ... dude, that was terrible. The Captain looked ready to break into tears (of course) as he reflected upon his career and the cold medicine trophy he was about to give out.

*Did I miss it or did they not announce the first, second and all rookie teams on the broadcast? That should have been part of the ceremony - if it wasn't, that's a shame.

And yes, I think Hank got screwed for Vezina. Sure, he didn't deserve to win - that rightly went to Timmy - but he carried a terrible team into the playoffs. Steve Mason had a better defense in front of him and Nik Backstrom's entire team played defense. Hank had Wade Redden. Ah well, there is always next year ...


Author said...

Scotty I'm a huge NYR fan but there's no way Lundvist was screwed this season. Lundqvist was still great, but it was probably his worst season yet in the NHL. He wasn't even top 10 during the regular season in Save % or GAA. I know that you can have a strong season still, but I'm not buying the theory that Hank deserved a nomination this year.

This is how the voting broke down:

1. Tim Thomas, BOS 127 (22-5-2)
2. Steve Mason, CBJ 33 (3-4-6)
3. Niklas Backstrom, MIN 31 (1-8-2)
4. Roberto Luongo, VAN 30 (2-5-5)
5. Evgeni Nabokov, S.J. 20 (1-4-3)
6. Henrik Lundqvist, NYR 14 (1-1-6)

Canyon of Blueshirts said...

Lundqvist by the numbers didnt have a better season. But the fact is he played for a HORRIBLE team and played so well he carried them into the playoffs. Every night he had to be damn near perfect for them to get a win. He had the most difficult job in the NHL last season. But unfortunately, writers like numbers.

Canyon of Blueshirts said...

One last thing, Konstantinov looked absolutely horrified to be on stage. He was whiter than paper, kind of felt like he never wanted to go up there.

matt sully said...

i was hoping someone else thought this was just a horrible production. JR couldnt pronounce half the words on the teleprompter, let alone see ti clearly. Whoever presented Datsyuk with his first award totally mispronounced his name but not before studdering it 3 times, after calling himself a fan of the game! this was horrbile, it was boring and ther was no sense of celebration or excitement. Chaka Kahn?!?! WTF?!?!? The best thing about this awards show was the opening video montage. The worst is just too debatable as just about every other aspect sucked and made the production feel loose and untied. CHAKA KAHN?!?!?! WTF again?!

Anonymous said...

Only Ranger to get screwed was Betts for no real Selke consideration. The award should be given to the best defensive forward, not necessarily two-way player, and Betts is one of the best defensive forwards.

Author said...

I'm not saying that Lundqvist had much support (he had zero offensive support in front of him!) I know that it's not all about the #'s - but unfortunately if you aren't watching a guy play 82 games, you aren't going to know a whole lot about him other than his numbers. I'm not saying that Lundqvist had a bad season, but he definitely wasn't in consideration for #1 goalie this season in my opinion

The Dark Ranger said...

Come on everyone, Lundqvist shat the bed this year. You sound like a parent showing pictures of his kid, "Isn't he exceptionally cute?"


Schram said...

Lundquvist should have been nominated, but what really ticks me off is that Mmmaaarrrtttyyy won it last year based on name alone.

jamestobrien said...

Thank God Mark Messier doesn't have a full time studio job.

But not to pick on him alone, you could enter 99.99% of ex-players names in the above sentence and be just as accurate. As we saw in that abysmal award show ...

Pete said...

I absolutly agree that Hank should have been a finalist for the Vezina this year. He's been nominated for consideration 4 years in a row, and he had that very interesting milestone of being the first goaltender to win 30+ games in each of his first 4 years (and don't give me any guff about the skills competition...a win is a win).

The truly sad thing is that, had he not missed most of the season, MB30 would have both been nominated and would have won the vezina this year, because of his record breaking...yadda yadda yadda. I wonder if they gave him the award last year because of his ability to battle through the adversity of sleeping with your brother's wife and sucking up the ice for the first half of the season.