blank'/> THE PUCK REPORT: Hart and Bynging In Las Vegas

Friday, June 19, 2009

Hart and Bynging In Las Vegas

Say what you will of teams in the Sun Belt, the NHL Awards have found a new home in Sin City. Boasting what can only be described as a fan fantasy bonanza, the move is a welcome addition to the NHL schedule.

Better known for their silky hands than silver tongues, the greats of the game limped through the scripted program at the Palms offering more gaffes than grace. From Kirk Muller's Elmer Fudd Tricia Helfer intoxication (here at 7:36) to Ethan Moreau's crossed legged crotch squeeze (here at 7:25) and Roenick's flub of the Fan Fav (here at 8:14), polished it was not.

These missteps, however, were matched with moving moments from Tim Thomas (here at 6:58), Zdeno Chara (here at 4:50), and Steve Sullivan (here at 3:25), and comic relief care of the NHL (here at 3:16) and OV (here at 7:07).

Was Chaka Khan out of place on this stage? Yes. Were some of the presenters sleep deprived, hungover, and perhaps drunk? Yes. Did it matter? No. The magic of the awards in Vegas belonged to the hours outside of the 90 minute telecast, offering unprecedented access to the players at poker tables, the pool, and post-party.

Whether bold, blind, or both, the NHL deserves credit for skating into the 100 degree heat of the Mojave. The telecast needs help regardless of location. Banning Roenick, hooking the presenters on Phonics, and handing over the hosting to Michael Buble would be a start. The parts before and after, however, were perfect.

Desert doubters ought to book a ticket to the awards next year and experience it firsthand. You won't be disappointed.