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Kukla's Korner Hockey

Congratulations, you won an NHL Award, please move along…

I have no problem with the fact that the NHL chose to omit Nickelback, Jay Mohr, Ron MacLean and terrible monologues and montages from their annual awards show...

But omitting it altogether was weird and then some, and, as Sportsnet's Chris Johnston suggests, the award-winners received the same kind of attention Milton did in Office Space--earning the opportunity to fly into Chicago and attend another team's Stanley Cup Final game (Ovechkin didn't need to fly from Moscow to Chicago for an acceptance speech), and then take part in a conference call whose highlight was Sergei Bobrovsky offering a, "We'll see" to a KHL question--that was worse than having to listen to Ron MacLean try to be funny.

The worst part? Well, like an office birthday party, the surprise factor was gone from the equation:

The players were also robbed of the surprise a winner would normally experience when his name is announced at the awards show in Las Vegas. Instead, they were each told about a week ago by team representatives — Huberdeau got a call from Panthers general manager Dale Tallon while Subban heard from Habs director of public relations Dominick Saillant.

That helps explain why the identity of each winner made its way into leaked media reports, which is something rarely seen in the NHL.

Subban’s trophy win was reported by Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos before the Stanley Cup final even started. The defenceman admitted that it was tough to have to wait a week before receiving his award.

“Obviously, I shared it with my parents,” said Subban. “It was a tough thing to have to keep that to yourself and not tell anybody. It was really tough to do that, but at the end of the day I was extremely excited. I didn’t believe it — the whole time I’m thinking `is this like a trick that’s being played on me?”‘

The NHL should be commended for the decision four years ago to start taking the awards show to Las Vegas each June. Players and sponsors seem to love it and the winner of each trophy gets to cap off a special night by taking a turn in the media spotlight.

A number of those interviews have been full of emotion and excitement in recent years.

With only a handful of reporters standing around Huberdeau, Subban and Bobrovsky during the first intermission of Saturday night’s game, it was tough to ignore the difference between their experience and that of someone in their shoes in a normal year.

Johnston continues with more player quips and quotes, including an intriguing take on watching Boston play from Subban.

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About Kukla's Korner Hockey

Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

Email Paul anytime at pk@kuklaskorner.com