by Mike Chen on 06/19/09 at 02:35 PM ET
How does the old saying go? You can put lipstick on a pig (or an Iowa Chop) but it’s still a pig? Yeah, something like that.
For a more appropriate version of that, you can put Carrie Milbank on the NHL Awards Show but it’s still the NHL Awards Show.
The very strange thing about this year’s Las Vegas not-so-spectacular is that I found the run-up to it to be fairly entertaining. From the outdoor skating with Alexander Ovechkin to the pretty amusing red carpet interviews with the lovely Carrie Milbank, it seemed like just about all of the players were in a relaxed, goofy mood and willing to joke around. One of the best things I heard out of Vegas was Patrick Kane and Kris Versteeg on the NHL Hour, where Kane told the story of how he wasn’t allowed near the gambling tables because of his age.
Then came the actual Awards Show.
I suppose that I should preface this by saying that I didn’t watch the whole thing. I lasted about 10 minutes before it just got too painful to bear; after that, it was just occasional tune-ins to see who won. Ok, I understand when the Barenaked Ladies and Tragically Hip make their regular appearances at these things like they’ve done for umpteen years, but Chaka Khan? Who booked that one and what was the logic behind that? Unless she’s married to some third-line checker from the 1980s, that’s a little bit of stretching.
And it all went downhill from there. Or, as Luc Robitaille might have said, “It…all…went…down…hill…from…uh…there (uncomfortable laugh).”
Look, these guys aren’t actors and we shouldn’t expect them to be, so please stop throwing them in these awfully scripted teleprompter moments. I can accept Steve Mason rattling off all the people to thank in a monotone fashion because I’m sure he’s got a list that he’s trying very hard to check off. But when we have to watch two professional athletes try to make teleprompter reading sound natural, well, it almost rivals The Office in terms of uncomfortable silence.
As for my man Jeremy Roenick, he of several movie cameos and guest TV appearances? JR, I love you, but you’re not ready for live TV yet. At least when Wayne Gretzky hosted Saturday Night Live, he had the whole SNL cast to catch him as he fell.
So the final verdict? Vegas good, Awards Show bad (or as bad as it ever was). Keep it in Vegas for the shenanigans around the show, but the regular pomp and circumstance remains too painful to watch. I’m all for the NHL Awards at the hotel pool after everyone in attendance has had a few margaritas (including Carrie Milbank). Now that would be entertaining.
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