The Stanley Cup took a brief hiatus from all things Blackhawk to visit Las Vegas for the NHL Awards on Wednesday, June 23. Joined by its sibling trophies, all of the merit awards arrived at the Pearl Theater at the Palms Hotel for a night of celebrating all that was great about the 2009-10 season.
|Outside – Coach Joel Quennville, Patrick Sharp, Jonanthan Toews, Duncan Keith and Patrick Kane pose with the Stanley Cup prior to the 2010 NHL Awards. (Getty Images)
The glitzy awards show began with Snoop Dogg spitting out rhymes, joined by Blink 182 drummer Travis Barker. Snoop is a big fan of the game, and while seemingly a fan of the Thrashers and the Ducks, is one of the rappers to popularize the wearing of hockey jerseys while performing.
The host of this year's NHL Awards was comedian Jay Mohr, a featured performer on 'Saturday Night Live' in the mid-nineties and an actor with credits that include the film 'Jerry Maguire' and the television show, 'Ghost Whisperer.' Mohr introduced Mark Wahlberg to present the first award of the evening.
Matt Duchene of the Colorado Avalanche, Jimmy Howard of the Detroit Red Wings and the Buffalo Sabres' Tyler Myers were the nominees for the Calder Memorial Trophy as the NHL's rookie of the year. Twenty-year-old Tyler Myers, a native of Katy, Texas who grew up in Calgary, Alberta from the age of ten, Myers was steady as a rock on the Sabres' blueline. The 6'8" goliath scored 11 goals and 37 assists playing in all 82 games for Buffalo.
Hall of Fame Honoured Member Luc Robitaille was joined by Gemini Award-winning Natasha Henstridge, a Newfoundland native, in presenting the Frank J. Selke Memorial Award. Pavel Datsyuk of the Red Wings edged Ryan Kessler of the Vancouver Canucks and the Pittsburgh Penguins' Jordan Staal for the trophy that honours the league's best defensive forward. The hard-working Datsyuk, born in Sverdlovsk, Russia, took the honour for a third straight season, scoring 27 times, assisting on 43 others and being equally responsible at the other end of the rink.
Henrik Sedin, the Vancouver Canucks' star, won the Art Ross Trophy as the NHL's leading scorer. Using 29 goals and 83 assists to compile his league-best 112 points, Sedin's total is 30 better than his previous best total in the NHL.
Cirque du Soleil performers twisted and turned like Alex Ovechkin on a good day as they entertained to a medley from The Beatles 'Love' album, a remix of many of their monstrous hits. Then, CBC's Ron MacLean was joined by the legendary Ted Lindsay to present the inaugural winner of the Ted Lindsay Award. This trophy, renamed and recreated from the Lester B. Pearson Award, goes to the NHL's best player, as selected by the players themselves. The NHLPA picked Ovechkin, who dedicated the award to his deceased brother, Sergei. The older brother died in a car accident when Alex was ten years old.
|Toews – Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews carries hockey’s ultimate prize into the 2010 NHL Awards. (Getty Images)
The Maurice 'Rocket' Richard Award was shared by Sidney Crosby of the Penguins and Steven Stamkos of Tampa Bay's Lightning, both of whom tallied 51 times. Stamkos, just 20-years-old, completed just his second NHL season, while Crosby, 23 years of age, is a veteran of five NHL campaigns.
Joe Sacco of the Colorado Avalanche, Dave Tippett of the Phoenix Coyotes and Barry Trotz, head coach of the Nashville Predators, were nominated for the NHL's coach of the year honours. John Slattery of 'Mad Men' presented the Jack Adams Award to Tippett, who guided the Coyotes through treacherous waters into their first post-season activity since 2002. The Moosomin, Saskatchewan native, a former NHL player, took over the Coyotes' reins from Wayne Gretzky and guided the team to its first 50-win season in franchise history. And all of that was accomplished through the uncertainty of whether the team would continue to exist in the Arizona desert.
Jamie Kennedy of 'The Jamie Kennedy Experiment' was joined by D.B. Sweeney, Dish Boggett in 'Lonesome Dove' and 'Shoeless' Joe Jackson in the film, 'Eight Men Out.' The two announced the nominees for the Vezina Trophy for the NHL's best netminder as Martin Brodeur of the New Jersey Devils, Ilya Bryzgalov of the Coyotes and the Buffalo Sabres' sensational Ryan Miller. Miller collected the Vezina, having backstopped the Sabres with 41 wins, 18 losses and 8 ties in 69 appearances, with 5 shutouts, a goals-against average of 2.22 and a spectacular save percentage of .929.
The goaltending theme was maintained with Martin Brodeur claiming the William Jennings Trophy for the fewest goals-against during the 2009-10 season. Allowing just 168 goals earned Brodeur the trophy for the fifth time, tying him for most all-time with Patrick Roy. The Devils' star won the honour in 1997, 1998, 2003, 2004 and 2010.
Shinedown, the hard-rocking Florida band, performed 'Sound of Madness' from their album of the same name. Then, Michael Rosenbaum, best known for his role in 'Smallville,' stepped up to announce the nominees for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy. The Lightning's Kurtis Foster, Jed Ortmeyer of the Sharks and Washington goaltender Jose Theodore were the finalists, with Theodore named as the 2010 recipient for dedication and perseverance. Theodore's two-month-old son, Chace, died of a respiratory ailment after being born prematurely on June 22, 2009, a year plus a day prior to the award ceremony. The emotional netminder created a charity called 'Saves For Kids' that benefits the neo-natal intensive care unit at Washington's Children's National Medical Center, where Chace lost his life. Jose pledged dollars for each win, save and shutout made during the season to the charity.
TV and film producer, Jerry Bruckheimer, along with a stage-full of United States Army personnel, presented the King Clancy Memorial Trophy to Phoenix's captain, Shane Doan for his leadership skills on and off the ice. Besides his community involvement, including organizations dedicated to his faith, Doan rallied the players and fans around hockey in Phoenix when the franchise looked certain to be headed to another location.
|Inside – Members of the Blackhawks show off the Stanley Cup at the 2010 NHL Awards. (Getty Images)
An awards show wouldn't be complete without the grandest trophy of them all. The Stanley Cup, first presented in 1893, arrived with several of the Blackhawks, including coach Joel Quenneville and stars Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Duncan Keith. Every player in the building eyed Lord Stanley's legacy, hoping that next year at this time it would be them who'd be carrying the Cup onto the stage.
Kevin Zegers, one of the stars of 'Transamerica,' and Leven Rambin of 'Grey's Anatomy,' then read the names of those players up for the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy for the NHL's most gentlemanly player. Detroit's Pavel Datsyuk, Brad Richards of Dallas And Martin St. Louis of the Tampa Bay Lightning each had his fingers crossed, but it was St. Louis who carried the trophy away from the stage. Reading his notes from his Blackberry, Martin collected 94 points this season, and earned just 12 penalty minutes through the 82-game season.
Sidney Crosby, the captain of the Penguins, cited Steve Yzerman as An influence after receiving the Bridgestone Mark Messier NHL Leadership Award from Messier himself.
Former Chicago teammates, Ed Olczyk and Jeremy Roenick, announced that Duncan Keith of the Blackhawks had won the James Norris Memorial Trophy as the league's best defencemen, beating Drew Doughty of Los Angeles and Mike Green of the Capitals. The Winnipeg native, who completed his fifth season in Chicago, played huge minutes in all 82 games, and scored 14 goals and 55 assists for 69 points as he starred on the Blackhawks' blueline.
The NHL Foundation Player Award is awarded annually to the player who applies the core values of hockey -- commitment, perseverance and teamwork -- to enrich the lives of people in his community. The winner, Ryan Miller of the Sabres, was given $25,000 for his charity, The Steadfast Foundation, a social enterprise that supports children afflicted with cancer. Miller dedicated himself to the cause after losing his cousin Matt to leukemia.
The GooGoo Dolls, like Ryan Miller, the pride of Buffalo, performed the final musical selection of the evening. Best known for 'Iris' and 'Slide,' The GooGoo Dolls, who have had 17 top ten hits, performed 'Home' from the album, 'Something for the Rest of Us.'
The final award of the night, and arguably the biggest, was the Hart Memorial Trophy, awarded to the most valuable player in the National Hockey League during the 2009-10 season. Hall of Fame winger Guy Lafleur announced the finalists as Sidney Crosby, Alexander Ovechkin and Henrik Sedin. All worthy nominees, the Hart went to Sedin of the Vancouver Canucks. Genuinely surprised, 30-year-old Sedin (older than his Canucks' linemate and twin, Daniel, by six minutes) was the NHL's scoring champion and a prime reason why Vancouver finished with 103 points, good for first place in the Northwest Division.
A sterling evening with sparkling hardware and a cast of hundreds, the stars of the evening will be integral parts of the NHL landscape for years to come…just like the Stanley Cup!
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On Tuesday, get back here to the Stanley Cup Journal as we take you behind the scenes at the NHL Entry Draft.
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