Hockey Hall of Fame - Stanley Cup Journals: 05

While the Motor City was dancing in the streets, the Stanley Cup, along with a couple of its celebrants, flew out to Southern California on Tuesday, June 10. There was little time to enjoy the sights, as it was straight from LAX to the NBC Studios in beautiful downtown Burbank, California where 'The Tonight Show with Jay Leno' is taped before a live, studio audience.

'The Tonight Show with Jay Leno' has been an annual stop on the Stanley Cup's whirlwind summer tours, and Jay is only too pleased to welcome back hockey's magnificent trophy.

Shortly after Leno's monologue, the show featured a skit titled, 'The Audience Wants to Know.' A guest from the audience stepped up to the microphone and asked Jay, "I know you've got Justin Timberlake on the show tonight. In his new movie, 'The Love Guru', he plays a hockey player. Who taught him to play hockey?"

Chris Osgood (left), Verne Troyer (centre) and Nicklas Lidstrom (right) gather with Stanley backstage at the Last Call with Carson Daly show. (Bill Wellman/HHOF)
Leno, with his smirk, replied, "It's so funny that you should ask that question, because we have those guys here tonight." After a pregnant pause, Jay continued, "From the Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings, Nicklas Lidstrom and Chris Osgood! Come on out, boys."

Out marched Osgood and Lidstrom, both wearing their Red Wings' jerseys, with the Stanley Cup. The audience went wild, but no moreso than two members who freaked out so noticeably that Leno picked them out of the crowd and asked, "Are you guys from Detroit?" Sure enough, they were, and both were invited up on the 'Tonight Show' stage to see the Cup up close and personal with two of their heroes.

After being seated for a brief interview, Jay asked the boys if they ever get tired of winning the Stanley Cup. "It never gets old," beamed Osgood. "It was a big thrill not only for Nick and I, but for the City of Detroit. It really lifted the spirit of the area."

When asked if Justin Timberlake taught the Wings any of his moves, Lidstrom hoisted the Cup into the air and said, "Hit it!," and Kevin Eubanks, the leader of 'The Tonight Show' band fell into the groove of Timberlake's smash, 'SexyBack'. But instead of singing, "We're bringing sexy back," the boys chanted, "We're bringing Stanley back." The audience ate it up with a spoon!

Timberlake himself appeared on the show, as did Karen Allen, who co-stars in 'Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull' and rocker Sheryl Crow, who performed 'Out of My Head' from her new CD, 'Detours'. By the way, Mike Myers, star of 'The Love Guru', was on 'The Tonight Show with Jay Leno on Thursday, June 12.

Immediately afterwards, Lidstrom, Osgood and the Stanley Cup walked over to the studio where 'Last Call with Carson Daly' is taped, just a couple of blocks away. Daly's guests, besides the pair of Wings, were rockers P.O.D., who performed 'Tell Me Why' from their new CD, 'When Angels and Serpents Dance', and Verne Troyer, who also stars in 'The Love Guru'.

Troyer, a long-time friend of Mike Myers after starring as Mini-Me in the 'Austin Powers' films, is a huge Red Wings fan. Verne was born in Sturgis, Michigan, located on the Indiana border just less than three hours from Detroit. He grew up in nearby Centreville and later attended college in Coldwater, about two hours from Hockeytown. Verne plays Coach Cherkov in 'The Love Guru'.

Although the show was taped on Wednesday, it was broadcast on Thursday, June 12.

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Augie Nieto, founder of Life Fitness, is handed the Stanley Cup by Chris Osgood. (Bill Wellman/HHOF)

If you meet Augie Nieto, you can't help but walk away impressed and motivated. Augie was the founder of Life Fitness, but in March 2005, was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig's disease.

Augie and his wife Lynne have made it their life's work to raise awareness and funding for research into ALS. The Nietos are co-chairs of the the ALS division of the Muscular Dystrophy Association. To date, 'Augie's Quest' has raised over $15 million towards research into finding a cure for ALS.

While writing his second book, 'Reciprocity Incorporated', Augie Nieto interviewed Wings owner Mike Ilitch about being a highly successful entrepreneur who finds it important to give back to his community. In short order, Nieto and Ilitch became great friends, so much so in fact, that Mr. Ilitch donated $250,000 to 'Augie's Quest' and promised that, if his Red Wings won the Stanley Cup, he'd have the championship trophy brought to the Nietos' Southern California home.

The Stanley Cup, along with Chris Osgood, arrived at the Nieto residence in Corona Del Mar. An assistant to Augie suggested, "You've got a big, heavy case there. You should use the lift to get up to where Augie is." Unfortunately, once the Stanley Cup and its case, Chris Osgood and a few other people got into the lift, it got stuck, and it was almost ten minutes before the doors could be pried open. No harm done, the Stanley Cup delegation poured out and proceeded to take the stairs up to visit Augie.

Augie spent time examining Lord Stanley's Cup, and although his once formidable strength now eludes him, the Cup was placed on his lap, bringing a magnificent and emotional smile to his face. ALS has caused his speech to be slurred, and at times, difficult to understand, but after briefly talking hockey with Chris Osgood, he left those in attendance with a thought: "What I learned later in my career is that it is not the quantity but the quality of time you spend that matters." 'Augie's Quest' can be visited at

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The Stanley Cup, brought by Chris Osgood, then dropped in at the California studio of the 'Jim Rome is Burning' show. Rome, a highly-opinionated and much-loved sports media mogul, is on ESPN every weekday afternoon at 4:30 Eastern Time, and he had a great interview with Osgood.

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Red Wings' netminder Chris Osgood hoists the Cup at the worldwide premiere of 'The Love Guru'. (Bill Wellman/HHOF)
Back at the hotel, preparing for the worldwide premiere of 'The Love Guru', the Red Wings netminder realized he had forgotten his shoes and ran out to buy a new pair. Thank goodness breaking in shoes for Chris is not like breaking in skates or pads, or else they'd still be in Los Angeles in August!

At 6 pm, Osgood and the Stanley Cup arrived at Grauman's Chinese Theater in Hollywood, ready to walk the red carpet with the cast of Mike Myers' new film. But this time, the red carpet was actually blue, honouring Myers' favoured Toronto Maple Leafs, who are featured in this flick with sticks.

With television cameras jostling for position, and photographers, both official and those with camera phones lining the carpet, fans saw Myers and other stars of the film, including Justin Timberlake, Romany Malco, Verne Troyer, Meagan Good, Omid Djalili and Telma Hopkins (who, once upon a time, 'Tied a Yellow Ribbon' as one of the singers in Tony Orlando and Dawn). Jessica Alba, who also stars in the film, sent her loving regrets, but having given birth to Baby Honor on June 7, was unable to attend. Others joining the stars of 'The Love Guru' on the blue carpet were Joanna Garcia, Mariska Hargitay and Tila Tequila, along with Chris Osgood and the Stanley Cup. Several other NHL stars also dropped by. Sean O'Donnell and George Perras of the Anaheim Ducks showed up to support their friend Rob Blake, who appeared in 'The Love Guru'. Retired star Luc Robitaille, who also has a small role in the film, also appeared on the blue carpet.

Because of the media hordes, it took almost 50 minutes to enter the theatre. The Stanley Cup was displayed in the lobby so that guests at the premiere could have their pictures taken with Lord Stanley's legacy. At 7:45, the Cup was taken from its display, filled with popcorn ("hold the golden topping, if you don't mind") and placed on a seat beside Osgood about twelve rows back from the screen. Even in the darkness, with a dancing hotdog on the screen and a disembodied voice urging guests to turn off their cellphones, a flurry of photos were taken of the chalice in the Hollywood film palace.

'The Love Guru', a Paramount Picture, features Mike Myers as Pitka, an American who, as a child, was left at the gates of an ashram in India and was raised by gurus. He moves back to the States to seek fame and fortune in the self-help and spirituality worlds. His unorthodox methods are tested when Darren Roanoke of the Toronto Maple Leafs (played by Malco) discovers his estranged wife (Good) has begun dating Jacques Grande of the Los Angeles Kings (played by Timberlake) out of revenge. As a result, Roanoke's play suffers badly, much to the concern of the Leafs' coach, Cherkov (Troyer) and team owner Jane Bullard (Jessica Alba). Pitka, the love guru, attempts to return the Roanokes to marital bliss, and in the process, allow the Maple Leafs to break the 40-year-old Bullard Curse that has prevented them from winning the Stanley Cup.

Osgood enjoys a handful of popcorn at the premiere of 'The Love Guru'. (Bill Wellman/HHOF)
"I love the game of hockey," Myers told reporters. "It's given me so much. My fantasy, of course, is that the actual Stanley Cup is won by the Maple Leafs and I will get a chance to hold it." Following the superstition that hoisting the Cup is reserved for those that win it, Myers added, "I shall not touch that celebrated trophy until it is (won by) the Maple Leafs. I don't even look at it; I ignore it!"

'The Love Guru' will make its public debut on Friday, June 20.

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Although there was a celebrity-laden after-party for 'The Love Guru' on Wednesday night, the Stanley Cup was not in attendance and Chris Osgood made but a brief appearance, leaving early so he could take the 'red eye' home to Detroit.

The Stanley Cup was flown back to Toronto on the morning of Thursday, June 12 so it could be at the NHL Awards that night.

The televised show began with Nicklas Lidstrom carrying the Stanley Cup along the red carpet, joined by fellow 2008 victors Mike Babcock, Scotty Bowman, Pavel Datsyuk, Dominik Hasek and Henrik Zetterberg. They were greeted at the entrance to Toronto's Elgin Theatre by CBC's Ron MacLean, who co-hosted the NHL Awards with broadcaster Craig Simpson.

Inside, 'Stompin Tom' Connors kissed the Stanley Cup after beginning the show with his anthemic 'The Hockey Song'.

Bill Wellman, one of the Keepers of the Cup rubs shoulders with long-time Maple Leafs fan Mike Myers. (Bill Wellman/HHOF)
The Stanley Cup champion Red Wings enjoyed an outstanding evening. They, of course, had already won the Presidents' Trophy for finishing first overall during the regular season, the Clarence S. Campbell Bowl for winning the West Division and, the greatest trophy of all, the Stanley Cup. In addition, goaltending partners Dominik Hasek and Chris Osgood won the William Jennings Trophy for having the lowest team goals-against average during the regular season. Henrik Zetterberg had already been awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as the playoff MVP. But on Thursday, Pavel Datsyuk was the recipient of the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy, awarded to the player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability. He also won the Frank J. Selke Trophy, which recognizes the forward who best excels in the defensive aspects of the game. Pavel busted up the crowd, saying, "I want my speech longer but my English short."

The James Norris Memorial Trophy is presented annually to the defenceman who demonstrates the greatest all-around ability in his position, and for a sixth time, was handed to Detroit's Nicklas Lidstrom. The quanity of Norris wins puts the Wings captain in a pantheon of the greatest defencemen ever - only Bobby Orr (8) and Doug Harvey (7) have won the trophy more often.

The Jack Adams Award, named after the longtime Red Wings coach and GM, was given to astonished Bruce Boudreau of the Washington Capitals. Detroit's greatest star, Gordie Howe, was presented with the NHL's Lifetime Achievement Award.

The Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, presented to the NHL player who exhibits dedication and perseverance, was given to Jason Blake of the Toronto Maple Leafs. The King Clancy Memorial Trophy, awarded to the player who best exemplifies leadership qualities on and off the ice and has made a noteworthy humanitarian contribution in his community, went to Vincent Lecavalier of Tampa's Lightning.

The Calder Memorial Trophy is awarded to the National Hockey League player judged to be the most proficient in his first season, and in 2007-08, that player was Patrick Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks. In his acceptance speech, Kane explained that the most difficult part of his inaugural NHL season was keeping his 25 teammates away from his three beautiful, young sisters!

Martin Brodeur was recipient of the Vezina Trophy, an award for the goaltender judged to be the best at his position.

And the rest of the hardware was hauled home by sensational Alexander Ovechkin. The Capitals sniper won the Maurice 'Rocket' Richard Trophy, presented to the goal-scoring leader during the regular season, and the Art Ross Trophy as the league's scoring champion. But in addition, he was awarded the NHL's two most prestigious individual merit trophies: the Hart Memorial Trophy, presented to the most valuable player in the National Hockey League during the regular season as voted by the members of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association, and the Lester B. Pearson Award, presented to the 'most outstanding player' in the NHL as voted by fellow members of the National Hockey League Players' Association. Humbly, Ovechkin, who admitted to being nervous, credited his teammates, coaches and team ownership for his extraordinary season.

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The Stanley Cup will visit the Little Caesar's Minor Hockey Association in Detroit on Saturday, and we'll tell you all about it when we meet back here on Tuesday.

Kevin Shea is the Editor of Publications and Online Features for the Hockey Hall of Fame.

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