The 2012 NHL Awards in Las Vegas was a big night for Evgeni Malkin, Gabriel Landeskog, Erik Karlsson and Henrik Lundqvist. It may not have been the kind of night any of them expected; the night was almost too big for Malkin, who struggled through speeches for the Lindsay and the Hart, Karlsson delivered a half speech, Landeskog’s mother was working her tan and Lundqvist outdid them all by dropping an F bomb.
But all awards aside, the one thing worth watching from this show was Will Arnett as Brendan Shanahan, the Shan-Man. A well-known scene stealer on comedies like 30 Rock and Up All Night, Arnett was hilarious as the hard-edged NHL disciplinarian, taking on infractions and handing out penalties and finally, dropping the puck.
His best on the night, although there were many contenders, was his suspension on LA Kings Stanley Cup champions team captain Dustin Brown for trying to drink water out of the wrong end of the bottle. His punishment was delivered in three equally confusing parts, with alternate water days and finally, a month of juice. Comedy perfection. And the man himself never cracked a smile.
Everyone else’s attempts at humour on the night fell flat. Some of them fell pathetically flat, while others fell spectacularly flat. John Tortorella’s press conferences were good for a few laughs and Bryzgalov’s cosmic perceptions also made an appearance; otherwise, it was sort of painful to watch.
Show format aside, here’s a breakdown of the best of the night other than the Shan-Man kicking ass and handing out sweet justice:
Most deserving: Erik Karlsson for his standout season, Gabriel Landeskog for rookie of the year, Ken Hitchcock for turning the Blues around, Alfredsson with the King Clancy. Considering his breakout season, Malkin may have wanted to work his speeches, but he showed much love to the league. Lots of love for Senators, past and present in this show, with Fisher also nabbing a community award and Gonchar as Geno’s bestie.
Most likely to have been presenting while under the influence (PUI): this is a tie between Matthew Perry and Vince Vaughn.
Most shafted player on the night: Pekka Rinne for getting nominated for the Vezina and the EA Sports 2013 game cover and getting none. Claude Giroux gets the consolation prize of the EA Sports game cover, despite no nominations for actual awards after a great season.
I would like to finish this post with two pleas to the league:
1- Replace Brendan Shanahan with Will Arnett as the Shan-Man. Discipline in the NHL is already a joke, let’s make it funny.
2- Invite a host for the NHL Awards next year that we want to see. My frontrunner? Conan O’Brien. Make it happen Twitter peeps.
About the Author
Written by Mika Oehling
Office worker and sports nerd. Cannot play a professional sport to save my life, but love to write. Prone to rants, raves, snarky humour and caustic commentary. My team's the Ottawa Senators. Author of Armchair Hockey, a work of humourous fiction released this year and available for sale online at Chapters and Amazon.