This year, ladies and gentlemen, we are at the Luxor. We flew to Las Vegas promptly after our picnic yesterday, and awoke promptly for the day's events. Allow us to tell the story. . .
We awaken from an indescribably restful sleep as can only be had in the desert air and hit number 68 on our speed dial--that's Claude Giroux. He is told to report to our suite:
Claude is told to start scouring the city for all varieties of fresh fruit which we have enumerated on a list, filling several scrolls of parchment. He puts his jacket on and begins to take his leave, but as soon as he opens the door, Gary Bettman is standing there. Claude's face goes pallid, his eyes unblinking in fear. He hurries out.
"Girls, I have to talk to you about your awards show," Gary says.
"Oh, really?" We note that he has called us girls.
"Yes, really. I'm afraid that. . .and this is embarrassing, but I have to ask you to reschedule, or else I will have to. . .well, I'll have to find a way to get Evgeni Nabokov to sign with the Red Wings or something, because you have no idea how hard this has been for me."
"Wh-what?" we stammer. We wonder if Claude is going to be able to find fresh clementines.
"Last year your awards show was not at all good for my ratings. And you know how I feel about my ratings." We note the look in his eyes as if remembering a long-lost lover.
"Well we're not married to the idea of having it at the same time or anything. We could probably just rent a room somewhere and have it as a swank sort of after-party, where the men all learn who really deserves the accolades, no? A sort of secret society. Pulling all the strings, holding all the influence. . ." We give him three hard-line stares. He knows this is because he never got our stamp of approval on the Heinz Field Winter Classic thing. He gulps.
"Well, I mean, you are free to recall any awards that you don't think are just. I mean, the hockey media doesn't have to know about it."
"That's right, Gary. Good boy."
"Do you need anything else? I can throw in Darren Helm if you need someone to clean your pool. He's looking for a summer job. And he has a 'no touching women' clause in his contract."
"Sounds good. Give him our numbers. It'd have to be minimum wage."
"He'll be elated. Would you beautiful ladies like to come to the show before your party? I can get you good seats. Next to Mike Green?"
"Okay, okay. Next to Duncan Keith."
We all faint. Gary calls Claude to tell him to bring smelling salts, and heads off to begin the charade.
Claude slices the fruit at the wet bar quietly and delivers Fuji apple to Zoë. He attempts to serve the starfruit to Ann from the Waterford crystal bowl, but she gives him a short *ahem* accompanied by an eyebrow raise. Claude leaves quickly and takes the private elevator down to the ground floor where he then climbs a silk rope up to the turrets which have been renamed turris, to serve her through the window. When he climbs back through the window, he rushes to get over to the sofa, where Kim has snapped her fingers for more apricots.
A phone rings; it's Darren. He wants to know if we'd like a box of His Majesty's Reserve by Gurkha. We tell him absolutely. He arrives by 1:00 to start straightening the apartment. We light up the cigars and smoke them slowly over fruit and pink champagne until dusk falls over the city.
ARRIVAL AT THE AWARDS SHOW
As soon as we get there, we think we see Jay Mohr getting tipsy with some 15-year-old girls but we can't be sure. He is whisked away to a back room by some men with earpieces. We can smell the bourbon on his breath from 100 yards.
After dodging a crowd of Playboy Bunnies we finally find a good spot to watch the arrivals. If we may have a not-at-all brief
(in other words, our judgments and basis of who will win what at the exclusive afterparty)
Somebody has clearly dressed Pavel this year because there's no way he dressed himself. But does he look like a Selke winner? I mean, we can't do anything about the way he's standing. . .but we have to give the Most Improved from Last Year award to Mr. Datsyuk.
We give Ryan Kesler the edge here, because he's an American Hero. American Hero Award, get over there by Ryan.
BUT HOLD THE PHONES I THINK WE KNOW WHO WINS THE SUIT AWARD AND THAT IS YOU JORDAN STAAL!
Next, we make careful scrutiny of the Norris Trophy Nominees. . .
Duncan, are you trying to draw our attention to something? We can't tell but we think you're the Most Seductive. Let's see those new teeth later, k?
We thought Good Charlotte showed up but it was just Mike Green:
We dragged him into a corner, asked him where his tie was, and presented him with a gold-plated award for Puffiest. He burped, popped an aspirin, and mumbled something about being hungover before heading out into The World.
While visiting with Drew Doughty, we asked him why so many people at the NHL Awards were wearing John Varvatos. He shrugged and said all he remembers is a white handkerchief, waking up in a warehouse, and being given a check for $550 and a free bucket of KFC by a masked man. He ate all of the KFC but said the check bounced. We gave him the Most Unsettling Smile Award, which made him lol, and he ran off to talk to Bruckheimer.
Ryan Miller walked in and gave us a look like he was expecting something. We freaked out when we realized we'd given the American Hero award to Ryan Kesler. We told him his wife was really pretty instead. He leered and said he had much higher expectations for us than this, so we gave him a hastily-prepared Best American Hero Ever Award instead. He immediately smirked, got out his Blackberry, and ran off, but we think the name he was about to text was Landon Donovan.
When we saw Ilya again we had no words. We were just stunned.
We embraced him heartily and gave him The Lavender Award. We told him his wife was really pretty, too, and meant it.
Martin Brodeur arrived with a truck full of live pigs.
We did not ask him what they were for.
He refused the Sweatiest Man Alive award we tried to give him.
Tyler Myers, you get the Who the [Belegost] Are You award because you confuse us. We had no idea he even looked like this, but this is probably just our general ignorance to anything that happens in Buffalo that isn't Ryan Miller or missing Y chromosomes. All black is the route of amateurs. Someone tell the kid.
We have a special award for Jimmy Howard. It's the Chris Osgood Memorial Trophy for outstanding contributions to fatness in Detroit.
Most Pretend Seductive was going to be given to Matt Duchene but he said he would prefer something for his little wing-like hair contraptions. We said we'd figure something out.
Martin St. Louis gets the Something in My Pocket Award. . .
We're scared to give him anything else.
Brad Richards showed up on his cell phone and walked right past us. Despite what voting reports you may have read, this is why he didn't win the Lady Byng. We gave him the Shiniest Shoes Award.
For Barry Trotz? Fewest Eyebrows.
For Dave Tippett? Best Stare.
We almost forgot Joe Sacco. We gave him the Thank God You Got More Votes Than Babcock award.
Longest Torso Award. We do not want to spend any more time with a Sedin than we have to. Moving along.
Sasha showed up and almost tripped on the red carpet and then started making out with random people. We gave him the Oh For The Love Of [Belegost]ing Christ Award. He giggled and asked why his variety show with Zhenya was cancelled and we said we'd talk to HBO for him.
Sid showed up, self-conscious about his giant ass as usual. We gave him a Best Junk in the Trunk award. He was all, "How many people did Alex make out with?" and we were like "At least seven," and he was all, "Damn," and shuffled in, an aura of heroism following him dejectedly.
INSIDE AT THE AWARDS
We sit through the awards show uncomfortably, constantly pulling out our cell phones to make sure our private room at the Wynn is reserved and that the various set pieces to the party are being delivered.
Our feelings range from unadulterated horror. . .
to passive confusion:
We really don't pay attention to anything that happens.
AT THE AFTER PARTY
Most important people in the NHL are there. Patrick Kane makes a face akin to this:
and is immediately kicked out.
Everything has gone according the plan. The bar is made of black, lacquered wood and stained glass chandeliers have been acquired and set up from the vaulted ceiling. We're pumping Team Teamwork and Gorillaz through the sound system. Darren is taking his prospective pool boy job very seriously and has a walkie-talkie, coordinating all of the music and lights from a corner with his own personal bottle of José Cuervo, which he has taken with our permission. Ryan Kesler is the bartender. He says it's better than being on the cover of NHL 2K11. The Cirque du Soleil performers are his assistants.
Just before sunrise, we got Helm to put David Bowie's "Cat People (Putting Out Fire)" on the system.
PH Staff climbs on to the bar and politely waits for everyone to quiet down a little.
"Listen, everyone. We just wanted to let you know how proud we are of all of you. You know, 'cause we just run a stupid website and this party doesn't even exist outside of our imaginations." (In the corner, Darren sniffles. Claude shuffles in late with a plate of every variety of grape known to man.) "We just want you to learn the meaning of sharing. If you with the trophies can learn to share them that means we don't have to take them away from anyone. Especially you, Henrik Sedin. You know that Hart is as much Sid's and Alex's as it is yours." Henrik straightens his extremely long tie and lets Sid and Ovie lay hands delicately on the Hart Trophy. We look around the room and see that all of the trophies (yes, even the William Jennings and the Ted Lindsay) have multiple hands on them. It seems that everyone in the NHL is touching an award of some kind. Adam Burish has snuck in and has a pinky finger on Mike Green's Puffiest Award.
"Did this season suck or what?" we continue. Everyone cheers except a few rogue Blackhawks. Toews smirks, then returns to Captain Serious mode.
"Who's ready for next year to make more sense?" we yell. A few people "woo!" at us. We realize our terms were a little broad, but continue bravely anyway:
"We just want you to remember how unexpected life can be. To take some examples from this crop of jailbait. . .If Matt Duchene can blossom like he did in the last year, and if Tavares can fail as spectacularly as nobody expected, then anything is possible. Which means that someday you, Jakub Voracek, will land a Noxema campaign and you, Versteeg, will be the epitome of class. Remember to be who you want to be. Not who the hockey media wants you to be. Brother Steven, can you please take one of your hands off of the Rocket Richard?"
"And Jose, you don't have to cry. We're here for you."
The sun rises. A skylight situated on the east side of the ballroom shows its pale pink blush.
"Have a good summer, boys. You may never be the same again. But maybe that's not such a bad thing."
in other words, congratulations to the night's award winners, and thank you all for coming.
Dustin Byfuglien is now a Thrasher. We loled. Oh how the mighty have fallen.
Draft on Friday.
We're giving the Key to Our Hearts award to the Pittsburgh Penguins. Because we're in love, still, and we can't wait to see them again.