Why the 1997 NHL Awards Show was the Greatest NHL Awards Show Ever

Tomorrow is the 2017 NHL Awards Ceremony in Las Vegas. During the show, the Vegas Golden Knights will also reveal who they selected in the expansion draft. If you haven’t already thought about that, do so now; a show that will heap praise upon the NHL’s best players will also highlight those not good enough to stay on their current teams.  

The NHL Awards have been cringe-worthy in its attempts to be funny for as long as we care to remember– with B-list comics making D-list jokes — while also seemingly trying to pander to non-hockey fans. Adding in expansion draft “revelations” can only make this year’s award show even worse. 

This got me thinking about the 1997 NHL Awards Show, which conveniently took place 20 years ago (people love anniversaries, as do I). The NHL Awards in 1997 tried to be funny, but in a sweet way, and succeeded where current NHL Awards shows do not. The 1997 show was hosted by Ron MacLean, who is serious but has a sense of humor. The 1997 NHL Awards Show had a good mix of celebrities who actually liked hockey as award presenters, jokes that aren’t bad and some humorous segments that introduced the awards nominees. Future rap sensation Drake even made a cameo as a 10-year old boy. 

But the best were these comedy sketches that served as “bumpers” before and after commercial breaks. I dare the NHL to once again at least attempt something as funny as “The Wig Helmet.” Read on, and you’ll soon understand what I mean.  Here is a rundown, with images and video clips, on why the 1997 NHL Awards Show was the best NHL Awards Show — ever!  Continue reading “Why the 1997 NHL Awards Show was the Greatest NHL Awards Show Ever”

Top Ten Hockey Player Pick-Up Lines

Where were you today in 1998?

Me? I was parked in front of my television, excitedly anticipating the start of the hockey games in the 1998 Winter Olympics. This was the first time that the NHL would allow its best players to compete in the Olympic Games, which were held in Nagano, Japan that year. Many Americans, including myself, had high expectations for Team USA, especially considering that they won the World Cup of Hockey tournament in 1996.

But, the Men’s Ice Hockey Team performance — and off-ice conduct — was nothing short of a disaster in those games. (Fortunately, the Women’s Team redeemed the U.S. and won the Gold.) A few hours before their first game, against Sweden on February 13, 1998, David Letterman featured a hockey-themed Top-Ten List.  Below is the transcript, Continue reading “Top Ten Hockey Player Pick-Up Lines”

Ilya Bryzgalov “Mad” Music Video

This is currently my favorite video on YouTube. It combines Ilya Bryzgalov’s famous “Why you have to be mad?” quote with MAGIC!’s  hit singe “Rude.” The visuals are funny, in a bad Photoshop sort of way, and the lyrics make sense if you have followed Bryzgalov’s career the past decade. Continue reading “Ilya Bryzgalov “Mad” Music Video”

What’s That Song in the 2015 NHL All-Star Game Commercial?

If you live in the U.S., chances are you’ve seen the above commercial for the upcoming NHL All-Star Game — probably ten times an hour when watching your favorite team on TV. Visually, it’s a pretty cool commercial, with elite NHL players as celestial bodies in the sky, playing hockey among the stars. But if that tune playing in the ad has started to grow on you after hearing it for the 40th time, you’re probably asking, hey, what’s that generic-sounding alt-rock noise in the background?

Well, I’m glad you asked. Continue reading “What’s That Song in the 2015 NHL All-Star Game Commercial?”

Blackhawks Practice [Video & Photos]

As many of you know, I have been learning how to play hockey for a bit over a year now (and write about that on my “Hockey Noob” blog). This past Saturday, after my “Hockey 102” class was finished, the Chicago Blackhawks took to the ice for their team practice. Funny that, one minute the ice is full of guys who can barely shoot the puck, and then the next minute its full of pros making millions of dollars playing hockey.

I stuck around and shot some video (above, about 2:30). I also took some photos (below), which was tricky due to the glare from the glass — and the fact that the players move so darned fast. Continue reading “Blackhawks Practice [Video & Photos]”

Andrew Shaw Pretty Darn Funny in Local Car Commercials

Blackhawks fans have been seeing a lot of Andrew Shaw lately. Not just as a regular in the ‘Hawks lineup, but in quite a few commercials that air during the games, too. Shaw seems to be doing a pretty good job as a pitchman. There’s his bit part in the BMO Harris Bank Commercial (“His name is Steve!“) from earlier this year. Shaw is now starring in commercials for local car dealer Bill Kaye Chevrolet.

Shaw sounds natural when delivering his lines in the 30-second commercial. None of that typical robotic reading of the cue cards stuff that we get from most athletes. The best part is when he nonchalantly skates off, saying “Gotta go,” after smashing a hapless employee into the glass.

In another spot, the sum total of Shaw’s acting is making angry eyes while slurping some (we presume) coffee. But it works.

Shaw seems so relaxed in front of the camera that it is easy to picture him going into broadcasting when he retires — most likely as a studio analyst like Jamie McClennan or P.J. Stock. We know Shaw would always have something to say.

Roenick appeared in “Go On” this week

Matthew Perry and Jeremy Roenick
Former NHL superstar Jeremy Roenick (right) made a guest appearance on the TV show “Go On” earlier this week. (NBC/Universal)

Jeremy Roenick, one of my favorite former Blackhawks’ players, had a small guest role on the new TV show “Go On” this past Tuesday. The sitcom is about a smug sports radio show host named Ryan King, played by Matthew Perry. However, King lost his wife and is attending group therapy sessions to cope. (Yes, this is a comedy.)

In this week’s episode, King is invited to play in Jeremy Roenick’s weekly pickup hockey game. I won’t tell you anything else about the episode because you might want to watch it online. However, I will spoil the best line:

“Yo, Roenick! Get back on ‘D,’ princess!”

As a longtime hockey fan, it is awesome to see a hockey player–one of my heroes, no less–appear on a TV show. Whenever an athlete guest stars on a show in the U.S., it is always a baseball, football or basketball player. Nice that hockey is finally starting to get its due here south of the border.

If you want to see the episode, you can watch it at NBC’s website.

Did anyone else see this week’s episode of “Go On?” What did you think of it and/or Roenick’s acting?

Video: Autograph Pull & Autograph Trade

I participated quite a bit in Upper Deck’s wrapper redemption program at The National.

In my very first redemption pack, I pulled an autograph. Upper Deck had a camera going and recorded my lucky pull:

Fortunately, I was able to trade the Sandberg autograph for an autograph of a promising young hockey player:

Who says people don’t trade trading cards anymore? I made several successful card trades at The National. Still, trading is the exception and not the rule.

Videos courtesy of Upper Deck.