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Game One

by Jan Synder
April 9th, 2007

I sat down in front of the TV promptly at 6:00 p.m. Central Time to watch the NHL Awards show (the equivalent of the Oscars to me) on Versus.  No awards show – some extreme fighting thing.  I thought maybe I had the time wrong, so I waited until 6:30 p.m.  Next show on Versus – more of the same extreme fighting!  Now I start randoming searching the dial.  I knew I had the date right.  No sign of the show anywhere.  I called DirecTV – they were not helpful at all, after a prolonged wait.  Then I called Information asking for a phone number for Versus.  “No such listing”, I was told.  How about VS?  Nope.  Well, how about OLN – Outdoor Life Network, which is what the channel was called before they changed it.  “Here’s your number,” the operator said.  The number turned out to be a Comcast voicemail telling me to call back during regular business hours!   

By now, I was very agitated.  I called my daughter in Pittsburgh.  She had just been on hold with Versus (the Pittsburgh operator found the number!) but gave up after a long wait.  While we were talking, a crawl appeared at the bottom of the TV – The NHL Awards Show will be shown at 11:00 p.m. Eastern Time.  No explanation as to why or what happened and the announcement didn’t even stay on very long.  Anyone surfing channels would have easily missed it. 

H3 Awards Tribute

I was still fuming, but went ahead with other things and came back to Versus at the appointed time only to find – BOXING!!  The good news was the fight was in the 10th round.  At approximately 10 minutes after the hour, the NHL Awards Show suddenly appeared.  Today the blame seemed to be placed on the CBC satellite out of Toronto – my guess is Versus dropped the ball, or this case, the puck yet again!  How infuriating to fans in the U.S.  Anyway, once the show started, I tried to calm down and enjoy it – even though it was past my bedtime and I had to get up for work in the morning. 

The program is always an enjoyable mix of hockey, music and Ron MacLean, with nice touches of former players and/or legends showing up as well.  Not to mention Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who presented Crosby with the Pearson Award, the MVP trophy voted on by his peers.  Speaking of legends, Gordie Howe presented Crosby with the Hart Trophy, MVP of the league and had glowing words to say about the young man in the process.  Crosby dominated the voting, collecting 1,225 points and 91 of 143 first-place votes for the Hart.  A distant second was Luongo with 801 points and 25 first-place votes and Brodeur with 763 and 21 first-place votes.  All this from a guy who isn’t even 20 years old yet. 

What an underachiever I was! 

When I was 19: 

  • I lived with my parents
  • I had a job
  • I was very shy around strangers
  • The farthest I’d been from my home in Pittsburgh was Niagara Falls
  • The only trophy I’d earned was a certificate because I could type 120 words a minute.

When Sidney Crosby was 19: 

  • He lived with his “boss” and idol, Mario Lemieux and his family
  • He had a job, where he quickly earned a promotion to Captain
  • He had the presence of a 30-year-old with the media
  • He had traveled all over the world to play hockey
  • He had won the Art Ross Trophy, the Lester Pearson Award, and the Hart Trophy, among many, many others individual accolades

What an overachiever He is! 

Rookie Evgeni Malkin, Crosby’s teammate, took the Calder Trophy as Rookie of the Year, but was not in attendance.  The award was accepted for him by his Coach, Michel Theirren, who lost out on the Jack Adams trophy to Alain Vigneault, a worthy recipient.  

The Norris Trophy was a tough decision, but I think the correct choice was made when Nicklas Lidstrom’s name was called.  He doesn’t have the size of Pronger or Niedermayer, but he plays with finesse and makes his job look incredibly easy. 

Nice to see Phil Kessel’s parents reaction to his Masterton award.  I’m sure they are feeling lucky just to still have him healthy. 

One of my favorite moments was when MacLean asked some questions of Crosby, ala a beauty pageant!  Fortunately, the big winner of the evening came off literately and complimentary of everyone else.  His dad couldn’t stop the tears either as he saw his son pick up the Hart Trophy

But the very best was Ron MacLean joking about cutting away for a horserace, not realizing that a whole country was watching on a four hour broadcast delay!!  He was of course referring to NBC cutting away before the overtime started in the Buffalo/Ottawa series last month.  Canada Versus the US – this has GOT to change! 

Ultimately, I enjoyed the show very much even on a tape-delay basis.  Congratulations and thanks to all the winners and nominees who provided us with such a great season of thrills!

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