There comes a time each year when the best and worst of the NHL is on display, from its quirky personalities to its self-aware mockery to its godawful taste in music. And tonight is that night: Get excited for the NHL Awards, live from Las Vegas! (The players certainly are: Earlier this week, Henrik Lundqvist "hosted" a party at one nightclub that featured both incredibly phallic glow sticks and Paul Bissonnette dancing on a raised platform, and I spotted several other NHLers still going strong in the Wynn casino when I finally went to bed at 3 a.m., hundreds of dollars poorer and having been utterly humiliated by my dice-throwing skills.)
It's hard to accurately sum up such a simultaneously glorious and painful event as the NHL Awards, though in the coming days I will most certainly try, but I think this actual paragraph from an official league press release nicely encapsulates the absurdity:
Diane Kruger (“Inglourious Basterds,” “Farewell, My Queen”) attending the Awards with Joshua Jackson, and the Flyers’ Claude Giroux, who, along with [Pekka] Rinne, is a finalist in the EA SPORTS NHL® 13 Cover Vote, are also expected to walk the red carpet.
LOL, WHAT? I seriously could not love the NHL more.
In order to entice you to watch the damn thing, here's a drinking game to enhance your viewing experience. Feel free to suggest additional categories in the comments!
Take One Sip Any/Every Time
- Someone makes a wink-wink-nudge-nudge reference to the L.A. Kings doing unspeakable things with/to the Stanley Cup.
- Geno Malkin's parents are shown or discussed.
- Pierre McGuire close-talks a player and/or tells him to "just go have fun out there."
- Pekka Rinne is referred to as "the 6-foot-5 Pekka Rinne."
- The camera lingers on Lundqvist. (Just kidding — if you do this you'll be dead.)
- Kevin Smith feels the need to remind us that he is the movie industry's biggest hockey fan.
- There is an awkward half-hug onstage.
- Someone is wearing a taupe suit.
RonPaul MacLean's majestic mustache is shown.
Take Three Sips Any/Every Time
- P.J. Stock's Depends ad is mentioned.
- Someone hits you over the head with the fact that Nickelback is from Canada and/or calls the band "chart-topping."
- The camera cuts to a John Tortorella reaction shot. (Bonus sip if he looks like he's just witnessed a terrible penalty by Michael Del Zotto.)
- A kid onstage is wearing an incorrectly spelled jersey honoring an award winner.
- Someone makes an uncomfortable joke about collective bargaining or Don Fehr.
- Someone makes an uncomfortable joke about Tim Thomas.
Take Five Sips Any/Every Time
- The person you're watching with remarks that Brian Elliott kinda looks like the guy from Office Space.
- Mark Messier cries.
- Jeremy Roenick wanders into the frame.
- A scorned Jay Mohr appears, hammered and rambling something about Billy Crystal.
- Someone brings up the fact that Gary Bettman didn't get booed in L.A. as proof that no one there is a "true" hockey fan — ZING!
- There's a video montage for the Best GM award that could double as B-roll footage in a Daily Show feature about spies (lots of surreptitious glances, shady phone conversations, and cigars).
- Claude Giroux chirps the winners from his seat.
Finish Your Drink Any/Every Time
- Someone trips.
- A sauced-up Jonathan Quick hollers, "How about fuckin' Vegas!"
- A hair falls out of place on Erik Karlsson's head and a harried stylist rushes in to provide emergency shellac.
- Max Pacioretty wins the Masterton and the camera cuts to Zdeno Chara.
- Vince Vaughn says "Vegas, baby, Vegas!!" (that's totally his Freebird) and/or references making 99's head bleed.
- A Real Housewife completely butchers a star's name. Sure, Martin St. Louis isn't up for any awards this year, and the Real Housewives aren't scheduled to present, but honestly, this is the NHL Awards. Very little would surprise me.