The unlikely team of rapper Snoop Dogg and Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker might just steal the 2010 NHL Awards show tonight when they skate into The Pearl at the Palms for the live telecast. Both are fanatical ice hockey fans, and both are part of the all-star entertainment lineup with, among others, comedian host Jay Mohr and Mark Wahlberg and Jamie Kennedy, who are among the presenters.
It’s the most glittering night on the NHL calendar, and it’s taking place here for only the second time. It’s already booked for the Palms a third consecutive time next year, and Palms owner George Maloof is hoping it will become a permanent event. The players from teams in Canada and across America, plus their fans, all seem to want the awards show here in the desert, even though we don’t have our own team or a proper sports arena for one.
Contributing photographer Tom Donoghue was on duty yesterday at the Key West ballroom and Iron Chef winner Kerry Simon’s restaurant Simon in Palms Place as the award nominees arrived in town for media and fan day and met and mingled with George as he hosted the NHL officials among the impressive display of trophies. Even the prestigious Stanley Cup won by the Chicago Blackhawks this month is on display at the Palms.
It is the first trip ever to Las Vegas for Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins, who is the handsome hunk up for the Hart trophy for MVP (Sidney and the Penguins won The Stanley Cup last year). It also is the first trip to our desert kingdom for Buffalo Sabres goalie Ryan Miller, who won a silver medal at the Winter Olympics as the Team USA goalkeeper and last night watched Cirque du Soleil’s Ka at MGM Grand.
Also here is Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith, who displayed his loss of several teeth when during Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals against the San Jose Sharks, the puck went right into his face. He was miraculously only off the ice for a few moments and returned in time for the Blackhawks to win the Stanley Cup for the first time in 49 years. He’s had no time since the victory to get his teeth fixed, so sometimes he wears plastic fill-ins, which might be the case tonight. Otherwise, he cheerily smiles for the photographers showing the gaps!
Other skating sensations in Tom’s photos include Henrik Sedin, Matt Duchene, Jimmy Howard, Pavel Datsyuk, Ryan Kesler, Alex Ovechkin, Mike Green, Steven Stamkos and Camp Vegas host Amanda Salas. Last night, the Washington Capitals’ Alex joined with Jeremy Roenick of the San Jose Sharks to host a 2010 NHL Awards pre-party at Lavo in the Palazzo.
The stars begin walking the extended red carpet at the Palms at 3 p.m. today, with thousands of fans expected to line it and also pile into the Fan Pit, where many will get the chance to get up close for photos and autographs with their ice hockey heroes. We’ll be there, too, with live Twitter reports and as the show starts at 4:30 p.m. PT for the 7:30 p.m. ET broadcast.
Check out the full list of awards and nominees at NHL.com, as well as the video and coverage by our colleagues at the Las Vegas Sun, and thanks to loyal Vegas DeLuxe reader Richard Corey for his videos posted on YouTube.
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
Follow Robin Leach on Twitter at Twitter.com/Robin_Leach.