Tonight is the NHL Awards Show night of the playoffs. This season, after two cancelled years, the awards show is live and televised. Unlike the prior shows, it’s not sandwiched between the end of the season and the draft in Las Vegas, hosted by a D-list comedian. However, the finalists for the awards are said to be expected to attend, so it is a real live event.
The show will be held live at Armature Works in Tampa tonight at 7 pm on ESPN, Sportsnet and TVAS. The venue looks amazing, and it will be interesting to see if that translates to television.
Most of the award winners were announced over the past few weeks, leaving only a few to be revealed tonight. They’ve saved the big ones for this final event. The host is Kenan Thompson, an actor and comedian appearing on Saturday Night Live for many years. He also appeared in two of the Mighty Ducks films, so presumably he knows a few things about hockey.
The show is supposed to focus on the presenters, and the NHL has chosen a theme in who they’ve picked to give out awards for hockey excellence. They want to pluck at your heartstrings.
Seattle Kraken fan Nadia Popovici, who from behind the glass discovered a cancerous mole on the neck of Vancouver Canucks assistant equipment manager Red Hamilton. Popovici and Hamilton will reunite as part of the show;
Calgary Flames assistant GM and ALS survivor and advocate Chris Snow, appearing with his wife, Kelsie, and their children, Cohen and Willa;
Milton Academy (Massachusetts) player Jake Thibeault, who was paralyzed by an injury in September 2021;
Emergency backup goalie Thomas Hodges, who overcame blindness in one eye to play in a game for the Anaheim Ducks this season.
Guy Lafleur’s son Martin will also present an award, and several well-known TV hockey personalities from ESPN, NHL Network and Sportsnet will appear.
The awards to be presented are:
Hart Trophy (pictured above): for the Em Vee Pee as voted by the PHWA. The finalists are Auston Matthews, Connor McDavid and Igor Shesterkin
Remember: votes are cast before the playoffs.
Vezina Trophy: for the best goalie as voted by the NHL GMs. The finalists are Igor Shesterkin, Jacob Markstrom and Juuse Saros.
Norris Trophy: for the best defenceman as voted by the PHWA. The finalists are Cale Makar, Roman Josi and Victor Hedman
Calder Trophy: for the rookie of the year as voted by the PHWA. The finalists are Michael “old man” Bunting, Trevor Zegras and Moritz Seider.
Ted Lindsay Award: for the most outstanding player as voted by the NHLPA. The finalist are Roman Josi, Auston Matthews and Connor McDavid.
Check the full list at NHL.com if you’ve forgotten who won the other awards.
They will also announce the finalists for the Jim Gregory GM of the Year Award, but won’t announce the winner until the draft.
This should be a very different awards show from previous years, not least because to get those finalists there, they had to have them on standby until about a week ago before they could announce the location. Convincing NHL players to go to Florida in the offseason shouldn’t be hard, though, so it’s likely most will attend. I’d say no thanks if I were Victor Hedman or Cale Makar, though, but they likely will be good soldiers and show up. After all Makar will be the winner.
My guesses, since I’ve already made one:
I’m the least confident on the Hart guess because it could go to McDavid. I actually think it should, but we’ll see. I don’t believe Bunting will get many first-place votes for the Calder, but I bet he was everyone’s third.