Without a formal host for the 2012 NHL Awards in Las Vegas, the format for the show was a bit different than most awards ceremonies. The League adopted a "host by committee" which included a combination of on-air sports personalities, actors-turned-fans and of course, fellow players who took turns taking big swings at making the audience laugh, and almost always coming up empty.
The theme? When in doubt, and scared of a room full of people finding you less than amusing, make fun of John Tortorella's press conferences, like Modern Family's Eric Stonestreet did, among others.
The awkward silences after bad jokes that the likes of Joshua Jackson and Erin Andrews admittedly did not write painfully gave way for over two hours. However, the NHL found some funny bones with a few spoof videos starring some of NBC's most famous actors, Tracy Morgan of 30 Rock, and Up All Night's Will Arnett.
New York Rangers goaltender, and Vezina Trophy winner, Henrik Lundqvist, introduced a video featuring "a very important player" who spent some time with the team this year. In a spoof of the popular HBO series "Rangers-Flyers: 24/7 Road To The Winter Classic," the video profiled Tracy Morgan, a player some might call "enigmatic," to say the least:
Morgan, who's known for his outlandish, yet simple comedy on 30 Rock, won over the crowd while the NHL video crew cut up a John Tortorella clip that was meant originally about cutting ties with Sean Avery, another important Ranger who didn't finish the year with the team. Hm, interesting.
Over the course of the two-hour event, Will Arnett starred in several "Shanaban" spoof videos as the Director of Player Safety himself, sporting an aggressive wig and monotoned Shanahan accent. In this instance, he takes on Kings captain Dustin Brown for his dangerous attempt at rehydrating:
Arnett's impressions of Shanahan became a running theme throughout the show, including videos where Shanahan gets into infractions committed away from the rink, like Capitals star Alex Ovechkin, and his inability to correctly park his vehicle like a proper North American:
Ovechkin drives a Honda, does he? Oh, that sneaky, sneaky NHL marketing department.
While Jay Mohr hosted the NHL Awards in years past, the League gambled big this year at the Wynn and crapped out. With a number of seemingly great would-be hosts around hockey these days in Arnett, Matthew Perry, Vince Vaughn and even former Bruins writer and comedian Bill Burr, one wonders why the NHL went hostless for their only red carpet event.