The title is kind of blunt, isn't it?
I remember watching it a few years. It wasn't exactly can't miss television.
Hey guys, I got a great idea... it's 26 degrees outside, so let's go inside and watch a bunch of hockey players pick up trophies with deadpan faces and speaking with all the emptiness you'd expect in a hockey interview during the intermission. "Uh, it's gutcheck time, and we need to pressure their defense more, put a couple more shots on net and we'll see..."
I watched it one year when PK Subban was doing a lot of behind the camera work -- I think I had nothing to do -- and he tried to make it interesting. It was the same year that Cuba Gooding Jr. was really drunk. They certainly made it something to remember.
The blunt of NHL's entertainment isn't that these players are entertaining -- some of them certainly are -- but that they're entertaining with skates on and with gloves off. They're entertaining when they're "human", that is, when they're mad at each other, when they're trying weasel their way to victories using any means necessary. So this awards is supposed to celebrate the performances of NHL stars in an auditorium assembly like other generic awards shows, held together by some generic MC and a musical act or two, and more generic tv nonsense.
It is not more stale than it is this year, when we most of us get our entertainment through youtube and other internet means. And believe me, I'd rather spend two hours watching cat videos than watching the NHL awards... at least the cats can make me laugh.
So I think the plan is to reveal the expansion picks at the awards show... which will be about 30 times more interesting than the awards because it actually features some semblance of drama.
So how can we actually see some "humanity" at these awards?
Here are some possibilities:
1. Ditch the musical acts. Even the half time show at the Superbowl is ultra stupid. It's like pausing horse races for a clown act. It's like watching a TV talk show and then they half-time it with a boxing match. They're entirely different forms of entertainment; who thinks this garbage actually mixes? CONTRAST the entertainment, don't just throw a bunch of dancing monkeys on stage between awards.
2. Ditch numerical achievements:
Like for example, playoff MVP (though handed out when Stanley Cup is won) should not celebrate an individual achievement unless it was an individual achievement: give the trophy to the portion of the team that made the run most possible. The last ten or so Conn Smythe trophies were won by players who were co-carrying the team but they had to just pick "one". Suppose NJ would have won it in 2012, I'd have given the Conn Smythe trophy to their entire fourth line (Carter, Bernier, S. Gionta) because they made that run possible by scoring backbreaking momentum shifting goals during the game. My favourite is those off times when they pick a guy from the losing team: Most Valuable Loser.
Norris Trophy makes absolutely no sense: "Best defenseman" as if they were only fulfilling one criterion. The NHL has an inconsistent definition of it (but I mean, these trophies are voted on by JOURNALISTS of all people rather than scouts or experts). Sometimes it's the art ross defenseman, other times it isn't. That means the winners are probably going to be semi-random... an agreement fulfilled by dinner table chat after a group of people argue their own imaginary criteria as to who should win this award.
Most of these awards are the results of the sheer paradox of NHL reporters balloting winners (a childish process) with an awards show that takes itself way too seriously (as if it's for adults). I understand the Masterson award. It's main selling point as a presentable award is that it's not numerically based: it's a story of recognition that can draw on the pathos of watchers.
Someone on reddit was balloting embarrassing awards like worst NHL GM, etc. If they made both shows, worst and best, which do you think would attract more viewers? Especially if they made the worst interactive with phone in/texted votes.
Is it sad that we're not entertained at watching a bunch of class acts pick up trophies? Nah because there's one trophy that matters: The Stanley Cup. These individual achievements are nothing but things they're going to put into their next contract negotiations.
3. Invite most the players there and have the players spontaneously vote on random achievements. (You can leave the journalist garbage and cover that in the first ten minutes of the show, then you can get to the player awards). And make them vote anybody they want... don't short-list the ballots.
Here would be some of those awards:
1. Coach I'd most want to play for.
2. Defenseman I hate playing against the most.
3. Center I hate taking faceoffs against.
4. Goalie who gives me the most headaches.
5. Player who I think is the most threatening (as a goaltender).
6. Player in front of the net I hate the most.
7. Center I really hate in matchups.
8. Defenseman I have to constantly keep my head up playing against.
9. GM who I admire most.
10. The player who makes me skate the hardest.
11. The player who always takes the puck away from me.
12. The team I hate breaking the blue line against the most.
13. The guy whose shot I most don't want to block.
14. The guy with the best verbal comebacks.
15. The guy who gets into my head the most with his chirpiness.
16. The guy I'd most hate to drop the gloves against.
17. The captain I hate playing against the most.
18. Hardest building to play in.
19. Hardest team to play against.
20. My favourite change in the NHL this year.
21. Rookie who is only rookie by name, but plays like an NHL threat/star.
22. The guy who keeps annoyingly blocking my shots.
23. The last guy in the league I want to go into a corner against.
24. The last guy I'd want to play against on a power play.
25. The goalie with the best glove.
Now imagine you were watching an awards show and these awards were not short-listed... you have drama. Then when they receive their awards, take them out back for a short interview and ask them INTERESTING questions about why they think they won that award.
This turns it from an awards show to a fun recap of the year because it gives it that trolly Skills Competition element (and everyone knows that the Skills Competition is way better than the All Star Game).
They can even add some trolly awards that are one-time only, too, such as:
1. Guy I'd hate to challenge to a math test.
2. Guy whose stick breaks the most.
3. Guy who throws the best temper tantrums.
4. Guy who spends most time talking to referees (coach or player).
5. Guy who spends too much time on twitter.
6. Guy most likely to drink me under the table.
7. Guy I'd hate to arm wrestle.
8. Funniest guy.
9. Most annoying teammate.
10. Crowd I hate playing against the most.
C'mon, NHL, do the right thing... evolve your awards show, already.