Thursday June 18th, 2009

In anticipation of tonight's NHL Awards show, here are some sights and sounds from the sunny Sin City.

• Washington Capitals forward Alexander Ovechkin has been quite the busy body here. After the Hart Trophy finalist was named cover guy for NHL 2K10, he participated in a motion capture demonstration in front of Caesar's Palace. Donning a spandex Sensor suit, Ovechkin showed off his moves, including the infamous hot stick celebration he did after scoring his 50th goal last season. Yesterday, he took it to the tables, playing in the NHL's charity shootout poker tournament. A casual poker player -- he says he plays with teammates on the road -- Ovie lasted long enough. After a little over an hour, the Caps star was getting perhaps a bit impatient. He went all-in on four straight hands before finally bowing out.

• Speaking of premature exits, Ovechkin also talked about seeing the Penguins win the Stanley Cup. Actually, he didn't. Game 7 might've been the most watched since 1973, but at least one notable stayed away. Ovie said he didn't watch a single game of the Cup final, and only found out that the Penguins won when a friend told him the final score. That's a pretty typical story for most players. "[The playoffs] are hard to watch at first," said Calgary forward Jarome Iginla. At a certain point, though, it's hard not to watch.

• As much grief as I may have given the NHL for having Chaka Khan and Robin Thicke headline the list of Hollywood names they touted earlier, they've at least secured some more current stars to appear here tonight. Among the presenters will be Kevin Connolly from Entourage, and there will be a message from New Jersey icon and director Kevin Smith. Connolly, who's currently in production on this season of the HBO show, took a couple days off from filming to make it here for this event. We hear he's a huge Islanders fan. The Islanders, or course, have nothing to celebrate here, but give it a couple days. With the first pick in this year's draft in Montreal, they'll have something to cheer about soon enough.

• A new honor to be introduced this year, the ScotiaBank Fan Fav Award, is the first fan-driven award -- the people's choice for the best overall regular season performer. Fans voted on NHL.com for their favorite performer. And there's just one big glitch here: That it's called Fan Fav (and not even "Fave") already makes it impossible to take seriously. I mean, what's next? The OMG award for amaz play? Obvi.

• Being in Vegas, naturally the topic of a potential NHL franchise coming to town came up with Commissioner Gary Bettman. Nothing new to report. Especially now, the league isn't looking into expansion or relocation at the moment, he says. But the lure of Vegas is lost on no one. That's why the awards show will be right back here next year, and the year after that.

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