Gearing up for the NHL Awards

by abournenesn

Jun 18, 2009

Hello from Las Vegas! We are here for the 2009 NHL Awards.

Three Bruins are up for honors, and the goaltending tandem of Manny Fernandez and Tim Thomas
will receive the William M. Jennings Trophy (awarded to the goaltenders
of the team which allowed the fewest goals during the regular season).

That trophy will be presented to Fernandez and Thomas by the last Bruins netminding tandem to win the trophy, Andy Moog and Reggie Lemelin.

There was media availability Wednesday with some of the presenters and commissioner Gary Bettman.
A local reporter hounded Bettman about why this year’s awards are in
Vegas, and whether it’s a sign an NHL franchise is coming here. Bettman
says no. As far as the Winter Classic goes, he declined comment on
whether it would be in Boston this coming season. When asked if it
would be cool to have it there, he responded, “There are a lot of
places where it would be cool to have the Winter Classic.”

We also got a chance to catch up with former Bruins bench boss Pat Burns,
who will present the Jack Adams Award (Coach of the Year). While he
looked absolutely great, he told us he is still fighting lung cancer,
and continues to visit the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Burns also
raved about living in New Hampshire, though he spends time in Florida
as well.

Now, consider this: Coaching stops for Burns have included Montreal,
Boston and New Jersey. He also started coaching in juniors. It would be
fitting for him to hand that trophy to coach Claude Julien, who has pretty much followed in those same fGearing up for the NHL Awardsootsteps. Perhaps it’s a sign?

Here are a couple of fun notes as we get set for Thursday night’s festivities:

The first player we ran into as we were checking in was Alex Ovechkin, who was walking around the Palms — where the event is taking place — virtually unrecognized.

Also ran into Fernandez, who is doing really well back home in
Montreal, where he’s working on his injured back and entertaining
different offers while contemplating what’s best for his family.
Fernandez is no stranger to Vegas — he played against a team here in
the desert during his days “in the I” (IHL) when there was a team.

We also chatted a bit with Jarome Iginla, whose offseason home is in British Columbia, where he works out with Chuck Kobasew and Andrew Ference.
Iginla revealed to us that the soft-spoken Kobasew is a menacing
competitor on the golf course and violently tosses clubs around when he
misses key shots.

“Really?” I responded quizzically. “Chuck?”

“No, really,” Iginla assured me, laughing.

Looking forward to the results. Check in later for the winners. See you from Vegas!

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