The NHL has something unique, something the NFL, NBA and MLB don't have –- an end-of-season awards show. The NHL pulls out all the stops annually in Las Vegas for the awards, and the league literally gives its players star treatment, Oscars-style.
Football, baseball and basketball normally just leave the awards announcements to the press releases once the season ends, with the winners announced on a day-by-day basis. The winners are revealed and the players get their hardware, but without much fanfare or showmanship.
But it's not like that for the NHL. It gives the nominees an evening of Hollywood-like treatment in Las Vegas, even to those Calder-nominated players not yet old enough to thoroughly enjoy Sin City. The players and their families dress up, hosts and award presenters are chosen carefully, and short comedy sketches, like Anaheim's "Ryan versus Ryan," are composed.
It shows how important the league thinks the awards are, too. It allows players to thank their teammates and have their short little minute of added fame with acceptance speeches. And if you don't think these players care about that or their awards, take a look at Corey Perry's acceptance speech from Wednesday. The Hart winner was nearly in tears and could barely get through it without getting choked up.
The award show itself is spectacular, but the red carpet treatment exemplifies how the NHL puts on the best show. Roughly about an hour before the show starts, players start arriving at the awards show and stepping onto the red carpet, greeting fans and signing autographs. And NHL Network's crew catches up with the players and their families, asking them about nominations and, of course, their attire.
Put that image side-by-side with the way the NFL, NBA and MLB present their awards, and there really is no comparison.