Hockey Hall of Fame - Stanley Cup Journals: 2011, 04

The NHL trophies were on display at the Palms in Las Vegas, Nevada for the 2011 NHL Awards.
(Miragh Bitove/Hockey Hall of Fame)
The Stanley Cup was flown across the continent, leaving Boston and arriving in Las Vegas on Wednesday, June 22. From the airport, it was driven to the Palms Hotel, where it was put on display beside the other NHL Awards already being exhibited.

While the dignitaries, from both the hockey and entertainment worlds, walked the red carpet to enter the theatre, the Stanley Cup was discreetly taken backstage without any pomp or circumstance.

Host Jay Mohr, a stand-up comedian and impressionist, was once again host of the awards show. A great sports fan, Mohr began gaining attention in 1993 when he appeared on 'Saturday Night Live,' and has since appeared in 'Jerry Maguire,' 'Are We There Yet?,' 'Last Comic Standing' and 'Ghost Whisperer.'

The NHL trophies on display at the Palms in Las Vegas, Nevada for the 2011 NHL Awards.
(Miragh Bitove/Hockey Hall of Fame)
Several awards, while presented in Las Vegas, had actually been determined by statistics garnered through the regular season. Daniel Sedin of the Vancouver Canucks took the Art Ross Trophy as the league's leading scorer, collecting 104 points on 41 goals and 63 assists. Corey Perry of the Anaheim Ducks won the Maurice 'Rocket' Richard Trophy as the top goal-scorer with 50. The William M. Jennings Trophy was awarded to the Vancouver Canucks' netminding tandem of Roberto Luongo and Corey Schneider for allowing the fewest goals against.

The merit trophies continued being awarded, with Ian Laperriere of the Philadelphia Flyers earning the Bill Masterton Memorial Award for perseverance and dedication to hockey. The King Clancy Memorial Trophy for leadership and humanitarian contributions was presented to Doug Weight, newly retired from the New York Islanders.

Kevin Smith and Cobie Smulders sharing a moment with the Stanley Cup backstage at the 2011 NHL Awards in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Miragh Bitove/Hockey Hall of Fame)
Dan Bylsma of the Pittsburgh Penguins was recipient of the Jack Adams Award as NHL coach of the year. A newly-minted trophy, the NHL General Manager of the Year Award, was awarded to Mike Gillis of the Vancouver Canucks.

The Calder Trophy, awarded to the NHL's best first-year player, was handed to Carolina Hurricanes' star, Jeff Skinner. The Canucks' Ryan Kessler took home the Frank J. Selke Trophy for being the best defensive forward in the NHL. It likely never gets tired, but Detroit Red Wings' defenceman Nicklas Lidstrom earned the James Norris Memorial Trophy for the seventh time, tying him with Montreal Canadiens' legend Doug Harvey and placing him one win behind iconic Bobby Orr of the Boston Bruins. The most gentlemanly player of 2010-11 was Martin St. Louis of the Tampa Bay Lightning, earning him the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy.

Country music artist Dierks Bentley and his band sharing a moment with the Stanley Cup backstage at the
2011 NHL Awards in Las Vegas, Nevada.
(Miragh Bitove/Hockey Hall of Fame)
Two of the most anticipated trophies are actually earned for the same accomplishment, but come from different angles. The Hart Memorial Trophy is presented to the NHL's most valuable player as determined by the Professional Hockey Writers' Association. The recipient of the Ted Lindsay Award is the league's most valuable player as determined by the National Hockey League Players' Association. This spring, Corey Perry took the Hart while Daniel Sedin won the Lindsay.

The Mark Messier Leadership Award was handed to Zdeno Chara, captain of the Boston Bruins. Tim Thomas, named winner of the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP just prior to Boston's Stanley Cup presentation, took home the Vezina Trophy as the league's best goalie.

One of the absolute highlights of the evening was when Thomas and Bruins' captain Zdeno Chara carried out the Stanley Cup, garnering a tumultuous ovation.

Boston's Tim Thomas answers questions from the media after capturing the Vezina Trophy at the 2011 NHL Awards in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Phil Pritchard/Hockey Hall of Fame)
A number of celebrities helped present honours at the 2011 NHL Awards. 'Mad Men' actor Jon Hamm, director Kevin Smith, actress Jennifer Beals, Cobie Smulders from 'How I Met Your Mother,' director Jason Reitman, illusionist Criss Angel, Adrienne Maloof and Camille Grammer of 'Housewives of Beverly Hills' and Donny Osmond all were involved in presenting awards. There is no truth to the rumour that the Sedin twins tried to pay Criss Angel to make the Stanley Cup disappear out of the arms of the Bruins.

Country music star Dierks Bentley and electro hop group Far East Movement performed during the awards show.

At a party held after the awards, the Stanley Cup was set up on a glass table above a pool that made it appear to be hovering over the water. It turned out to be the photo opportunity most frequently taken by those in attendance, whether they came from the entertainment community or the hockey world. One woman made it her mission to touch the Stanley Cup. With more than 2,000 people milling about at the sensational and exclusive after-party, she dove into the pool, dress and all, in order to get to the Cup.

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The Stanley Cup is making the rounds and the Bruins have yet to finalize their schedule for the players' days with the Cup. But come back on Friday and we'll take you behind the scenes at the NHL Entry Draft in Minnesota.

Kevin Shea is the Editor of Publications and Online Features for the Hockey Hall of Fame.

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