Las Vegas, NV Carolina Hurricanes rookie Jeff Skinner was barely in town six hours, but local Las Vegas media already knew enough about the teenage sensation that they had the typical questions all ready to go. Connection with seventeen.com? check. Justin Bieber analogy? check. Playing in the NHL as an 18-year-old? check.
Of course, the young superstar handled all the questions with a smile and relative ease.
Yesterday, the NHL held a session for media availability with candidates for their Awards Show and Skinner's podium was packed with reporters, both local and out-of-towners. When asked what he had planned to do during his stay, he replied, "That's up to my parents, I guess."
After that, he was actually asked "to do" some Justin Bieber, to which he laughed, "I don't have the voice, I'm sorry."
Skinner has been very busy this offseason, first playing for Team Canada in the World Championships, and most recently working out with fitness guru, Gary Roberts. The youngster also worked out with Roberts last summer and had nothing but positive to say about the program.
"It's great," Skinner said when asked about it. "It's cutting edge, some of what he's doing. And the atmosphere is great. When you're in a gym with a bunch of guys at the same level and competing against each other, and pushing each other, I think that helps to make it special."
The Calder Candidate also had good things to say about his experience with seventeen.com. The website for the popular girl's magazine allowed readers to vote on which suit Skinner would wear to the Awards Show. Skinner said that he felt it was a good idea.
"It was different, and pretty cool, and I'm glad I had the chance to do it," he said.
No secrets were revealed about the winning suit yet.
Of course, there are several other awards up for grabs tonight. I was able to jot down a few quotes and take some video which I'll include below.
Mike Maniscalco, from the Hurricanes flagship station station, also attended the media availability and was hard at work. I took a bit of video of him doing what he does best.
There will be an open thread here tonight for those who would like to pop in and chat about the show while it's in progress. I'll be watching from the media room and will be able to interview some of the winners after they are presented.
- Tim Thomas set winning the Vezina as his goal last offseason. While the Stanley Cup is at the top of the list, the Vezina is still very, very important to him.
- Think there are no tears in NHL hockey? Think again. Alain Vigneault said that there were plenty of tears shed in the locker room with his team, as well as at home with his family, after the crushing game seven loss to the Boston Bruins.
- As always, Doug Weight had nothing but positive to say about his experience with the Hurricanes in Raleigh. "Great place to live, great place to play, and I enjoyed my short stay there immensely," he said.
- Jay Mohr loves to host the NHL Awards Show more than some others because "hockey people are real people, I get more laughs out of them."
- Corey Perry really enjoyed the Stanley Cup Finals and loved the intensity and animosity.
Steven Stamkos remarked about how challenging his first playoffs were and how difficult it will be to repeat next season.