Las Vegas, NV It was a couple of hectic days at Las Vegas and the trophies have officially been handed out. Not surprisingly, Tim Thomas claimed the Vezina once again and of course Carolina rookie Jeff Skinner was awarded the Calder. All the winners, as well as the candidates who came up short, were totally classy and showed nothing but respect for each other.
But other than the classiness shown by the players, a couple of other things impressed me during my stay in "Sin City".
First of all, hockey fans never cease to amaze. They were everywhere. In the lobbies, the hallways, the sidewalks, the pool, and walking around the casino floors. They were carrying jerseys, photos, cards, hats, and cameras. They were waiting hours ahead of time for the red carpet walk. And they all had smiles.
Fans from all over the league were there, from Vancouver, Boston, Winnipeg, Carolina, and yes, I even saw a Thrashers shirt.
On the hotel elevator a day before the show, I met a happy young boy who was proudly wearing a brand new Awards hat, already covered with autographs. As he told me each player who had signed, his mother said that the players were all so gracious and so great to the kids that she saw asking.
Hockey fans might be outnumbered by some of the other sports, but I'll always believe they are the most passionate fans out there, and they proved that to me once again in Vegas.
There was a ton of media covering the event as well, and the journalists, television reporters, radio talk professionals, and bloggers can get somewhat competitive at times. But it's amazing how much fun it can be and how smoothly things can go, when you work together.
That was the case when Mike Maniscalco and I did our work this week.
Of course, all Caniacs know that Maniscalco works for the flagship station of the Canes and handles most of the team interviews for the station as well as the pregame and post-game shows. He could have easily gone his own way over the two or three days of events and still would have produced some fine material for his station's website and radio show.
But we sat together, worked together, shared information, teamed up on interviews, and turned, what sometimes can be a boring process, into a lot of fun.
Maniscalco wrote about his perspective of the Awards Show on FANkind, and he's right, it's not always glamorous covering these events. But if you are with the right people, it still can be fun.
The Carolina organization and Canes' fans alike are fortunate to have Maniscalco out there representing them, someone who loves hockey, works hard, and provides some great inside information, that without him, otherwise might be missing from our market.
I recorded a couple of post show interviews you might find of interest of Dan Bylsma and Niklas Lidstrom.