Tuesday, April 10, 2012

No Red Carpet, But Every Bit as Good as the Oscars

Guests file in to their seats. The arena is dark and completely silent.



John rises from the center of the stage as the lights slowly come up. “Noise” is playing in the background.

Raucous applause.

John: Wow. Thank you all for that great reception! I cannot believe that another hockey season has come and gone. It’s been a crazy year hasn’t it folks? We’ve had injuries, trades, surprises, surprise trades…


Yeah we’re still not sure how JR managed to pull that one off.  Speaking of JR, let’s give him a round of applause for stepping outside his comfort zone to negotiate mid-season with Tim Gleason and Tuomo Ruutu?


Now maybe he’ll draft someone in the first round who’s tall enough to ride Splash Mountain!


I may tease the kids, but they really are doing an outstanding job aren’t they folks? We’re seeing a youth movement on the Hurricanes and the future is looking bright. Unless you’re Jeff and then everything may still look a little fuzzy.

Crowd groans.

Oh stop. He’s alright now, if not a tad over aggressive. Of course fighting him is probably only second in laughs to fighting a wet kitten.

Crowd laughs in spite of themselves.

Skinner wasn’t the only one changing this year.  Part-way through the season, this team underwent possibly the largest change in the hockey world…taking Derek Joslin from defenseman glued to the press box to forward glued to the bench. 

Crowd laughs uncomfortably.

Finally, Justin Faulk has done a great job adjusting to the bright lights of the NHL hasn’t he folks?

Applause and cheering

And then in December, he had to adjust to the bright lights of his coach’s new highlights!

Awkward silence.

Alright, alright. Enough with the jokes. It really is a great privilege to be here as your hosts for the 2011-2012 Carolina Hurricanes Awards show, isn’t it Tripper?

Silence. John looks around the stage for Tripp, who is nowhere to be found.

John: Tripp?

Tripp: I’m coming!

Tripp comes rushing out from the side of the stage in full goalie gear.

John: Wow Tripp. That’s quite the red carpet look…

Tripp: John, don’t be silly. I’m just getting ready for next year’s Alumni Game.

John: Of course. That was quite the event wasn’t it?

Tripp: It was! Even for a former netminder like myself, I was amazed at the skill level out there on the ice. The goalies had to make some big saves to keep their team in it.

John: Don’t be so modest Tripp.  You know that you played an excellent game.

Oh well…yes. Yes I did. But even my best save doesn’t come close to this year’s nominees for Save of the Year.  Let’s a take a look at them:

Tripp opens envelope carefully, with his blocker and catcher still on.

Tripp: And the winner is…the third period glove save against Keith Ballard!  

Loud applause

Tripp: Cam had quite a year didn’t he John?

John:  Oh definitely and not just on the ice.  People always say goalies are quirky or strange, but I think this year Cam showed us that goalies are also capable of providing the Quote of the Year. 

Applause and laughter.


Jamie McBain stands at the center of the stage.


Jamie McBain: Thank you so much for having me here today to present the award for worst stac…

Jamie looks startled and blinks rapidly.

I mean…uh. There’s a saying that clothes don’t make the man, but the same can’t be said for hair. I myself take great pride in my ‘do as do this year’s nominees for best hair.  

Tim Brent: 

Justin Faulk: 

Anthony Stewart: 

Kirk Muller: 

And the winner is…my Clairol buddy: Kirk Muller!


John is shown staring at the screen, transfixed. Tripp nudges him and John jumps.

John: Oh sorry about that folks. I was just mesmerized by Muller’s highlights…hey don’t blame me. Even Riley Nash couldn’t look away.


Tripp, you’ve had highlights before haven’t you?

Tripp: I have. But I’ll tell you what I haven’t had Johnny. I’ve never had the privilege of winning the Carolina Hurricanes’ Brightest Star Award, not even during my cup of coffee in the NHL. 

John: I know Tripper. But we do have a winner this year. So let’s welcome last year’s winner, Jeff Skinner, to present the award.

Jeff Skinner walks onto the stage amid much screaming.

Jeff Skinner: Thanks.

Gives a self-conscious wave and smiles.

It’s a real special thing for me to be here tonight to present the Brightest Star Award. It was a real special moment winning it last year en route to my Calder Trophy win. Being a rookie in the NHL is not easy as you adjust to the speed of the game. This year one player stood out above all others. He put up 22 points and was a solid component on the D-corps through 66 games.

Congratulations to this year’s Brightest Star…Justin Faulk. 

Applause. Jeff sneaks off stage before the girls in the front row can get past the security guards.

John is standing on the right of the stage.

John: Let’s thank Jeff one more time for being here this evening!

Applause and some squealing. John rolls his eyes and mutters something about understanding Staal now.

The game of hockey has changed so much since I’ve been a part of it. Players have gotten bigger, faster and thanks to the power of social media, more connected to their fans.  This year, more players signed up for Twitter than ever before, much to the delight of the Caniacs.  It is why a new award has been added to our show…the Best Twitter Presence Award and, as a fellow member of the Twitter, it is my pleasure to present it to one of our great (and verbose) nominees. Let’s see their nominations in, staying true to the spirit of Twitter, 140 characters or less.

@EhStew13 Meh. Babies. Stormwin. Pass it to Bullis. Pets doing yoga. Coolville. Woooo!

@JustinFaulk27 Flow. Retweets. UMD. Pools. Golf.

@Brenter37 Hunting. Fishing. Golfing. Complete sentences.

@TrippTracy Sideburns to his ankles. Twitpics. Quick stories. Rookie. Enthusiasm. No spaces.

And the winner is….Tripp Tracy!

Crowd claps tentatively as Tripp comes rushing from backstage.

Tripp: Oh! You like me! You really really like me!

John: Yeah they do Tripp, let’s move along to the next award alright?

Tripp: Sure Johnny, but I just want to tell a quick story.

John and the audience groans

I wasn’t sure about the whole Twitter thing, but my good friend John Forslund talked me into it. Then great guys like Jamie McBain, Justin Faulk, Tim Brent and Anthony Stewart showed me the ropes.  I have loved interacting with the greatest fans in the NHL via Twitter and look forward to next year!

Tripp smiles as the crowd cheers.

John: Wow Tripper. Thanks for those kind words. It’s true Twitter is a great thing and we have a lot of really interesting personalities from the Hurricanes taking part in the trend. One of those personalities is actually the winner of this year’s Best Worst Stache Award. 

Whooo boy that is bad.

Tripp: Yup. You have to admire Derek Joslin’s willingness to participate when he had really no chance at growing a decent stashe.

John: I cannot believe that someone managed to a stache worse than Brandon’s…but wow. He did it.

John and Tripp chuckle at the absurdity of Joslin’s stache.

Tripp is standing at center stage. 

Tripp: We’ve seen a lot of outstanding goals this year, but a few stand out from the rest. Let’s take a look at the nominees for Goal of the Year.

And the winner is…Cam Ward’s first-career NHL goal against New Jersey!

Applause and cheering.

Chuck Kaiton: CongratstoCamWardonhisaward. Hehadquiteaseasonthisyearbutnotasgoodasthisyear’sbreakoutstarawardwinner. PuttingupcareernumbersingamesplayedandpointsandcomplimentingEricStaalonthetopline,JiriTlustyisthisyear’sBreakoutStar!

Crowd claps. A pair of boxer shorts lands on the stage. Chuck looks at them, befuddled, and walks off stage. John replaces him, kicks the boxers off the edge of the stage and shuffles a few feet to the right. 

John: Congratulations to Cam and Jiri. What a special goal for Cam…for the team.  And Jiri really stepped his game up this year. Both players have a lot of fans for their outstanding seasons. But like most years, a player, well this year it’s a group of players, really caught the fans’ attention.  Please give it up for this year’s winner of the Fan Favorite Award…The Oreo Line!


Tripp is standing at center stage.

Tripp: My position as a broadcaster gives me the opportunity to become a bit of expert in many things about the game. But I don’t need to work in hockey to be an expert in this next award category.  A bromance is a common occurrence in the locker rooms of the NHL and the Hurricanes’ locker room is no exception. Last year Jeff Skinner and Eric Cole’s May-December bromance captured our hearts. This year Anthony Stewart and Cam Ward’s post-game affection captured our…nightmares.  Congratulations to Stewart and Ward for winning Bromance of the Year!

Laughter. Applause. Some members of the audience re-enact the Cam-Stewie bounce.


John is wiping a tear from his eye.

John:  I’m not sure if I’m crying because I’m sad I lost or because I’m laughing so hard at Brandon’s impression of Chuck. If we gave away an award for Best Impression, he’d win. That was so frightening it was funny.

John chuckles.

There is nothing like watching the Hurricanes score at home. The crowd goes nuts. The team goes nuts. Sometimes even I get really excited. And then, every once in a while, the goal scorer unleashes a celebration that puts us all to shame. Let’s check out this year’s nominees for Best Goal Celebration.

Bryan Allen: 


Brandon Sutter and Chad LaRose:  

And the winner is…Bryan Allen!

Goal horn goes off. Crowd cheers wildly.

John: Oh boy. Bryan may never live that one down. But such a great moment for him-none more deserving of a big goal than him. There were a lot of great moments this year, despite the way the season turned out. But in my mind, and in the minds of our esteemed voters, one moment stood out from the rest.  In a season full of peaks and valleys, this player likely faced the highest of highs one night against St. Louis. Congratulations to Cam Ward for winning Moment of the Year. 

What a moment for Cam Ward: saying “no” 40 times to get to his 200th win. And then just a few games later, he becomes the franchise leader in shutouts with 21. Outstanding.  Carolina is lucky to have him as a goaltender. Am I right ladies and gentlemen?

Crowd goes crazy.

Tripp joins John on stage but neither can speak because the crowd is still cheering. 

Tripp: As a former netminder, I cannot over stress the importance of having a tough guy in front of you to block shots, clear the crease and make people think twice about taking an extra shot at you.  That player is oftentimes considered the team’s Toughest Player.

John: That’s right Tripp. The past three years, Tim Gleason has walked away with this particular nonexistent trophy, but this year a new player has taken the crown.  With 188 blocked shots (ranking him 4th league wide) and 111 hits, Bryan Allen is this year’s Toughest Player!



John and Tripp look behind them and can’t help but giggle.


Tuomo Ruutu stands on stage. Crowd cheers loudly.

Tuomo Ruutu: Thank you very much for having me here. Good hard hits are the best part of this game in my opinion. In fact, if there’s one thing I love more than reindeer, it’s a good hockey hit. As a former winner of this award, I know the skill and courage it takes to execute a really strong hit. That’s why I’m thrilled to present this year’s Best Hit to Bryan Allen for his excellent body of work.


It’s hard to pick just one hit from his season to highlight, but this one has the added bonus of taking out one of his teammates…hey wait…who wrote this?

Crowd gasps as men in black masks come out and quickly usher Tuomo off stage. 

John and Tripp return to the stage.

John: That was odd.

Tripp: Really odd, even for me.

John shrugs. Tripp winks at someone off stage.

John: I can hardly believe the night has gone so quickly, but here we are with one final award to present.

Tripp: It’s arguably the most important award of the night. While this is a team sport, it’s impossible not to recognize individual players whose contributions are outstanding.

John: This year the voting committee had a very tough time sorting out a winner and were actually unable to choose just one player to recognize this evening. Instead, they’ve opted to recognize an entire line.

Tripp: Wow. This is unprecedented, folks. But let me tell you, this group really deserves it.  They’ve battled the opponent’s top line all season long, oftentimes holding them scoreless and without a shot on goal. They’ve excelled on the penalty kill wracking up a combined 5 shorthanded goals.  They are smart players whose contributions rarely show up on the scoresheet.

John: But they are truly deserving of recognition and that’s why it gives us both great pleasure to announce that this year’s MVP award goes to the combination of the third line!


Brandon Sutter is the anchor of the checking line and his 32 points and three shorthanded goals have led the way for the team’s forwards on defense.  His heady play is complimented by linemate Patrick Dwyer who put up 12 points, two shorthanded goals and finished at an even plus/minus for the year.  Adreas Nodl, Drayson Bowman, Jiri Tlusty and Chad LaRose all made appearances on the line throughout the season and contributed to a tough night for the top stars of the league.  Congratulations to these guys for their outstanding work this year! 


Tripp: Yippee! What a great show John!

John: It was a great show and season, Tripp. As always, it was an honor working with you this season and it was a privilege to call so many games on behalf of the greatest fans in the league! Thank you ladies and gentlemen! See you next year!

John and Tripp leave the stage as the crowd cheers wildly. 

Friday, June 24, 2011

Jeff Skinner in Vegas: The Inside Story

Quick question to all those reading this: what had you accomplished by the time you were 19? No, figuring out the best beer pong strategy for next Friday night does not count.  Keep thinking.  Do you have something? Is it really good? Well how's this for perspective: by the time Jeff Skinner turned 19, he'd been drafted into the NHL, played in the All-Star Game, played an entire NHL season as the youngest player in the league, scored 63 points and won the Calder Trophy as Rookie of the Year.  Yeah.  So about your accomplishment...well we'll just move on.

Caniacs were already beyond thrilled to have Skinner as part of the organization and moments like Wednesday night only heightened SkinnerMania in the Triangle.  Hockey fans are crazy for all things Skinner and if there's one thing we value here at the Siren, it's giving the people what they want....even if they are completely made up.  So it gives me great pleasure to announce that the Siren has obtained an exclusive, detailed and completely made up report of Jeff's time in Las Vegas.  Excited? Yeah me too! And wait, the best part is yet to come. This exclusive, detailed and completely made up report of Jeff's time in Las Vegas is written by none other than Jeff Skinner himself! *insert girlish squealing here*  Alright settle down now. Without further ado, here is Jeff's essay about his time in Vegas.  

That's me!
How I Spent My Time in Vegas
By: Jeff Jeffrey Jeff Skinner

Hi! It's Jeff. I'm in Las Vegas and it's so cool here!!  There are all these lights and realy big hotels and I have the biggest bathroom ever! It's even bigger than the suana sauna (that's a tricky word!) that we went...oh. Mom says I'm not allowed to talk about that.  Yeah I brought my whole family with me because Mom said I couldn't come to "Sin City" (she always says it like it did something naughty) without them here and I really wanted to come and so I had to let them and they're staying at the palms too. They aren't all staying in my room though because I'm a big kid now and I'm not scared without them.  But we have one of those doors in the middle of the room just in case they need me for sumthin. I also brought Jamie with me since mom and dad both said I could bring a freind. I like Bainer. He's fun.

The Playboy Pool at the Palms
The hotel is really neat. You can order roomservice whenever you want! I had chicken nuggets last night real late. They were tasty and shaped like the little bunnies I sometimes see on my brother's maguhzines.  Me and Bainer also had Fruit Loops for brekfast on Wedesday.  Shhh...don't tell coach mo-we're not supposed to eat that stuff at home. There's also a pool here. I wanted to go but Mom said I couldn't becuz it was full of bunnies. I don't get it. I like bunnies-they're fluffy. But I didn't think they liked to swim.  

We got here on Tuesday and then I went to talk to some reporters. It was ok.  Most of them are nice. They kept asking me about this kid named Justin. I looked but I didn't see his name on the list of people nomininimated.  Grown-ups are wierd weird wierd After I finished talking to the reporters I really wanted to ride these curvy boats in the river inside one of the hotels (how did they get a river INSIDE the hotel?) but no one wanted to come with me.  Not even Bainer and he promised to hang out with me and not go to the casino becuze I cant. Instead he wanted to go to see the X-Men. I realy like the X-Men Wolverine is my favorite when I was a little kid I had a backpack with his picture on it but I dont use it any more.  Mom and dad agreed to let us go by our selves as long as we were carefull when we crossed the street.

But when we got there there weren't any people our age. It was all these grown-up girls like my mom's age. I asked Bainer if the X-men were coming later and then this lady asked us if we were lost and then Jamie realized our tickets were for something called Men of X which I guess isnt the same thing as the X-Men so we had to leave. I was real sad but Bainer promised the next day would be more fun. I wasnt sure becuz I had to wear a suit and I dont like suits.

"The forward goes around the back of the
net and shoots the puck through the
five hole."
On Wednsday I woke up real tired I didnt sleep good becuz I was nervous about the wards cerimony. But mom made me get up way to early so bainer and me got to go to the acwarium where Dori and Nemo live! It was fun. They let me touch a starfish and I saw some dolfins. Then I went back to the hotel to get dressed in my grown-up suit.  I had trouble tieing my tie, but I got it. Im glad the 17 people picked the regular suit the other ones were kind of weird looking and one of them was itchy.

Hi Gammie!
 All of my brothers and sisters were sitting with my mom and dad and Bainer and me. We were all really nervus. But when they said I won we were all real excited. Mom hugged me so tight I couldnt breathe anymore! The trofy they gave me was really heavy and when I took out the paper with everyones name on it, I couldn't read it because Bainer had colored on it! Then I had to talk to the reporters again no one talked about that Justin guy so I guess he didn't win.  Mom took a picture of me with the big trophy for my Gammie.

I couldnt go to the grown-up party since they only had grown up fruit punch and games I cant play.  But we still had fun we went and saw the Blue Men. They played these giant drums and got covered in paint. Do they know the green men in Vancouver? I bet they're cousins. Bainer and me got to stay up real late and watch movies (but mom made dad take the remote away when we found a channel called "payperview") and I had extra dessert at dinner. But I couldn't eat out of the trophy since mom said it would be to messy.

We had to go home the next day but I got to have smiley face pancakes for breakfast so it was ok. They were real tasty and I got to have chocolate milk with them to. Yum!  I had a lot of fun in Vegas and it was real special to win the Calder Trophy. My face hurts from smiling for so many pictures. I kinda wish I coulda played with those big gumball machines in the cahseno but dad said maybe next time. Does that mean I get to do this every year?!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Carolina Hurricanes' Awards: Like the Oscars, But Less Ryan Seacrest

(auditorium is completely dark except for the light from a playing video)

(voiceover) Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome your hosts, presenters and possibly the only people from the team in attendance tonight: TV voice of the Carolina Hurricanes, John Forslund and…Tripp Tracy? (mumbling and loud whispering) This is going to be a disaster.

(John makes his way to the center of the stage with Tripp eagerly trotting behind him) 

Forslund: Welcome everyone! (Tripp waves at the crowd) We’re so glad to be here tonight…it’s a real privilege to be the hosts of the 2010-2011 Carolina Hurricanes’ Awards Ceremony, right Tripp? (Tripp nods vigorously, John gives him an odd look) Tripp you’re awfully quiet tonight, what’s going on?

Tripp: Well John, I heard about this game called (Tripp makes air quotes) Tripp Tracy Bingo and I want to refrain from making food references; talking about Eric Staal or Cam Ward; mentioning players’ families, friends, wives, girlfriends, and pets; saying the words huge, consequence, watershed, groin, sauna, hot tub or time and space. And I certainly don’t want to mention that I used to be a netminder. 

(Audience member jumps up) BINGO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


(photo appears on screen behind John and Tripp; screaming comes from the audience)

It's a prize no one wants to win, but everyone wants to give.
Forslund (looks behind him, jumps): Holy…Gretzky. Ummm…please everyone just remain calm! We will fix this momentarily. 

(A different photo appears behind John and Tripp)


Forslund: (exhales) Alright everyone, let’s just move along and get down to business.  We’re here this evening to honor the best and brightest (and occasionally the most embarrassing) moments of the Hurricanes’ season. And what a year it was!  From starting the season in Helsinki (no need to mention that little pit stop in Old Mother Russia) to the All-Star Game, this season has been filled with memory-making moments for Caniacs!

Tripp: That’s right Johnny! All of these experiences were great for fans, but the team enjoyed them just as much.  It all started with a great trip overseas and a visit to Sauna Island…

(Tripp’s mic cuts out; camera swings to other side of stage where Chuck Kaiton stands looking nervous)

Kaiton: Thatwasquitetheintroductionrightfolks? (nervous laughter from the audience) There’ssomethingthrillingaboutbeingabletowitnessandcalleveryoneoftheCarolinaHurricanes’goalsthisseason. Somanyhavestoodoutasgreatorimportantorpretty. Butonestoodoutamongallofthe235otherones. Itgivesmegreatpleasuretopresentthe2010-2011bestgoalawardto...

(Chuck opens the envelope)

Kaiton: Uhhhh...JeffSkinnerforhisoutstandingshotagainstHenrikLundqvistoftheNewYorkRangers

(Audience begins to applaud; Chuck holds up his hand to stop them)

Kaiton: andJeffSkinnerfor hisequallyoutstandingshootoutgoalagainstNiklasBackstromoftheMinnesotaWild.

(highlights play on video screen behind Chuck; crowd goes crazy)

(camera swings to other side of stage where John stands at a microphone) 
John: I've had the privilege of watching some outstanding moments during my time with this team. I've watched them slay playoff giants, pick each other up in the hardest of times and, of course, win it all in 2006. (crowd roars) All of these moments have been emotional; every season has its heartwarming, tearjerking, heart-string pulling moments and this year was no exception.  I'm here to present the award for the most emotional moment of the season.  This year's nominees are two moments that, while seemingly very different, are actually very alike. First we have Cam Ward's post-game interview from a game against Boston in November.  It was one like any other, the Canes' won the game behind a shutout from their goaltender who had become a father for the first time only days earlier.

(Audience members are shown dabbing their eyes with tissues)

Forslund: Our next nominee was a moment meant to honor a man who, during his time as a member of the Carolina Hurricanes, gave all of himself every time he took the ice.  On a night in February, we honored Rod Brind'Amour's exceptional NHL career and there was not a dry eye in the house.

(Tripp is shown openly weeping backstage)

And the award goes to... (John opens the envelope) Rod Brind'Amour night!

(crowd greets this news with a standing ovation)

(voiceover) At a ceremony earlier this evening, the awards for best goal reaction captured on film and best dressed NHL coach were presented.  Please take a moment to honor this photo for perfectly capturing the pure joy that comes with scoring a big goal:

Also please acknowledge Tommy Barrasso's extraordinary style while working the bench:

(crowd applauds politely. Camera catches Tripp pointing at the photo and giggling.)

Forslund: What's so funny Tripp?

Tripp: Look at Skinner's face!

Forslund (looks and smiles) Yes that young man does make an odd face or two.  In fact, during his rookie season, he's made enough funny faces that we've added a new award, the Funniest Skinner Face award.

Tripp: That's right! There were a lot of nominees this year. I mean a lot. More nominees than members of the Harvard men's hockey team. More than windows in Eric's house. More than... (John cuts in)

Forslund: Ok Tripp. Why don't we announce the winner? This year's Funniest Skinner Face is this beauty from warm-ups against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Forslund: That kid brought a lot of life to this team didn't he? I'm not sure there's anything he can't do.

Tripp: What about fight Johnny?

Forslund: You know Tripp, I don't think we ever saw him really drop the gloves this season and we had a few guys that did with frequency.

Tripp: That we did.  There's no shortage of guys on this team ready to drop the gloves for a teammate...some are just more successful than others and the next two awards reflect that.  First up, the award for best fighter.  Michigan native Tim Gleason has won this award in the past, but this year a new player took on the roll of Rocky for the team. (The words "Hollywood Reference" flash on the screen behind Tripp; audience members search their cards for the right square.) The award for Best Fighter goes to Troy Bodie this year!

"I whip my hair back and forth."
Forslund: Just so everyone is aware, to be eligible for this next award, a player has to still be a part of the team which means, unfortunately, Tom Kostopoulos was out of the running this year.  But, lucky for us a new player stepped up to gamely drop the gloves and end up dazed and confused

Tripp: Oh hey! That's a Hollywood reference Johnny!

(audience members scan their cards for a "Tripp references a Hollywood reference" square)

Forslund: Yes Tripp, I suppose it is.  (John mouths "HELP ME" at the camera) Anyways, this year's worst fighter award goes to Brandon Sutter for this...scrap? tussle? hissy fight? against Eric Brewer.

Forslund: (snickers) Wowza. That kid just should not fight.  It's not one of his talents.

Tripp: No John it's not.  Not everyone is a born fighter and you just can't teach that innate ability. You know what else you can't teach?

Forslund: (sighs) What Tripp?

Tripp: You just can't teach... (audience inhales sharply, pens are poised over bingo cards) the ability to grow a mustache.  (Audience groans in disappointment) 

Forslund: No I suppose you can't...your 2010-2011 Best Mustache winner is Brandon Sutter's SutterStache.

"If you think I'm sexy..."
(voiceover) Ladies and gentlemen, please stay in your seats during this brief commercial break.

(John stands on stage looking solemn) 

Forslund: Unfortunately, Tripp isn't going to be able to join me for this particular award presentation. However, we are very lucky to have a guest presenter for this category who has special insight into the criteria to win this award. Joining me in presenting the award for Best Bromance is....Eric Staal.

(Eric Staal does, in fact, walk onto the stage and is greeted by much applause from the audience. Eric gives a glance over his shoulder and nervously whispers to John.)

Staal: He's not coming out here right? I just present this award and can leave? (John nods, Staal turns to the camera. He's clearly uncomfortable and reads robotically. He keeps glancing over his shoulder.) I have had many great friends while on this team.  They have been fun and we've been very close.  Some may even call these friendships bromances.

Forslund: This year's nominees for Best Bromance are:

Joe Corvo and Erik Cole

Jeff Skinner and Erik Cole

Brandon Sutter and Chad LaRose

Erik Cole and Tim Gleason 

Chad LaRose and Tim Gleason

Staal (still glancing over his shoulder): Wow. That's a lot of great nominees, but only one bromance can win. And the winner is (opens envelope) Jeff Skinner and Erik Cole! 

(Staal vaults off the stage and runs out the back door just as Tripp comes back on stage.)

Tripp: What was all the commotion about? 

Forslund: Nothing Tripp let's move on to the next award.  As broadcasters, we both know that sometimes post-game quotes are tough to get so when we get a really good one from a player, it's refreshing.  In the past players like Tim Gleason and Manny Legace have given us great soundbites.  This year's winner comes from the land of Suomi and reindeer.  Tuomo Ruutu wins this category with his post-game quote from a game against the Washington Capitals. 
There were some plays that we weren't so happy about, you know, hate to start bitching...
Tripp: That Tuomo always knows exactly what to say. It's a gift I tell you. I wish I had it...

Forslund: I do too Tripp. Trust me, I do too.

Tripp: (looks puzzled, but shrugs it off) You know it gives me great pleasure to introduce a very special guest presenter for this next award. Being a former netminder myself...oh shoot. I wasn't supposed to mention that.

Forslund: Please welcome Tom Barrasso!

Barrasso: (comes to the microphone) Thank you for having me here today.  As Vladislav Tretiak once said, "there is no position in sport as noble as goaltending." A goaltender is the last line of defense, the last thing that stands between a win or a loss for his teammates.  Oftentimes, the goaltender is the make or break position and when they stand on their head to make a save, fans get on their feet in appreciation.  Carolina's goaltenders made a lot of great saves this season, but this one from Cam Ward stands out above the rest and fans recognized this.

(A Ward-o chant starts in the audience; Forslund comes back on stage)

Forslund: Thank you Tommy! What a great save from Cam right ladies and gentlemen?  He was a star this year for the Hurricanes, but fans have come to expect nothing less.  This next award honors a player that Canes' fans weren't as familiar with. The Brightest Star award is given to the player who is deemed to have the brightest future with the team.  Last year's winner Jamie McBain is here to present this award.

(Jamie comes to the microphone)

McBain: Thank you John.  It was a great honor to win the Brightest Star award last year and I know this next player views it the same way.  With 63 points, an All-Star bid and an outstanding rookie year, Jeff Skinner's future is so bright we all need shades.  (Jamie puts on a pair of sunglasses; crowd giggles)

Forslund: Let's give Jamie another round of applause for being here this evening! Great kid. (Jamie waves to crowd) Jeff Skinner defied all expectations because no one really had any expectations for him.  This next award honors a player who overcame a difficult go of it last year and wowed us with a complete turnaround this season.  Both Jay Harrison and Erik Cole really impressed this year, but the Best Comeback award goes to Erik Cole, who played what is possibly the best hockey of his career.  Congratulations Erik! 

Forslund: This next award may very well be my favorite of the night.  I have the...I am luck...I get to work with Tripp Tracy on a regular basis and he's always giving us great player interactions.  The Best Tripp Tracy Moment award highlights a moment that made us all laugh, especially me.  Your winner is Joe Corvo's "you're just a fountain of useless knowledge Tripp" comment.  (John chuckles) Oh that gets me every time.  (John continues to chuckle as he walks off stage)

(voiceover) Coming up after the break: Best Shift, the Toughest Player Award, Fan Favorite, Best Hit and Team MVP!

(Tripp and John stand at center stage) 

Tripp: I can't believe the night is almost over John! It doesn't even feel like it's lasted as long as a hockey shift!

Forslund: Funny you mention a hockey shift Tripp because the very next award we're giving out is the Best Shift award.  This year's winner has already picked up a lot of hardware this evening, but it's hard to deny that this shift from Jeff Skinner isn't one of the best of the season.

Tripp: Wow. That's a huge effort! (audience members make a mark on their bingo cards)

Forslund: Agreed Tripp. That kid became an instant star in Raleigh. His teammates love him and so do his fans.  In fact, they love him so much that they've voted him as this year's Fan Favorite.

Look at that grin! It's not a surprise that someone who smiles as much as this kid won this year. After all, last year's winner was the equally smiley Tuomo Ruutu.

Tripp: Speaking of Tuomo, he had an impressive year didn't he Johnny? His 309 hits put him in second place for the entire league! That's amazing!

Forslund: Exactly, he's had Caniacs Ruuing quite a bit this year.  Of course there has to be one hit that stands out among the rest and this hit from a March 1st game against the Florida Panthers seems to do just that.

Tripp: Ruuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu! Sorry I've always wanted to do that.  

Forslund: It'd be tough not to want to do that Tripp...almost as tough as dethroning this player from his title as Toughest Player. Tim Gleason has won this award every year so far and this year is no exception.  His teammates voted him the winner of the 2010-2011 Steve Chiasson Award and he's been a strong leader all year long. Congratulations Tim! 

(crowd looks a little intimidated by the ferocity of the Tim Gleason photo shown on the screen behind John and Tripp)

Forslund: Well this is it folks. We've arrived at the last award of the night: Team MVP.  Who's contributions were so significant that he can be singled out and looked at as most valuable? Will it be the 18 year old rookie who dazzled with his maturity and goal scoring ability? Will it be the veteran goaltender that singlehandedly kept his team in games with brilliant stop after brilliant stop? Or will it be one of the last holdovers from the '06 Cup team whose comeback bid and signature offensive move kept opponents guessing this season?  May I have the envelope please?  (Tripp hands John the envelope; John opens it as Tripp tries to peek at the results)

Forslund: Your 2010-2011 Team MVP is none other than...Cam Ward! (Tripp claps his hands in glee) He truly has had an exceptional year which is something that really doesn't surprise Canes' fans who saw him in action during the Cup run.  (video starts to play behind John and Tripp)

Forslund: History found us a hero indeed. Thank you everyone for joining us this evening as we looked back at a great hockey season in Raleigh. On behalf of myself, Tripp and all of the presenters tonight, I hope you enjoyed the show and we'll see you next year!

(audience cheers, a few people quietly remark to their neighbors that they had bingo.  This is met with a lot of shushing as the camera pulls away and the show ends)