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)


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