Here is a list of the non-hockey stars—"some of the biggest names in Hollywood"—the NHL will have on hand tonight for its Las Vegas awards ceremony (7 p.m., Versus): Jon Hamm, Jerry Bruckheimer, Kevin Smith, Jennifer Beals. OK, if not quite A-list, definitely a list. Unfortunately, they accompany repeat host Mohr (fast becoming the Billy Crystal of these NHL awards), that Far East Movement thing, and some other thing called Dierks Bentley.
Oh, NHL. We've spoken at some length about this before, but, you know, there's nothing wrong with employing serious acts or MCs. These groups wouldn't make the cut to be contingency bands on the American Idol results shows (although that Dierks thing apparently enjoys watching Idol), and yet the NHL squeals over them for pop-cult crossover. Same for Mohr, who's spawned more ill-fated vehicles than the abandoned AMC plant. Por que, NHL? Why not just plant your tongue all the way in your cheek and hire Bobcat Goldthwait and the Black Eyed Peas? Or you could have a goofy player host it. We've just come off a superb playoffs with big ratings—of course the NHL would have to remind us of its penchant to be exceedingly rinky-dink.
Then again, the whole affair is something of a jokey time capsule, harkening back to an era—Rat Pack and all—that never had a place in hockey. The game was long entrenched in Canada, the Northeast and the Upper Midwest, and its westward expansion came too late for fun. Now, though, we have the Palms packed with almost well dressed Euros and showgirls in evening wear. Maybe Jack Adams Award favorite Dan Bylsma will even show off his hat. We're laughing, mostly with the NHL, disappointed only in that damned G6 band and Gary Unmarried.
Oh, and one more silver lining, we suppose: We now have occasion for that Mohr-Lynn Hoppes sit-down about which we always fantasized:
Maybe actor/comedian Jay Mohr is mellowing.
With the recent birth of his son, Meredith, and his new job blogging about the "Real Housewives of New Jersey" for the Bravo Network's website, Mohr doesn't seem like a foul-mouth comedian anymore.
When asked how many jokes about the post-Stanley Cup Vancouver riots he'll use hosting the 2011 NHL Awards Show (7 p.m. ET) in Las Vegas on Wednesday, the 40-year-old Mohr took the high road.
"I'm very sensitive to the league and I know they don't want me to make that big of a deal of it. I think I have a couple," Mohr said reluctantly and then quipped: "Or maybe it's because I wasted all my good jokes on the 'Tonight Show' last week ... "
"In my stand-up, I have no sports jokes, so that's why I love doing these kinds of shows," said Mohr, who has hosted the NASCAR Awards and events for the NFL players' association. "My entire act is thrown out the window and I just start writing. Let's see, the city of Vancouver is the least likely ... "
Solid gold, Mohr. Solid gold.