Wednesday, June 20, 2012 | 5:30 p.m.
2012 NHL Awards predictions
Celebrities will join NHL legends and stars on this afternoon’s red carpet for the televised 2012 NHL Awards at Encore Theater in the Wynn.
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman told me Tuesday night at a VIP awards pre-party at nearby Encore Beach Club and Surrender in Steve Wynn’s Encore as the Stanley Cup went on display there: “This will be our best year to date in Las Vegas. It’s our fourth, but first at the Wynn.
“Our new deal calls for another two years at the Wynn, but, to be honest, I hope we’ll be here forever. It’s absolutely great to hold our awards in the desert. Everybody thinks Vegas is the best.”
It’s a 4 p.m. start for the entertainers, presenters and winners for the 7 p.m. ET broadcast on NBC Sports and CBC TV and CBCSports.ca in Canada. Hundreds of fans have flown in for the star-studded party.
Expect to see chart-topping rockers Nickelback on the red carpet, along with presenters and guests Matthew Perry, Kevin Connolly, Colin Hanks, Cory Monteith, Ray Liotta, Mark Messier, Ted Lindsay, Cheryl Burke, Diane Kruger and Joshua Jackson.
Stanley Cup winner Jonathan Quick and Los Angeles Kings teammate Dustin Brown are among the NHL stars and nominees, alongside Henrik Lundqvist, Evgeni Malkin, Steven Stamkos, Zdeno Charta, Erik Karlsson, Shea Weber and Pavel Datsyuk. Pekke Rinne and Claude Giroux are finalists in the EA Sports NHL 13 cover vote.
The NHL Awards honor the best regular season players with the Hart Trophy going to the Most Valuable Player, the Vezina Trophy for Outstanding Goaltender, the Norris Trophy for Outstanding Defenseman and the Calder Trophy for Outstanding Rookie; there are 17 awards in all.
Here’s a YouTube video of the predicted winners from ESPN.
Against the backdrop of the excitement is a possible looming dark cloud as the current Collective Bargaining Agreement between players and owners expires Sept. 15, and new negotiations will kick off formally soon.
Gary huddled with several team owners using party time to talk business. “It’s been a very good year for the league,” Gary told me. “Attendance is up, business is good, and the fans are growing and enjoying the sport. We are happy to come to Vegas and celebrate.”
On Tuesday, several of the ice stars traded their skates for Dream Racing at Las Vegas Motor Speedway behind the wheels of a Ferrari F430 GT, a car specifically tuned for the track that is not street legal. The stars learned about Ferrari from Dream Racing owner and former pro driver Adriano de Micheli.
We’ll have a report with photographs and video on Thursday.
PORN PARADE: Former Skid Row drummer Phil Varone says he has absolutely no regrets giving up rock to become a porn star: “I make more money in porn than the music business, but it’s more about being in control of my own life than being part of four or five guys in a group determining the direction you go,” he told me at the Porn to Rock party at Deja Vu Adult Emporium sponsored by Baci Lingerie.
“Ever since I made my own celebrity sex tape with groupies, I’ve gotten out of music. Now I have a video series of my swinging lifestyle. My girlfriend is fine with it because we have an open relationship.” Phil’s new vibrating adult-toy line modeled from his own body parts were on sale. Porn princess Belladonna, who tried on some of the 210 sexy eyelash accessories, said: “I feel like I have wings on my eyes.”
Then she revealed that after 13 years of making XXX movies, she needs a new challenge. “I was nervous the first time I did porn, but now it just comes naturally. I need to be nerve-wracked again, so I’ve signed up for my first horror movie -- and I think I’ll go more mainstream from now on.” Also partying, tattooed adult actress and movie producer Joanna Angel, who had a huge line of fans waiting for her autograph and photograph.
HIP HOP CHAMPIONS: Electrolytes, winners of “MTV Presents Randy Jackson’s America’s Best Dance Crew,” perform Thursday at Fremont Street Experience (THURS) as the defending USA Hip Hop Dance Champions. Former Mayor Oscar Goodman will be there for a preview of the upcoming 11th Annual USA and World Hip Hop Dance Championships returning here for the fifth consecutive year.
I can reveal that the recipient of Hip Hop International’s 2012 Living Legend will be unveiled there, and for the first time it will go to a renowned dance crew that will have Las Vegas abuzz. The world’s best street dancers from 40 countries will be at Red Rock Resort from July 30-Aug. 4 followed by Orleans Arena on Aug. 5 for the finals.
COOLS MOVE: As previously reported here, it’s now official that hypnotist Anthony Cools moves to the Pacific Ballroom at Bally’s as of Thursday while his current showroom at the nearby Paris is remodeled. The naughty and sexy show will be at Bally’s until July 22 when he’ll jump back to the Paris -- providing the work crew has completed their task on deadline.
Los Angeles Kings captain Dustin Brown partied at Pure in Caesars Palace on Tuesday night with his teammates. Also there: Colin Hanks and his wife Samantha Bryant.
Vegan Steve Wynn dined at Gordon Ramsay Steak in the Paris with Keep Memory Alive chief Larry Ruvo and found plenty of veggies to stay on his diet. Chef Steve Martorano of Cafe Martorano at the Rio appeared on VH1’s “Big Buzz” talking about his food and jewelry line.
Carson Kressley, Irina Boubnovskaia and Iveta Lukosiute from the “Dancing With the Stars: Live in Las Vegas” at the Tropicana fox trotted down the Strip to watch Flamingo headliner comedian George Wallace’s late show.
Punk band All Time Low celebrated lead guitarist Jack Barakat’s 24th birthday at the Beachlife pool party. Jack was presented with a birthday cake and joined by Shiny Toy Guns lead singer Carah Faye and band members of Yellowcard, Of Mice and Men, Every Time I Die and We the Kings. Jack and his entourage also enjoyed dinner at Johnny Smalls and then a second birthday dinner the next night at Pink Taco.
The Vans Warped Tour is day into night with more than 75 bands performing on 12 stages on the Strip opposite the Luxor. Drink plenty of water; it’s a scorcher! Expect Impending Doom, Yellowcard, Streetlight Manifesto and Pierce the Veil in the lineup.
Check back for our coverage of the 2012 NHL Awards and the Vans Warped Tour.
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
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