The Washington Times - June 12, 2008, 06:56PM


They’re just about ready to get cooking here in Toronto at the NHL Awards Show. The red carpet walk is in full swing outside on Yonge Street. Two of the more interesting sights: 1) a guy outside the ropes with a parrot on his shoulder and a small dog under his arm. Not sure what that was all about. 2) A mascot-sized Mario (the Mario of Nintendo fame, of course)carrying a cardboard cover of the upcoming NHL 2K9 down the red carpet.



Before the festivities began, there was availability with all of the awards finalists in the media room here at the Elgin Theatre. Alex Ovechkin was, as has become his custom, at the center of attention. He was in rare form as well, discussing everything from his vacation plans to his sense of style to his, um, desire to make plans for after the show with an unsuspecting female reporter. There are athletes who spit out cliches, and there is Alex Ovechkin, who hits on female reporters, even if it was in good fun.


The other funny item from the “pre-game” was Chicago rookie Patirck Kane. He showed up in the corner of the room in a black shirt, black jacket — and gray shorts. Thankfully he had time to put on his pants before walking down the red carpet.


While many of the players have donned conservative outfits, Ovechkin is decked out in a fire engine red bow tie and vest. I mention fire engines because the fire alarm just went off in here, but it was a false alarm.