Daily Archives: June 16, 2009

Hockey Pros, Celebrities Skate to First NHL Awards Ceremony in Las Vegas

Team sports businesses haven’t been exactly brimming with kindness to Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman.   Try as he might – bless his ever-loving, gin-drinking pickled heart – efforts to bring a pro major league team to Las Vegas throughout his tenure have not produced results.   Apparently, for now at least, the long established Las Vegas gambling brand doesn’t mix well with courting pro sports teams in the City of Entertainment. 

The good news, though, is that the National Hockey League will at be having their prestigious 2009 NHL Awards in Las Vegas and the NHL Players’ Association will also hold its annual North American summer meetings here around the awards show. NHLawards

It marks the first time the annual awards show is being held in Las Vegas, an event usually reserved for Toronto,  coinciding shortly after completion of the Stanley Cup playoffs. 

For the Las Vegas Wranglers, a minor league hockey farm club of the Calgary Flames of the NHL, it will undoubtedly be a a dream come true to conveniently head down the Strip and perchance rub elbows with the best pro players in the game. 

In the twilight of the Las Vegas mayor’s last term, the biggest names in major league pro hockey will  assemble in Las Vegas on June 18 at 4 p.m. at The Pearl Concert Theater in George Maloof’s Palms Casino & Hotel in Las Vegas, opting to briefly trade their rink ice for lots of ice to chill their drinks in the hot box of a town.   

For many Las Vegans, however, the event may be akin to witnessing a UFO experience of a different kind. Las Vegas denizens don’t bet on hockey games, let alone who is going to win the MVP Trophy or Coach of the Year. They have way to many other things to do these days- like worrying about their jobs and paying their mortgages. 

And, if you’re an Ordinary Joe, you’ll need to really dig deep in your tattered wallet to be a part of the history-making hoopla– attending will set you back $504 at least per seat. 

But, from most accounts, for those that are fortunate to attend (or go in hoc trying), it should be a pretty good bash, inasmuch as owner George Maloof knows a thing or two about sports and Las Vegas since he is the owner of the NBA’s Sacramento Kings. 

“We are so thrilled to be the host of the 2009 NHL Awards,” Palms Owner George Maloof said in a statement. “Working with the National Hockey League in bringing this event to Las Vegas is something that will be great for our community.”

At the ceremony the league will announce top performers in a variety of categories including valuable player (Hart Trophy), outstanding goaltender (Vezina Trophy), outstanding defenseman (Norris Trophy), outstanding rookie (Calder Trophy), and best coach (Jack Adams Award).

To sweeten the attendance draw, award-winning multi-platinum recording artist Robin Thicke and Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Chaka Khan will perform, and Saturday Night Live bandleader Katreese Barnes will head up the NHL Awards house band.

Celebrity hockey-loving fans Snoop Dogg, Michael Buble, William Fichtner, Tricia Helfer, Lauren Holly, Colin Ferguson and others are scheduled to appear alongside such NHL stars as Alex Ovechkin and Mike Green of the Washington Capitals, Evgeni Malkin of the Pittsburgh Penguins, Pavel Datsyuk and Nicklas Lidstrom of the Detroit Red Wings, Kris Versteeg of the Chicago Blackhawks, Zdeno Chara and Tim Thomas of the Boston Bruins, Mike Richards of the Philadelphia Flyers and many more planning to attend.

Past and present NHL stars are also scheduled to participate in the 2009 NHL Awards include Tony Esposito, Sergei Fedorov, Ron Francis, Doug Gilmour, Kelly Hrudey, Pat LaFontaine, Igor Larionov, Brian Leetch, Reggie Lemelin, Mark Messier, Stan Mikita, Andy Moog, Joe Nieuwendyk, Luc Robitaille and Jeremy Roenick.

Athough it’s the inaguaral event for the City of Entertainment, it will be more than a one-night stand for the City of Entertainment.  The NHL and the Las Vegas Convention and Visitor’s Authority (LVCVA) have inked a three-year agreement to continue to bring the NHL awards to the Pearl Concert Theater at the Palms Casino & Hotel.

The awards will be broadcast live from the Pearl Concert Theater inside the Palms Hotel Las Vegas on high definition VERSUS in the United States and CBC in Canada.  NHL.com will provide streaming Internet coverage of the red carpet arrivals.  The Canadian band Arkells will perform.

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‘Science of Snot’ on Gross Display at Las Vegas Kids’ Museum

Many kids – and many adults, for that matter - love talking about their body “unmentionables,” sometime even celebrating the gross nature and experience of all.  Barf, burps and flatulence speak are all fair game to the truly uninhibited- IF you dare.

Now, “Grossology,” essentially the study of body ickiness, is on raw display at the Lied Discovery Children’s Museum in Las Vegas with enough exhibits on bodily secretions, noises and odors to make any grade-schooler or adult giggle uncontrollably. 

The exhibit is based on the popular children’s books with the same name, which are normally not used in classrooms but are available in public school libraries, says Mary Pike, the director of science and foreign language education for the Clark County School District in Las Vegas.

Pike said teachers appreciated how the gross can be so engrossing to so many. 

But, before you parents get the wrong idea (or a case of the giggles), not all bodily functions are explained.  Thankfully, human reproduction – SEX – is not part of “Grossology” exhibit or in books. 

By not covering sex, “Grossology” author Sylvia Branzei-Velasquez says she could be more irreverent and whimsical in her approach. 

“There is nothing very controversial about barf or poo or scabs,” she says. 

For those children and adults that still can’t get their fill of gross stuff, they can also see the real human body in full gorey detail at “Bodies…The Exhibition” at the Luxor, 3900 Las Vegas Blvd., www.luxor.com.   It provides a morgue-like display of preserved organs and skeltons. 

“Grossology” is open now and continues through September 7 at the Lied Discovery Children’s Museum, 833 Las Vegas Blvd.  For tickets and times, surf on over to www.ldcm.org

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E-Cigarettes Puff into Las Vegas – Passing Fad?

Party in any Las Vegas nightclub, or most anywhere else in the city for that matter, and you’ll most likely be overcome with smoke.   However, it’s now a crime now to light up, drink and eat in the same unenclosed area in Nevada bars.  Bar owners claim this law hurts their business in already a down economy. 

Now, a new trend is rapidly emerging that replaces tobacco cigarettes with faux ones, the battery operated kind whose nicotine can be inhaled anywhere, even in areas governed by “clean indoor air” laws. 

Electronic or “E-cigarettes,” as they are called, are manufactured mostly in China, but now they are making rapid inroads in U.S. markets, and, yes, even in Las Vegas.   E-Cig Technology in Las Vegas is one such distributor that even showed their cigs in January at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. 

The electronic cigarette kits sell for approximately $80.  Cartridges that are both refillable and replaceable are the business end of electronic cigarettes, which contain no tobacco and emit a harmless mist but no smoke.  And the most popular cartridges are those that contain a variable, user dialed-in amount of nicotine, the drug craved by tobacco addicts. 

The perceived advantage of e-cigarettes is that the hundreds of other harmful chemicals found in tobacco smoke are not present.  

Some brands resemble pens while others look almost like regular cigarettes. The main idea is to give tobacco smokers the sensation they’ve grown comfortable with- holding a cigarette between their fingers and inhaling every few seconds to achieve a nicotine high. 

E-cigarettes are even packed with propylene glycol – the same chemical used in antifreeze – to simulate smoke, giving them a “lit” look. 

Many habitual smokers are turning to the novel product as a way of either kicking or reducing their tobacco habit.  

This is all well and good, if not for the fact that studies of e-cigarettes have never been completed in the U.S., either by private labs or by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). 

In fact, the FDA has never even authorized e-cigarettes to be sold in the U.S., leading one FDA official to merely call them “unapproved drug device products.”  

But that laissez faire attitude may change now that the U.S. Congress has passed tobacco bill legislation on June 12, giving the Food and Drug Administration for the first time authority to regulate what goes into tobacco products, demand changes and eliminate toxic substances and block the introduction of new smoking products. 

Consumer groups that endorsed the new bill said that properly implementing the law can significantly reduce the 400,000 deaths and $100 billion in health care costs attributed every year to smoking.

About 45 million U.S. adults still smoke, despite years of warnings that tobacco causes lung cancer.

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