NHL Awards: Puck Daddy chats with MacKinnon, Bishop, O’Reilly and Toews

LAS VEGAS – There is nothing more fun to do in Las Vegas than stand around in a crowded, hot room asking a bunch of Canadians about how much it sucks to have not won the Stanley Cup this past season. On Monday, I had the opportunity to do just that at the 2014 NHL Awards media day. It was  great hearing the same answer over and over, and  totally worth getting hit in the head by overzealous cameramen several times.
Perhaps it was the heat exhaustion or my limited attention span, but it finally hit me – I’m not a serious journalist. Why else would Yahoo send Nick Cotsonika, an actual journalist, to Vegas in addition to me? 
With that (imaginary) heavy burden lifted, it was time to start asking the real questions people want to know. Nathan MacKinnon, Ben Bishop, Ryan O’Reilly, and Jonathan Toews went under the microscope, and their responses may surprise you.

Nathan MacKinnon, Colorado Avalanche

PD: I’m with Yahoo’s Puck Daddy. I’m totally sick of asking serious questions.

NM: Okay

PD: So, how’s the weekend?

NM: It’s been fun

PD: So far? Even being what, are you 19 now? Nooo. You’re not even 19 yet. Aww, next you’ll be driving.

NM: Nah, I’ve been driving for four years.

PD: In Canada it’s 16?

NM: Yeah

PD: I’m from California. It’s 18 there. Weird right?

NM: Okay, yeah, right.

PD: What have you done so far?

NM: I only got in yesterday. So I just kinda walked around

PD: Are you really sick of being compared to Sidney Crosby, yet?

NM: Uhhh, I think that ended a couple years ago. It’s not really going on.

PD: Oh come on… Anything else? What are you looking forward to this weekend? Jon Cooper from the Lightning said it was going to be an Avalanche party.

NM: Oh really? It could be a Tampa party, too. I guess we’ll see. I don’t know. It’s going to be fun, obviously with my family and friends. Looking forward to it. We’ll have some good dinner tonight, go walk around. Play a little golf here.

PD: It’s only a hundred million degrees outside.

NM: Yeah, exactly.

PD: Did you ever think you’d be standing right here, right now? Being nominated for Rookie of the Year?

NM: I didn’t really think about the awards. I just always wanted to make the NHL as a kid. I didn’t really think about winning anything, and potentially I could here. Definitely pretty surreal, I think.

PD: Are you a fan of the X-Men?

NM: Pardon?

PD: Are you a fan of the X-Men? I know it’s random.

NM: No

PD: OH! You aren’t?!

NM: Nah

PD: What’s your favorite super hero then?

NM: Uh, probably Superman

PD: Why? (pause) C’mon Nate!

NM: I’ve always wanted to be able to fly.

PD: Very good. Thank you.

NM: Yeah, no problem.

Ben Bishop, Tampa Bay Lightning

PD: Don’t worry, I’m not going to ask any serious questions.

BB: Oh, then I don’t want to talk to you. (Laughs)

PD: Yes, you’re a serious athlete… I’m from Puck Daddy on Yahoo.

BB: Oh, okay

PD: We a little bit weird there, and I’m tired of asking serious questions. So, how ya doing?

BB: Doing great! We’re in Vegas.

PD: Have you won anything so far?

BB: No. I got in late last night…and so now

PD: <cuts him off> Aaaand you went to sleep?!

BB: Nooo.

PD: Okay

BB: We went out but we didn’t gamble. So we’ll try our luck today.

PD: What’s your favorite game then?

BB: Probably blackjack.

PD: Good

BB: I like to think that I like craps, but I don’t know how to play so it’s kind of…

PD: I just stand there and cheer.

BB: Yeah, exactly. I see everyone go wild and I wish I knew how to play.

PD: I just want to be the person that rolls the dice, but apparently there’s a rule to that. I don’t know.

BB: Yeah, I don’t know.

PD: Do you like the X-Men?

BB: Yeah, I do. I’m not like a big fan. I’ve watched it before.

PD: Do you have a favorite one?

BB: Maybe Wolverine?

PD: That’s everyone’s go-to answer. I’m trying to find more people that are nerds like me that really love it… Um, how are you feeling?

BB: I’m feeling good. Getting better. I had surgery almost eight-weeks ago. So, it’s getting better, slow, it’s kind of one day at a time right now.

PD: Which one is worse: Florida heat or Vegas heat?

BB: You know, Florida isn’t too bad right now.

PD: (Exasperated) I lived there! It’s terrible!

BB: But it’s worse in the upcoming months, but 105-degrees today, that’s pretty hot.

PD: Are you golfing?

BB: I’m not

PD: Okay. Yeah, me neither. I know I look like a golfer, though.

BB: (courtesy laugh)

PD: Anything else you want to say? How was your season, aside from the disappointing ending we won’t talk about?

BB: Yeah, it was a lot of fun. We have a good group of guys in Tampa. It’s obviously a great place to play. We’ve got a good young team going forward, so it should be an exciting few years coming up.

PD: Awesome. We look forward to watching ya’.

BB: Thank you.

PD: Thanks, Ben.

Ryan O’Reilly, Colorado Avalanche

PD: I am with Puck Daddy on Yahoo, and I don’t want to ask serious questions anymore. I won’t ask you about contracts or anything else.

ROR: (Laughs) No worries. Go ahead.

PD: How’s your summer going?

ROR: Good, good. Just hanging out in Denver, enjoying the nice weather.

PD: You’re golfing…(Looks at his outfit) You’re probably not golfing today? That’s not a golf outfit.

ROR: Yeah, no, no. Unfortunately I’m not golfing today. Gotta stay away from that for a little bit.

PD: Are you a fan of the X-Men?

ROR: I am.

PD: Can you tell me your favorite X-Man? X-woman? Or X-person?

ROR: I do like Wolverine. I haven’t seen …

PD: (cuts him off) That’s the go-to answer. So boring!

ROR: You got Hugh Jackman, just cut, and just, he’s Hugh Jackman. If you’ve seen the ones he’s in, he’s in pretty much every one of them.

PD: Yeah, he is.

ROR: I haven’t seen the recent one, but anytime watching him makes you want to hit the gym a bit harder.

PD: He’s gigantic. He says he trains every single day. Could you imagine getting that big and still skating upright?

ROR: I don’t know if I could skate properly that big, but it’s definitely fun to watch him get huge. Kind of rule the world, pretty much.

PD: How are you enjoying Vegas? Did you get in last night, too?

ROR: Yeah, I got in last night.

PD: Did you go to sleep?

ROR: We went and saw a couple things. I’m with my girlfriend and it’s the first time she’s ever been here.

PD: That must be crazy

ROR: So, I took her around and showed her some things, which is exciting. Obviously it’s a great place to be, and the weather is unbelievable.

PD: Really, 105-degrees is unbelievable?!

ROR: Well, yeah. I’ve been in Denver it’s warm. Coming here it’s perfect. I’m laying by the pool and stuff. You can’t get that most places.

PD: I guess I’m pale, I catch on fire in the sun.

ROR: (courtesy laugh) Well, I’m Irish too. I gotta make sure I use sunblock, too. I burn real quick.

PD: Yeah, I’m about an SPF 120… So, anything else you want to end the season on? I mean, obviously, it wasn’t the way you guys wanted. Your outlook for next season? You’re excited? You’re…blah blah blah?

ROR: I’m very excited for next season. Obviously we’ve got a lot of good pieces that are coming back together. Working together, we’ve got a good chance of winning. Obviously it was a heartbreaking end to the season for us, but we’re excited. There’s just so many pieces that we could do some damage.

PD: Yeah, you guys are scary.

ROR: (Laughs)

PD: Good luck. Stay healthy. I hope nobody else talks to you about the contract.

ROR: (Laughs) Thanks

Jonathan Toews, Chicago Blackhawks

PD: I’m from Puck Daddy on Yahoo. I’m going to ask you some not serious questions because I’m bored of asking those.

JT: Okay

PD: You have the Wolverine chops. Do you actually watch X-Men?

JT: Uh <pause> I’ve seen the one movie. I don’t know if there’s like two or three of them, but I haven’t seen any of them

PD: I think there’s like seven of them.

JT: Is there seven?

PD: Yeah, I think so.

JT: Okay then, times two then.

PD: How’s your summer going? Aside from the ending, but everything else, how’s your summer?

JT: Really good, really good. It took a while to get over the loss…for a while. Trying my best to relax and enjoy my life away from hockey, so that when it’s time to go back to work, I’ll get as motivated as I can be. Right? <Grins>

PD: You’re going to play golf. What people don’t know is that you’re wearing seersucker pants right now. Did you know that’s what those are called?

JT: Why are they called seersucker?

PD: I don’t know why they’re called seersucker but they are. You’re going to go play golf in the 112 [degree] heat.

JT: Yeah.

PD: That’s badass

JT: Should be fun, right?

PD: Right?

JT: I got a big bottle of water (shows me Fiji bottle) I’ll just dump it on my head.

PD: Anything else? How’s summer? You actually get time off. Do you know what to do?

JT: I’m in Las Vegas. I don’t have to think real hard to find anything fun.

PD: You’re going to let loose?

JT: Yeah, a little bit.

PD: A little bit?

JT: A tiny bit.

PD: So we won’t see you on TMZ the next day?

JT: I don’t think so. Hopefully not. It’s more undercover.

PD: Sounds good. And did you sleep last night?

JT: A little bit, yeah.

PD: A little bit. ‘kay. That’s good. Standard answer. Thanks, Jonathan.

JT: I probably look like I didn’t sleep last night.

PD: You look fine.