That’s how Alex Gibney’s remarkable documentary, “The Last Gladiators,” begins: a tight close-up of a pair of hands that are small, delicate, and fragile looking. The camera stays focussed on those hands as their owner, Chris “Knuckles” Nilan, describes the abuse they took over a 13-year NHL career. Throughout the opening two minutes of the film, the camera doesn’t leave his hands: we get to know his knuckles before we ever see Nilan’s face.
It’s an appropriate opening, as many hockey fans likely know far more about Nilan’s fists than they know about Nilan as a person. “The Last Gladiators” changes that, giving an unprecedented look into the life of an NHL enforcer. Toward the end of the film, while working with a public speaking coach, Nilan seems uncomfortable introducing himself as “Knuckles.” His coach suggests instead, ”I bet some of you in this audience know me as “Knuckles” Nilan. I prefer ‘Chris’.” More than anything, this is a film about Chris.
I’m not exactly sure what people expect from award shows. If you’ve ever seen any, like so much as one in your life, you’re aware they’re not exactly a Louie CK stand-up hour of unadulterated hilarity, and it’s pretty unlikely your favourite band is going to show up and bang out your favourite song - they’re major events meant to appeal to the masses. With that in mind…I thought last night’s NHL Award Show from Las Vegas was just fine, and pretty entertaining. (Daniel Wagner gave his review here.)
I took notes along the way (how sad is that), so let’s mindlessly plow through every one with zero discretion.
For starters, here’s a list of who won the stuff that matters:
It’s become common practice for folks to slough off the NHL all-star game, because let’s face it, it isn’t very good.
That said, that doesn’t mean we should make a mockery of it – being selected to your league’s all-star team is a big deal. It’s nice to reflect on after your career, and more importantly, it’s nice to bring up at contract talks during your career.
While the New York Rangers may be one of the hottest teams on home ice this season at the partly renovated Madison Square Garden (5-1-1), the team’s fans don’t exactly feel at home just yet.
While it is hard to fully pass judgment on the arena given that only one of three phases has been completed, it’s clear that Blueshirts’ bloggers are quite opinionated when it comes to their “new” arena.
'"The Great One's" 3D legacy continues', so suggests the box cover.
Other than sitting in the dark looking at hockey stats and making dumb jokes on my Twitter feed, I spend some time in this basement playing video games on my old Nintendo 64. I was maybe 10 or 11 years old when my brother wanted us to trade in the N64 for $15 credit towards some Sega Dreamcast game. I aborted the mission at the eleventh hour (I used to get up before noon back then) and kept the N64 away in storage to use at a later time.
I realize now what a terrific investment that was. Being the only kid on your block with this video game console was real cool when you were 6, and also real cool when you’re 23. Rather than sit out in the cold and wait for the release of Modern Warfare 3 Monday night, I stayed home and played GoldenEye, a game with an infinite amount of replay value and won’t need to be replaced next year. Going through some old games, I have a few of the classic standards, but also found one I don’t remember: Wayne Gretzky’s 3D Hockey 1998. I popped it in to give it a go and see if it’s any good.