LAS VEGAS -- OK, so I didn't win the Hart Trophy or the Ted Lindsay Award. Sure it's disappointing, but I didn't really expect to win either, so the hopes weren't really crushed when I heard the results.
Evgeni Malkin had a dominant season. He deserves both.
It's just an honor in itself to be nominated for those awards. With the players in this League, to be recognized as a top-three player with Malkin and Henrik Lundqvist is rewarding in itself.
Obviously, I would have loved to win one of them, but I knew that not making the playoffs was going to hurt my chances. Obviously, Geno had an unbelievable season and that was going to be a season tough to beat regardless if we made the playoffs or not. But when you do help your team get into the playoffs, it definitely helps your chances.
Still, it was still an exciting year. I had a lot of fun and I'm looking forward to having another season like that -- with a playoff berth included in it.
As for the show, I thought it was the best I have attended. It gets bigger and better every year. The venue was great. And, of course, I got to get in the show a little bit.
Let me be totally honest -- I had no clue about that "Dancing With the Stars" bit. Cheryl Burke was doing a scene beside me and I saw the teleprompter, saw my name, and I was like, 'Oh no, I might have to get up here.' My face probably turned a couple of shades of red, but at least I didn't drop her.
She made me dip her -- at least that's what I think they call the move in dancing -- and I was on a little bit of an incline there, so I was a little worried, but I didn't drop her. Man, if I did, I probably would have gotten sued by "Dancing With the Stars." Who knows? Thankfully, I didn't. That definitely caught me off guard.
Overall, it was just an amazing experience. Any time you get a chance to come to these awards it's an honor, and to get nominated for two MVP awards -- obviously I would have loved to win one of them, but maybe it's some motivation for next time. I enjoyed the moment and enjoyed the experience with the family members that came down. I had a blast.
And, now it's back to the gym Friday morning. I'll probably be getting a call here from Gary Roberts soon about my training. It's back to the normal routine of the summer and that's about it.
I'm really driven now. As a team we realized how close we were in 2011, getting to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals, yet we know now how so far away we also were. The tough part for me was that Game 7 against Boston was our 100th game of the season, and that was just to get into the Stanley Cup Final.
This past season we might have gotten caught with our hand in the cookie jar, expecting a little too much because of that playoff run. We've all learned lessons and we've matured as players through this process. The core guys are still there and we know what it takes. We'll be better prepared next year.
I've got to get back to my preparation now. Good-bye, Vegas.
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