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Steve Mason's NHL Awards Blog - Wednesday

by Steve Mason / Columbus Blue Jackets

Blog 3 – June 17, 2009 (5:30 p.m. PT Wednesday)

Hello everyone. I just spent my first afternoon in Vegas and the one thing I got out of it was blisters. We went down to the strip and walked EVERYWHERE. I can't remember the last time I walked that much. We checked out a few of the other hotel-casinos. Caesar's Palace and the Bellagio were two of them. I gambled a lit bit – slot machines – for fun, but mostly we just took it all in.

There are a ton of shopping places here. We went to Forum Shops at Caesar's Palace and there was an Elvis impersonator actually singing in one of the stores. That was pretty cool… sort of creepy, but cool. There was another place across the street from Bellagio that had a ton of stores, too.

The strip was crazy. It was Wednesday afternoon and there were people everywhere. There were cars everywhere. We had to take a cab from the Palms to the strip and it seemed like we spent more time sitting on the strip than actually moving. Also, earlier I said that it wasn't that hot, but I think I'll change that. It definitely got hotter as the day went on.

Well that was it for this afternoon. It was pretty low-key really. Tonight, my girlfriend and I are going to meet some people from the Blue Jackets and some corporate sponsors and guests for dinner. We are going to an Italian restaurant at the Wynn Hotel. It should be pretty nice. I'm sure we'll check out a few more places tonight after dinner.

Tomorrow is going to be a really exciting day. I'm really looking forward to being a part of the Awards Show. I've watched on TV in the past and it is really surreal to be a part of it. It should be a lot of fun. I'll check back in tomorrow before the day gets crazy busy. Thanks again for checking out the blog.


Blog 2 – June 17, 2009 (12:15 p.m. PT Wednesday)

Steve Mason and his family arrive at the airport in Las Vegas.

Well, here we are in Vegas. It's not as hot as I thought it would be, but I'm sure that's going to change. All the travel was pretty smooth and uneventful. We cleared customs in Toronto. The flight left on time and landed on time, so you can't ask for much more than that. The only complaint I have was there was no movie on the flight. What's up with that? A five-hour flight and no movie! Oh well, I had my IPod and I read a couple of my girlfriend's gossip magazines so it wasn't too bad.

We landed at the airport and met Todd Sharrock, our PR guy from the Blue Jackets, and Michael from the NHL who arranged a limo for us. After we got our bags and got to the car we almost had our first travel incident. The limo driver was very nice, but I think she got distracted trying to put all the bags in the trunk and almost shut the keys in it with the bags. Actually, she kind of did, but the trunk was not completely shut so she was able to pry them out. Hopefully, that bit of luck our first 20 minutes in Las Vegas is a good sign!

Interview (already!!) in the lobby at the Palms.

We got to the Palms and checked in. I then met with Jamey from NHL PR, who gave me a run down of what's planned for tomorrow. After a quick newspaper interview in the lobby, we headed up to our rooms. There is nothing Awards-related scheduled for today so I think we're going to take in some sights. I'm sure will check out a few of the other hotels and we talked about possibly taking a helicopter tour. Or, maybe will just hang out at the pool. My grandpa has been here a bunch of times on business, so I'm sure he'll have a few ideas. I'll check back in later this afternoon.



Blog 1 – June 17, 2009 (early Wednesday morning)

First of all, thanks for checking out my blog. I've never done anything like this before, but hopefully it will be OK and you will enjoy reading about my trip to the 2009 NHL Awards in Las Vegas. I've been back home in Oakville, Ontario (near Toronto) since the season ended. I took a few weeks off and went on a trip to Cuba to unwind a little bit. For the past three or four weeks, I've been working out every day and have even skated once. I've been hanging out with some friends and watching the playoffs, which were really exciting (although I would have much rather been playing than watching on TV). It has been a pretty good start to the summer.

I'm really looking forward to the trip this week. For one, I've never been to Las Vegas so that should be pretty cool. Luckily, I turned 21 a few weeks ago so I will actually be allowed in The Palms for the show. (I wonder how that would've worked if my birthday was a month or two later?) Anyway, I'm mostly excited to be a part of the Awards with all the great players in the NHL.

The whole thing is pretty surreal considering where I was a year ago. I had hurt my knee, so I spent most of last summer rehabbing. I still wasn't 100 percent at training camp and had to undergo another surgery, so I really wasn’t completely ready to play until the end of October, early-November. After a couple of games in Syracuse, I got called up and the rest is history I guess.

Last season was a great experience, not only for me personally but for the team. To be a part of the first Blue Jackets team to make the playoffs was really special. We accomplished a lot, but we all wish we would have done better against the Red Wings. It was a great experience and something that I think will make us a better team. The main reason I am going to the awards is because of my teammates. I couldn't have done the things I did without the guys in front of me. We have a real hard-working team and that definitely helped make my job a lot easier.

Back to the trip, I am home in Oakville, Ontario (near Toronto) right now. I'm actually writing this on Tuesday night because we have to leave for the airport around 6 a.m. We've got a direct flight that leaves at 8:30 and we get into Las Vegas at about 10:15. I think it is Pacific time, so I guess the flight will be just under five hours. I wonder if there is a movie on the flight?

I've got five people traveling with me – my mom, Donna; sister, Melanie; girlfriend, Amberleigh; my grandfather on my mom's side, Wallace Pollock; and my aunt Deborah. My dad, Bill, was supposed to come, but he's had some health problems and isn’t allowed to fly. We're all really disappointed about that because he really wanted to be there and I really wanted him there. He has always been unbelievably supportive of me and my sister and I know he would’ve really had a great time. But I know he'll be watching on TV (Thursday night at 7 p.m. Eastern on CBC in Canada and Versus in the U.S. – how’s that for a shameless broadcast plug?)

Well, I'm going to finish packing because I'm not typically an early morning person and I don't want to have to deal with it tomorrow (or today, since I think this is going to be posted in the morning). Thanks again for checking out the blog. I'll get something else up after we get to Vegas and get checked into the hotel. We're staying at The Palms, which is where they filmed The Real World a few years ago. Bye for now.

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