The NHL Awards is always one of the highlights of the year. It’s where the best players in the world get rewarded for all their efforts over the past season. And it’s always awesome to see so many stars under the same roof. But the NHL Awards isn’t just about celebrating good players; it’s about comedy and excitement as well.
Many believe the comedy during the Awards isn’t as great nowadays as it used to be, and it’s hard to disagree. The 1997 NHL Awards Show was probably peak comedy, and it’s one sketch that still makes us laugh hard.
Ron MacLean hosted the show, and just like Saturday Night Live, the show started with a sketch before the credits.
In this particular one, Ron MacLean had some devastating news to share with Hall of Famer Phil Esposito, and he wasn’t happy.
Phil Esposito was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1985. He skated in 1,282 NHL games, putting up 1,590 points with 717 goals and 873 assists. Esposito is now Nr. 7 on the All-Time goals scored list, but at the time, he was Nr. 4, only behind Wayne Gretzky, Gordie Howe, and Marcel Dionne.
But in the sketch, Ron MacLean had found some new information that would change everything.
”Since the season’s over I’ve been doing some work for the NHL Statistics and Rules Committee, and I’m afraid I have a little bad news for you,” MacLean said.
MacLean then mentioned the video enforcement of the ”in the crease rule” and how it would change how many goals Esposito has scored during his career.
”They’ve decided to make it retroactive to 1963, and I’m afraid your career goals total isn’t what it used to be,” MacLean said.
As it turned out, Esposito wasn’t Nr. 4 All-Time anymore. Instead, he hadn’t even scored 20 goals.
”You’re three behind Doug Houda…but hey, look, Phil…you’re still ahead of your brother Tony.”
The sketch ends with MacLean asking Esposito for Dino Ciccarelli’s phone number, and Esposito responds by slamming the phone down.
This is pure comedy gold!