Does this bring back memories from when you were in your draft year? "They never had this when I was going through. These guys get to see each other throughout the league and that's a lot of fun. They get to compare each other. It's an honor for them to be here for the three days. It's not really an All-Star game. They're trying to get drafted and get to the next level. The intensity is going to be a lot higher."
What's your message to the kids? "Do what got you here, don't change anything. Anything in sports, it's do what got you there, play hard, have fun. Take it all in. These are some of the fun things. Sometimes kids come and forget to take it all in and they remember 10 years later. Come here, work hard, take it all in and have fun with it. These are the stepping stones not all kids get to do."
Anyone you're looking forward to seeing in the game tonight? "It's all of them. I look up to all these guys. It's fun stuff. I'm coaching 11-year-olds, so any time I get out and watch the big guys play it's a lot of fun to see how they progress. It's great to see how much talent there is from top to bottom compared to when I played. There's a lot of talented kids out there and that's what's fun to see."
What about being on the ice with Doug Gilmour again? "It's always fun. I just stand there and tell him to pass the puck. I just get in the slot and shoot it. It's fun anytime you're in the Center and you're out in the middle of the Air Canada Centre. To be part of this, it's fun."
|Doug Gilmour night Toronto Maple LEafs banner ceremony|
How does an event like this compare to when you were going through your draft year? "It wasn't the same when we went through the draft. This is very special. You see the faces, the commitment in their eyes being here and what they want to do for their stocks to rise. It's going to be a good hockey game today."
It's a big deal seeing Nugent-Hopkins and Couturier going head to head: "I think there's a lot of time left as the year goes on with their club teams. So it's not going to make or break it, but at the same time they want to go out and put a show on. I don't think we're going to match that. We'll put him (Nugent-Hopkins) on against somebody else. This is going to be a fun game. Stan (Butler, assistant coach) and I and Wendel, we want to win the game."
Did you get a taste of the intensity during the 3-on-3 last night? "Towards the end, the second part of it, it got going. There was a little bit of bitterness and chippiness, but it's good to see. It means they care."
What's your message to the kids? "The biggest message is just go out … obviously you're here for a reason, and prove what you're worth. Go out and work hard."
Any wager with Don tonight? "I haven't even gone over there -- yet. I'm sure we'll talk about that as we get here tonight. I know Killer (Brian Kilrea) is chirping at me, too."
What did you think of Tomas Jurco and some of the moves in the Breakaway Shootout last night? "That was pretty sweet. I've never seen that one before. You see the kids go out and do different moves and be very creative on what they want to do. That was very unique."
Anybody you're looking forward to seeing in action tonight? "Obviously our captain, Nugent-Hopkins, you see him skate and you see the speed he has -- to see him live, it's something that's very special."