After three days of build up and fun, the 2011 NHL All-Star Game presented by Discover is finally ready to get rolling.
The players are on the ice warming up and the anthem singers are starting to get some butterflys.
I, on the other hand, am firmly ensconced in the NHL.com bunker ready to give you the highlights of what will be a memorable game. I'm ready, too, after having spent much of the morning and early afternoon preparing a traditional pig picking. It came of perfectly and I got to sample the finished product, which with fuel me throughout the afternoon.
Not only was the food excellent and the guys and gals from The Pit, a local BBQ institution here in Raleigh, excellent company, but my planning work in making it happen has eaned me a new nickname. The boys in the bunker here are now talking about pulled Roarke instead of pulled pork. A witty bunch they are.
Now, it's time to put the pig in the memory bank, though and concentrate on the puck. I promise to do my best.
They said, 'You're going to love the city. It's smaller than Philadelphia, but you're going to love it. You're going to love the fans. Just watching the playoffs last year, the fans seemed louder there than they did anywhere. I'm really excited about that.
— Forward Scott Hartnell on his upcoming season with the Columbus Blue Jackets