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.
He's only 17 but he can see the ice so well and he moves the puck and goes to the open ice all the time, so I just think he's a player that is ready to play in the NHL. I'm really looking forward to coaching someone like this.
— U.S. National Junior Team coach Ron Wilson on Auston Matthews, the projected No. 1 pick of the 2016 NHL Draft