As part of All-Access All Things All-Star coverage on NHL.com this weekend in Ottawa, Senators forward Jason Spezza will be blogging his thoughts and experiences as one of the player hosts of All-Star Weekend. Here's his first entry, detailing a whirlwind Friday:
From the time I got up this morning until 8:30 or 9 o'clock tonight, I'll be doing stuff. But, it's exciting because it is in Ottawa and it is at home and you want to give back to the fans. I'm excited about the Energizer Skate tonight because we are trying to build rinks around the city and raise money for that. It's a little disappointing that the Rideau Canal isn't frozen. Usually you can guarantee on Jan. 27 that the canal would be frozen. But the Rink of Dreams at City Hall is built and the rink has pipes -- that is why they built, in case the canal isn't available. I think it is great for the city to have that second option. Obviously, the canal is something special, so it's a little sad the canal isn’t up and running, but we'll make it work.
Today, being around the guys and interacting with different guys makes it a fun day. I did an autograph signing this morning at Fan Fair and it was mostly kids -- and that is what you want to see. You want to see the kids come out and enjoy it. It's been a long day and a busy day, but it has been worthwhile.
For me, I'm more comfortable in these situations now. You see familiar faces and you are not as nervous. Once you go through something once, you realize you want to take some time and soak everything in and make sure you remember it because you never know when you will get another chance. That's been my approach over the past couple of days and will be all weekend. I want to make sure I enjoy it and my family enjoys it and that I soak it all in.
It's fun to see the excitement of the guys that are here for the first time and the young guys. I remember how it was to be that guy. I'd love to get the opportunity to talk to everybody on the team and to some of the younger guys. For me, there are still some guys I want to meet. You play and compete against each other, but you all respect each other. That never gets lost in a setting like this.
I got a chance to talk to Pavel Datsyuk a little bit; he is a guy that I really respect. I sat with Evgeni Malkin at the draft. Shea Weber is a guy that I enjoyed playing with at the World Championships, and it was nice to catch up with him. There's always different guys that you lose touch with a little bit and these events bring you back together.
I've heard a lot about Erik Karlsson having a bit of fun at my expense Thursday night at the draft, but that’s OK. Erik doesn't have a lot of material. We're really good friends, and we have a really good relationship. It was fun. We had a good time. I was happy we could sit together. He's a really lighthearted kid, loves to have a good time, is a jokester and has a real passion for the game, so it is fun for everybody else to see how he is. The guys in our dressing room already know what his personality is, but it is good for him to get the recognition nationally.