NHL All-Stars hit the red carpet in Nashville

Saturday, 01.30.2016 / 5:56 PM
Robby Stanley  - NHL.com Correspondent

NASHVILLE – The 2016 NHL All-Stars hit the red carpet in advance of the 2016 Honda NHL All-Star Skills Competition at Bridgestone Arena on Saturday.

A huge crowd gathered to watch the players and coaches walk the red carpet and interact with the fans. It was a perfect illustration to Nashville Predators captain Shea Weber on how much hockey has grown in the city.

"It's unbelievable," Weber said. "You can see how much the fans love hockey here and how much it means to this city. It's kind of a long time coming. I felt like people wanted the All-Star Game here for a long time, and they finally got their wish."

The players have been enjoying themselves and experiencing what Nashville has to offer. It has been particularly eye-opening to players from the Eastern Conference, who visit Nashville once per season.

"It's been a lot better than I expected," Montreal Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban said. "I expected it to be fun, but not this much fun. I didn't know much about Nashville other than when we come here and our short time that we spend here when we're playing, and I had some time to actually get out and enjoy the city, go to restaurants and meet new people. The people here in Nashville are amazing. The event has been great."

The AMP Energy NHL Hardest Shot seems to be the most anticipated event of the evening for players. Weber won the 2015 competition in Columbus with a slap shot of 108.5 mph.

"I want to see what the Hardest Shot has to bring," Florida Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad said. "Obviously I'm participating in it, but I'll be glad to see what Shea Weber and them can put up."

Dallas Stars forward Tyler Seguin will also be participating in the Hardest Shot competition. His teammate Jamie Benn said Seguin might be able to get close to Weber.

"You know what, he's been working out," Benn said. "Did a little pushups this morning so I think he might get a close second."

San Jose Sharks defenseman Brent Burns made a splash, sporting a cowboy hat, red sports jacket and red cowboy boots on the red carpet.

"I can't say it's any crazier than my normal outfits," Burns said. "Giovanni (Clothes) made it for me just before I left, and when I got to Nashville I went looking for some boots and a hat. Here we go.

"I'm actually surprised how comfy the boots are. I thought they were gonna hurt, but they're actually really comfy. It's been great. This city is really a special city, and it's been awesome."

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