Josi: Red Carpet, skills competition 'extremely special'

Saturday, 01.30.2016 / 10:57 PM
Roman Josi  - Special to NHL.com

Nashville Predators defenseman Roman Josi is one of four hometown players who appeared in the 2016 Honda NHL All-Star Skills Competition on Saturday and will play in the 2016 Honda NHL All-Star Game on Sunday (5 p.m. ET; NBCSN, Rogers, TVAS). He is joined by defenseman Shea Weber, forward James Neal and goalie Pekka Rinne. Josi is doing a blog for NHL.com this weekend to detail his experiences.

This is the second installment.

NASHVILLE-- Tonight was crazy. It was really loud, definitely special when we stepped onto the ice for the introduction before the Skills competition. I got the chills a little bit there. I mean, you didn’t know how loud the crowd was going to be. You know they were going to be loud, because they are great fans and we knew they were going to cheer everyone on, but it was really special. Being at the end of the line with Shea Weber, James Neal and Pekka Rinne, it was really special.

I was able to get into it right away as I was the first to go in the first event, the Fastest Skater competition. But, I was going against Dylan Larkin of the Detroit Red Wings. When I saw I was going against him, I wasn't expecting to win because I know how fast he is from playing against him. Then he beat me pretty easily.

I was worried after he beat me because he beat me by so much, I was like, 'Oh boy I'm going to finish last'. But it wasn't that bad. After that first one, I was like, 'OK that is going to be the slowest one for sure.' I'm glad I wasn't and that I actually finished second in that field of skaters.

It was pretty cool that Larkin got the chance to go for Mike Gartner's record and he was able to do it. It's pretty impressive that he broke such an old record. He was flying out there.

Then, I was in the fourth event, the Skills Challenge Relay. I had to do the puck control portion, which was stickhandling the puck around those Gatorade bottles. It was pretty quick and one of those events that you can't really do much long if you lose control of the puck. That was cool because all of those little skill things are a lot of fun although I am glad I didn't have to do the passing part of the challenge. My portion of it was a lot of turning and I got a little bit dizzy. When you do it, you feel like you are taking forever, but it is really going by fast.

The Breakaway Challenge was great tonight even though I wasn't in that one. It was funny, all the things the guys came up with as far as their shots. Nealer got Dierks Bentley on the ice for his shot. Brent Burns was great with his shots and P.K. Subban too, especially with the Jaromir Jagr thing. If I had a vote, I would have to go with Subban because he was pretty funny with that Jagr thing. But, I thought Nealer was great with the hidden puck trick and bringing Dierks on the ice and Dierks was really into it and fired up. Plus Pekka played with Dierk's guitar as his goalie stick after that, which was awesome.

My final event was the Shootout event, but I didn't score. I tried to go low blocker, but it wasn't a good effort and Corey Schneider blocked it. The Eastern Conference goalies were really good in that contest and we didn’t score much.

The whole day was extremely special. I haven't even talked about the Red Carpet and how great it was seeing all those people. There were so many fans. It was just crazy. We were standing on the stage at Winter Park when we were introduced and there were people standing all the way up the hill to the arena. It was unbelievable. I didn't think it was going to be that many people, that was just crazy.

Now I am going to shower, see my family and the memories are going to sink in even more and then we get to do it again [Sunday]for the All-Star Game. It's going to be awesome.

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