ST. LOUIS - Patrick Kane knows the drill.
Speaking at media day ahead of his ninth NHL All-Star Game - the most of any player in St. Louis this weekend - the league's most recent 1,000-point scorer knows what this weekend is all about, because he was once the one on the outside looking in in awe.
"I was a big fan of the accuracy (shooting), seeing if the guys could go 4-for-4," Kane said of what he looked forward to every year as a kid watching the league's collective best compete on the same ice. "I think Ray Bourque did it a couple times, I think Mark Messier, I think (Jeremy) Roenick did it once - that was always my favorite event to watch."
Just as Kane looked up to others as a child, many have looked up to him since his first appearance 11 years ago. In fact, a few of those kids will lineup next to him on Friday and Saturday night in St. Louis.
Quinn Hughes, the rookie defensive sensation in Vancouver, was asked about one of his favorite moments as a kid watching All-Star Games. He said Kane's Superman shootout move in 2012 is hard to top.
"Yeah, thanks Quinn. I feel a little bit older now, so thanks," Kane said with a laugh when the 20-year-old's response was brought up. "You know, it was a fun little moment for me. I got to do that with (Marian) Hossa and have him tie the cape around me, so it was a fun night. That's one of the moments I enjoyed about all these All-Star games."
Video: Kane at All-Star Media Day
Nine All-Star Weekends might seem tedious and that they'd get stale from the outside, but for Kane, they each hold a special place in his heart - and that incredible hockey mind - including that night in 2012.
"I think all of them have their own memories, to be honest with you. You look back on it, Montreal was first one, Ottawa had the Superman thing, LA was the Top 100, even Columbus we had like five of us there. Six of us, maybe," he said. "I think it's one of those things when you're done playing, maybe you look back and say 'I went to this many All-Star Games and was part of a lot of these,' so I think that's where my head's at with it."
As for what's going to be the memory this year?
"It's tough to predict. It'd be nice to see the Central win, that's something we've never done since this 3-on-3 format opened up, so that'd be nice to have that memory. It's going to be pretty interesting shooting pucks from the crowd tomorrow, we'll see how that goes," said Kane, who will partake in the inaugural Gatorade NHL Shooting Stars competition on Friday, where players shoot pucks from a platform in the stands over the seated fans and at targets on the ice. "It'll be fun to watch the women play 3-on-3 too, so looking forward to that. Just kind of waiting for a surprise or something from this weekend."
If Thursday's media event confirmed anything, it's that Kane might get one of the loudest reactions in-arena outside of the hometown Blues. As Kane spoke to reporters, the emcee for the event introduced the Central Division All-Stars speaking on stage to the several hundred fans seated in the crowd. Boos reigned down upon the stage for the first time all night as Kane's name was announced.
It's a sign of the Hawks-Blues rivalry, but also a sign of endearment to the 31-year-old.
"I remember me and my dad kind of tell the story when we were younger, we went to watch the Flyers and Sabres fans were booing (Eric) Lindros the whole game. I think he got kicked out with like 10 minutes left in the game or something and then the game was no fun anymore because there was no one left to boo or watch.
"You kind of view it as somewhat a sign of hatred, but somewhat a sign of respect too. It's fun when you play in places like Nashville or Winnipeg and you hold onto the puck and they're booing you. You want to hold onto the puck a little longer. 'Duncs' (Duncan Keith) gets booed in Vancouver, which is always pretty funny. You see him up his game a little bit and hang onto the puck as well. It's somewhat a sign of respect."
The 2020 NHL All-Star Weekend gets under way with the NHL All-Star Skills presented by New Amsterdam Vodka on Friday at 7 p.m. CT and the 2020 NHL All-Star Game on Saturday at 7 p.m.