ST. LOUIS - Attending the NHL All-Star festivities has always been a meaningful experience for Shea Weber.
The 34-year-old defenseman is making his seventh career appearance at the midseason showcase that annually features some of the best and brightest in the League.
Knowing full well that opportunities to participate in events like these don't come along every year, he plans on making the most of his time in Missouri.
"When you're young, you don't even realize first of all how fast your career goes by, and things you may not get an opportunity to do again," said Weber, who met with members of the media on Thursday evening. "I think now when you get a chance to do something like this, you don't want to miss any minute."
Video: Shea Weber on appreciating the All-Star experience
To put things into perspective, the lone attendee to appear in more All-Star Games than Weber is 31-year-old Patrick Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks with nine. And 20 players in town are getting their first-ever taste of the All-Star celebrations.
That makes the 15-year veteran a true elder statesmen by All-Star standards over the next few days, and he knows it.
"It's definitely different. Everyone's so young here," joked Weber. "Looking around, it's important to just enjoy it. You never know when it's going to be your last one. You have to enjoy every minute and spend time with these guys. They're all here for a reason. They're having great seasons and they're great players. Just don't take it for granted."
With that in mind, Weber will go in search of his fourth Hardest Shot title on Friday night at the Enterprise Center in conjunction with the NHL All-Star Skills Competition.
After previously besting the field in 2015, 2016 and 2017, the Canadiens' captain is hoping to reclaim the crown.
Performing solo on such a big stage is never easy, though.
"I think anyone that's here that's competitive puts a little bit of pressure on themselves. Everybody wants to win, no matter what," explained Weber, whose biggest blast came five years ago when he registered a 108.5 mph slapshot (174.6 km/h) on the radar gun. "It's fun and it's a good time, but at the same time you want to do your best. That's what makes everyone competitive athletes."
Weber will be going up against Mark Giordano (Calgary Flames), Seth Jones (Columbus Blue Jackets), Victor Hedman (Tampa Bay Lightning), Elias Pettersson (Vancouver Canucks), and John Carlson (Washington Capitals).
One journalist even mentioned to Weber that Hall of Famer and seven-time Hardest Shot competition winner Al MacInnis selected him to come out on top again this year.
His reply was pretty darn good.
"I hope he's not shooting, because if he's shooting I don't think I can win," responded Weber with a laugh, referencing MacInnis' trademark slapper. "Honestly, I don't know if I'll win. Everybody here can shoot the puck so hard now. Technology, the size of the guys, training, everybody shoots it so hard. It's hard to say."
What is certain, however, is that Weber earned the right to represent the Canadiens with his tremendous work thus far this season.
He boasts 12 goals and 33 points in 50 games, and is averaging a team-leading 24:19 of ice time per outing.
"I feel really good right now," said Weber, who sits just 25 games shy of reaching the 1,000 games played mark for his NHL career. "Knock on wood everything stays status quo and I stay healthy."