The 2016 Honda NHL All-Star Game in Nashville on Jan. 31 is less than a week away. In the lead-up to All-Star Weekend at Bridgestone Arena, NHL.com sat down with a host of this season's participants to talk about playing in the game. In this edition, Johnny Gaudreau discusses representing the Calgary Flames for the second time in the All-Star Game.
1. What does being an All-Star mean to you?
It's a special experience. Last year I got to participate in it, and being a younger guy and seeing some of the names that you get to participate with, it's pretty special and something you remember for the rest of your life.
2. What is your favorite memory from previous All-Star Games?
I watched a lot of All-Star Games. My favorite memory was probably being a part of it last year and having the chance to do the shootout with Jakub Voracek. It was a real funny and a pretty special memory.
3. If you could invite any celebrity to the All-Star Game as your guest, who would it be and why?
Maybe one of the country music singers. I'm a big country fan and I'm going to Nashville so hopefully I'll get to meet a couple singers. I really like Luke Bryan and Kenny Chesney, those big guys. Brett Eldredge is another favorite. I get to go to all their concerts in the summertime so it would be cool to see them in Nashville as a guest.
4. Who from your divisional All-Star team would you put on your trio if you were the coach of the team?
Probably Daniel Sedin and Taylor Hall. Or if I wanted a defenceman, Brent Burns, because he likes to come up in the play.
5. In a perfect world you get to pick what song you skate out to for player introductions at the All-Star Game. What song would you choose?
Maybe "Jumpman" by rappers Drake and Future. I like that one.
6. If you could have dinner with three other players from this year's All-Star Game, who would you pick?
I'd go Flames teammate Mark Giordano, and then Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews.
7. Cowboy boots or cowboy hat as a fashion accessory?
8. Alex Ovechkin passed 500 goals this season. Do you think he can get to 800 before he retires?
I think he can do it, absolutely. With the way he shoots the puck, he's got that knack for the net so I think he'll do it for sure.
9. Was it nice to hear that fellow Boston College alum Cory Schneider was invited to play in the All-Star Game after the season he has had?
Absolutely. We skated for a few weeks together this summer at Boston College. He's having a really good year. So for us it'll be important for our division to try and pepper him with as many shots as we can if we do play against him because he's playing so well.
10. How did you develop your style of play?
I guess all my life I've been playing against bigger guys. I was a smaller guy so I've been getting used to it throughout my career. And as each level gets higher the compete level gets harder. And for me I have to work even more since I'm the smaller guy. But I love hockey and I want to get better.
11. What was your first impression of Boston College coach Jerry York? Is it amazing that he is closing in on 1,000 career wins?
Coach is just a straight-up guy and his players were so important to him on and off the ice. When I went on my first official visit, we were coming over from Boston University and we were trying to find the school. I think we were three or four minutes late and right when we pulled up, there's Coach right outside waiting and looking at his watch and saying, "Four minutes late there Johnny." My mom smoothed it out with him and said we had no idea where we were going; it was our first time in Boston. But he was such a great coach for me. Getting 1,000 wins is such a great accomplishment when you think about it because you only play 40 games in a college season. I know the guys really want to get him that 1,000th win.
12. How was your visit to NHL Live on Jan. 18? Was it fun getting to see the MLB Network studio as well?
It was a pretty cool experience. I was always a big Philadelphia Phillies fan growing up in Salem, N.J. They won the World Series in 2008 when I was in high school at Gloucester Catholic. Got a few days off from school for them winning it because we were a Catholic school; I guess they can give days off whenever they want at Catholic school. At the NHL Live studios former Atlanta Braves pitcher John Smoltz was throwing pitches to me in the baseball area. That was great. The first four or five pitches he threw I couldn't hit, but then he started laying them in there.
Author: Mike G. Morreale | NHL.com Staff Writer