As part of All-Access All Things All-Star coverage on NHL.com this weekend in Ottawa, Philadelphia Flyers rookie Sean Couturier will be blogging his thoughts and experiences.
JAN. 28: SKILLS DAY
My first participation in the NHL's All-Star weekend is essentially a thing of the past, and I had a great time.
On Sunday, the players selected as All-Stars by the fans and the League will take part on the game, offering our fans some fast and exciting action. After that, our little break will be over. We will get back to the task of playing our seasons in the hopes of finishing as high up the standings as possible, but no one will simply give it to us.
After I took part in the Breakaway Challenge, I joked around with reporters that I didn't sleep all night trying to come up with the dekes I would use. But really, after the great meal I had with my Flyers teammates and our families last night, sleeping was definitely not a problem.
Honestly, I only thought about what I would do a few minutes before stepping on the ice, and the rest just came to me.
We laugh when we talk about these events because we do it only so we can entertain the fans -- there's nothing really at stake. But I must admit I was pretty nervous when I was the first one up.
On my first two moves I did exactly what I wanted to do. One of them was a move I saw in junior so I just wanted to add a little something to it, and that's what I came up with. I was pretty happy with it.
But when I came up for my third shot and Carey Price had his back turned on me, I honestly didn't know what to do. But in any case, I admit that I didn't really know what to do on that shot in any case.
The two players I thought were the most impressive in the breakaways were Patrick Kane and Kris Letang. Kane really put on a show! He showed a lot of imagination to come up with those moves. Letang had some nice dangles as well.
So that ends my All-Star Weekend, at least on the ice. I still have a NHL party to attend Saturday night, and that should be fun.
But the players better not party too hard -- there's a game tomorrow!
JAN. 27: DAY TWO
As I wrote yesterday in my blog, I thought Friday was going to be the down day of All-Star Weekend -- but as it turns out, it was a pretty eventful one.
My teammate Matt Read
and I went to the children’s hospital pretty early this morning at 9 a.m., along with Ottawa Senators rookie Colin Greening to visit some sick kids. It was just great to see how excited the kids were to see some NHL players visiting them. But to be honest, I think we did as much good to the kids as they did for us. When you can make a sick kid smile, it’s truly priceless. Getting a chance to see the kids so happy and forgetting their problems for just a few minutes honestly made my day.
Of course, the kids had another good reason to be so happy because the hospital was unveiling a new games room where they’ll be able to play Xbox, watch TV, go on the Internet or talk to their parents via webcam. It was pretty impressive.
Some of the kids were playing NHL 12, and some of them were pretty good! I would have liked to sit down with them and play a bit, like I do with Danny Briere
’s sons, but our schedule was a bit too tight to fit in a game.
After we were done at the hospital the rookies hung out a bit, giving us a chance to get to know each other better. We’re all having a fun time.
I also got a chance to get away and have lunch with my parents and my girlfriend for a couple of hours, something I don’t often get a chance to do during the season. After that I relaxed in my hotel room for a bit before heading over to Media Day.
That’s where I found out I’ve been picked to take part in the Breakaway Challenge, which is both a good and bad thing. I’ve never done anything where I had to do trick shots before, and with so many people watching this event I’m really going to have to get creative and come up with three great moves that people will want to watch. I can’t just do the same one three times!
I never told anyone I wanted to be in this event, and no one asked me, but now that I’m there I’m going to have to do the job. But it’s not going to be easy. To be honest, I’m feeling a bit of pressure.
Still, I won’t let that ruin my Friday night where all the Flyers who are here are going out for dinner with our families. It should be a fun night. We might talk hockey a bit, but I don’t think I’ll have time to come up with my trick moves for Saturday night.
Whatever I come up with, I hope you’re all watching!
JAN. 26: FIRST ENTRY
It might be a bit cliché to say it but I can't help myself, being in Ottawa this weekend side by side with the biggest stars in the NHL is really impressive.
It was only a year ago that I was playing on the Quebec junior league All-Star team, and just a few months ago I was playing the Gatineau Olympiques in the playoffs. Now here I am, back in Gatineau again -- except I'm here with the best players in the world.
When you go straight from junior to the NHL, it really hits you how different life is here. The hotels, the travel, the food, how well everything is organized; it's like another planet.
I'm just trying to savor every moment, because I often get the impression that it's all going by so fast I don't have the time to sit back and realize what's happened in the past year. It's like I don't even realize I'm here, but I'm going to do my best to take full advantage of the weekend.
I got to Ottawa on Thursday afternoon from Montreal, and as soon as I got here I couldn't believe how well-organized everything was. It's really impressive.
The first event was the player draft, but the rookies weren't waiting in the same room with the other All-Stars. We were in another room on our own and went to join them when it was our turn to go on stage.
It can be a little intimidating being at a big event like this for the first time with all these superstars, so it's really nice to have my teammate Matt Read
with me on the rookie team. It's almost like having each other has calmed both of us down a little.
Watching the draft, it was pretty obvious that Zdeno Chara's team was getting booed a lot, so as a team we decided that we would pick Daniel Alfredsson's team so at least the crowd would be behind us.
I had a lot of players I looked up to when I was younger, guys like Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby, but really all the best players because I tried to study them and steal the best parts of their games so I can add them to mine. So walking into an environment like this where I'm surrounded by the best players in the NHL was really special, because they were players I admired and still admire today.
My schedule is pretty light on Friday, so I'm hoping to get to know some of the guys a little better. The one event that is on my schedule for Friday is that Matt and I are going to visit a children's hospital here; I'm really looking forward to it.
I'll be writing this blog on NHL.com all weekend to tell you all how my first All-Star Weekend is going, so check back every day to read my thoughts. Thanks for reading!