ST. LOUIS - The Metropolitan Division's quest for back-to-back NHL All-Star Game titles ended in a 9-5 loss to the Atlantic Division in the first semifinal on Saturday, but no matter.
Jaccob Slavin is leaving St. Louis with an Accuracy Shooting title, an extra $30,000 and lasting memories.
"The camaraderie that the players have around the league when it comes to a weekend like this is pretty cool to see," he said. "It's a great weekend. You've got a lot of skill players out there, some of the best players in the world. It's fun playing against them, and I think the fans enjoy it. You see a lot of creativity out there."
The Metro Division, which featured Jon Hamm as an honorary captain, had four defensemen on its roster. Slavin, making his first All-Star appearance, played on a line with Chris Kreider and Kris Letang, not the typically more aggressive 3-on-3 arrangement.
"Our plan was to kind of be a grind line," he said. "We had a couple backchecks and a couple turnovers."
The Atlantic jumped out to an early lead with goals on their first two shifts. Slavin's line came over the boards and remained even - at least through their first shift.
Video: All Star: Slavin Postgame
"You saw the first shift a bang-bang goal and lots of skill plays. Guys being creative with the abilities they have," Slavin said. "I think it lived up to expectations, for sure."
Slavin finished the evening with a shot on goal and two shot attempts. And, a minus-two rating, but who's counting, anyway?
"I didn't do my job tonight," he laughed. "I'm a defensive defenseman, and I was dash a couple."
Go figure, though, that Slavin would be the only one on the scoresheet to record a blocked shot. And though he didn't drop to the ice to defend a 2-on-1 rush, his instincts did almost take over.
"I really thought about it," he said, seemingly wishing he had.
Slavin nearly found the scoresheet with a primary assist, as he led Kris Letang in the slot. Letang poked at the puck, nearly putting it past Frederik Andersen, but it found the crossbar.
"Almost. A little in front of him," Slavin said. "If it was on the tape, I bet he puts it behind the goal line."
After a 4-4 first period, the Atlantic finished the game scoring five unanswered goals to end the Metro Division's hopes of a back-to-back title.
But, hey, Slavin was still all smiles afterward.
"It's a privilege and an honor to be here," he said. "Just how much of a blessing it is to be here with the abilities God has given me and put me in the position I'm in. All in all, a really fun weekend."
More from NHL All-Star Weekend