ST. LOUIS - A cold mix of rain, ice and snow couldn't damper the mood in St. Louis as the 2020 NHL All-Star Weekend kicked off with media day.
All Stars from the league's four divisions were trotted out on stage at Stifel Theatre. Under the bright lights, the league's best fielded questions from reporters around the globe, while fans in the theatre's seats could listen in on live interviews. NHL Network had a stage set-up just off the theatre's stage, making for a big production to introduce the All Stars prior to the league's annual classic.
Jaccob Slavin took the stage sporting the white All-Star sweater, featuring the one-color Hurricanes crest and metallic silver striping resembling a musical staff. The name and number font on the jersey is a charcoal black outlined in the same metallic silver finish.
Slavin, making his first All-Star appearance, was all smiles. Members from his and his wife's family are in town to enjoy the weekend, and he even spotted some familiar spaces in the theatre balcony sporting No. 74 Canes sweaters.
Here are some highlights from Slavin's wide-ranging media scrum, as he held somewhat impromptu court center stage.
On finishing first for the Rod Langway Award in the PHWA's midseason voting: "It's definitely an honor. That's what I like to pride my game on: defense. It's pretty cool."
On defensive defensemen getting recognized in the NHL's awards: "I don't think the defensive part of the game is something that's flashy." Reporter: The Selke trophy isn't flashy. "Defensive forwards, you get a little more recognition for having a solid two-way game as a forward than having a defensive game as a defenseman. That's what we're supposed to do, right? We're supposed to stop the goals from going in. As defensemen, that's our job. As a forward, being able to play both ends of the ice is pretty big."
Video: All-Star: Slavin Media Scrum
On extending 3-on-3 overtime to 10 minutes: "I definitely like the 3-on-3 game. I think it's exciting. I think the fans love it. I think it's a better way to decide the game than a shootout. … Every minute you extend it, it's going to provide a couple more chances."
On if extra time in 3-on-3 overtime would tax players: "I don't think it would take a toll on them. You don't see any huge hits in 3-on-3, right? There's so much ice out there. It's not as much of a physical game as it is a skill game and possession game at that point. … It's not a grind game at that point. It's pure skill. You're looking for the 2-on-1 breaks and breakaways."
On developing as a defensive defenseman: "I was a goalie up until the age of 10 playing goalie and defense. I think I always appreciated stopping pucks and shutting people down. Now, that's just kind of how my game has developed over time. It was always defense. I was never really much of an offensive defenseman growing up."
On playing with Dougie Hamilton: "It's been really good. Last year we struggled a bit to start, but I think that was just some jitters with our new partnership, I guess you could call it. Over the past year, it's been awesome. It's been really good. We've had great chemistry. He's got the offensive upside, so I kind of let him do his thing and just make sure I'm backing him up whenever I can. His defensive game has really improved this year, which has definitely been a big help. We can shut down those top lines a lot better this year, and he still gets to do his offensive thing."
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