It’s hard to believe that my time in Ottawa has already come to an end.
I’m all set to leave on Monday, and while I’m looking forward to heading back to Tampa Bay and seeing all my teammates, I certainly am going to miss the experience here.
The day started off with a cool pre-game celebration for fans to get them amped up for the game, which was earlier this afternoon. I headed to the arena at around 1 p.m. to take photos in my All-Star jersey and to get ready for the game.
Like I said before, it’s an honor to share the ice with so many of the league’s best players, that sometimes it’s hard to believe that I am actually included in that group. They’re all great guys and I’m really glad I got to be a part of it and share in all the festivities with them this week. I’m really going to miss Ottawa too. I was drafted here back in 2008 and to be able to return here as an All-Star where my career began was very special.
When I got to the arena, a lot of the guys were still talking about the Skills Competition just the night before.
I’m glad I won the shootout contest after I didn’t fare so well in the other two events. It was a good opportunity for me to redeem myself, so it felt good to make the most of it.
Looking back on it, the Skills Competition was one of the more fun events of the week. It was awesome to see some of the on-ice talent these guys have, and their creativity too. I think both Kaner [Patrick Kane] and Pers [Corey Perry] should win an award for their respective performances.
The game this afternoon was also a lot of fun and made for a few laughs among all the guys. I really feel bad for the goalies in these games though, just because they don’t really stand a chance. I think they took it in stride though and enjoyed every minute of it. As I said before, it’s a nice distinction to even be here.
After the game I got a chance to walk over to the other locker room and see my buddies Ray, Clay and Bubba from our equipment staff back in Tampa. They’re great guys who work hard every single night and do a lot of work for us throughout the entire season, so I was really happy that Ray was called on to come to Ottawa and that Clay and Bubba were able to join him. Even though this year was my second consecutive year at the All-Star Game and I felt more comfortable, it was still good to see a few familiar faces.
I’ll even get to see a few more upon arriving back in Tampa, where the warm weather will be a nice change from how it’s been here. I know we’ll have our work cut out for us this week, as we have three home games. It was great to see our team battle through adversity, step up together and head in to the Break with a lot of momentum. Now, I’m hoping we can come out of it with that same intensity and continue our winning streak.
Lastly I want to thank the fans for all their support while I was away in Ottawa this week. It means a lot and I’m glad you guys got to experience the All-Star Break with me through my blog.
Thanks again, and I look forward to seeing all of you back in Tampa.
Today was another busy day here in Ottawa.
My morning started off with an appearance at an RBC Play Hockey Event in which I had the honor of presenting a $5,000 grant to the Ottawa District Minor Hockey Association. It’s always great to help out community hockey initiatives. Seeing all the kids out there reminded me of my own youth hockey days. I signed a lot of autographs and took pictures with the kids. All in all it was a good time.
I spent the rest of the afternoon thinking about the Skills Competition, which I was pretty excited about. I think it’s one of the better events of the entire All-Star Weekend just because it’s fun to see what all the guys have planned as far the more creative events go. It was pretty wild last year, so we’ll see what tricks everyone brought with them this time around.
I’m really looking forward to all my events, but especially the Accuracy Shooting just because I’ve never done it before.
All I can say though is that I’m glad we have Daniel Sedin on our side. He won the event last year in Carolina after hitting all four targets in a little over seven seconds. It was pretty impressive and I’m hoping he and myself can represent our team well in that event.
The Elimination Shootout should be fun too. I’ve been thinking about a few ideas but don’t want to give too many secrets away just incase someone on Team Chara decides to tune in looking for an edge. It’s definitely going to be fun though.
The other event I’m in will feature me taking one-timers, which as most of the fans probably know, I’m pretty comfortable with. Hopefully I can channel some of that gameday magic and slip a few past the goaltender.
I’ll check in tomorrow with an update about how all of the Skills events went. It’s hard to believe my time in Ottawa is coming to an end already, but I’m going to enjoy it while it lasts. Hope you guys enjoy the show tonight!
My first full day yesterday was bit hectic with everything going on, but I think now that the Draft is at least over, I feel a little bit more settled in here in Ottawa.
My parents arrived this morning so it was great to see them. I think a lot of people don’t realize how taxing the NHL 82-game regular season schedule is and how it doesn’t allow us to see our families a lot. I’m glad they’re here though, and I’m looking forward to spending some time with them.
We had a light snowstorm here in Ottawa today, which for me at least, was a welcome change to have that type of weather in January after coming from Florida where it’s warm and sunny. That’s more of what I’m used to and definitely brings back some good memories of home.
I was pretty happy about how the Draft went last night. I didn’t know what to expect going in, but in retrospect, I think the captains did a great job in picking their sides. There were a lot of great players up on the board, so you really couldn’t go wrong in my opinion. Sunday’s game should be a lot of fun.
Like the majority of the players here, the captains have been among the busiest. After picking their sides in the Draft, they went back to the drawing board today and chose who they wanted to participate in the Skills Competition. I was pretty excited to find out that I’ll be competing in three events, including shooting accuracy, the skills challenge relay and the elimination shootout. I think last year Daniel Sedin hit all four targets in the accuracy contest in just over seven seconds, so it will be a good challenge for sure and a lot of fun.
It was also good to see a lot of the guys who will be competing in the Skills contest at the media day which happened a little earlier this evening. The room was packed with outlets from all over, but I think that is a testament to how well the game has grown over the years. I’m glad to see this weekend receiving a lot of positive coverage. I’m sure the fans are happy about it too.
Since there is a lot going on Saturday and Sunday, it’s nice to have a little break tonight. There isn’t anything planned, so I’m thinking about hanging out with some buddies and maybe going out to a nice dinner with my parents. I’ll check back in tomorrow. Hope all is well in Tampa.
My 2012 NHL All-Star Weekend has officially begun. I arrived in Ottawa this afternoon and I'm trying to take as much of it all in as I possibly can before heading over to the All-Star Fantasy Draft.
It seems at least like there is a good buzz around the city and that the fans here in Ottawa are excited about all of the events going on this week. Even on the way from the airport to our hotel, you could see all the banners hanging off the street light poles advertising the All-Star Game. It's definitely going to be a fun event and I'm sure the fans are looking forward to it too.
Looking at the schedule, each day seems to be pretty busy. I'll be heading over to the Draft tonight to kick off the All-Star Weekend. I'm pretty excited, but I'm not really sure what to expect this year in terms of who will be selected first. I have to think it must be hard on the captains to choose just one guy out of a field that has the best players in the NHL. I'm looking forward to seeing everybody and truly feel honored to perform on the same stage as them. The city looks great and I'm sure the other players and myself included will enjoy being here for a few days.
It's going to be nice to get away for a little bit this week, but then it's time to get back to work. I really like how our team came together and stepped up to head into this break with a lot of momentum. We've been faced with a lot of adversity this season, but I have to give my teammates credit for staying positive and battling through it.
For now though, I'm just going to enjoy my time in Ottawa and have some fun. I'll do my best to keep you informed of the experience and everything that is going on. I want to say thanks to the fans again for all of their support. I will also be checking in throughout the week on TampaBayLightning.com for updates and to let everyone know how it is going.