Ottawa Senators forward Anthony Duclair is keeping a diary for the 2020 Honda NHL All-Star Game in St. Louis. Duclair participated in the Bridgestone NHL Fastest Skater at the 2020 NHL All-Star Skills presented by New Amsterdam Vodka on Friday, finishing sixth in 14.005 seconds.
In his first entry, Duclair talks about participating in the Fastest Skater competition, seeing Mathew Barzal upset three-time defending champion Connor McDavid, and getting a chance to be in St. Louis for his first All-Star Game.
This was an awesome experience.
As a kid, you're growing up watching this event every year, and to be a part of it now is a huge honor.
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I've always loved fastest skater at the skills competition just because I love to skate fast. Hardest shot, too, is one of the big ones. Over the years, the other events switch, but I think hardest shot and fastest skater were the two main ones that I loved.
That was why I chose to participate in the fastest skater. I was asked, and I was like, 'Yeah, I might as well do it.' They put me in and I was really pumped, especially going against a couple of these guys. They're so fast. It was great to compete against them.
I was thinking, 'Just go as fast as you can, try not to fall, try not to embarrass yourself. Just have fun with it.' It was kind of tough because we didn't really have a warmup. Just go right in there. I honestly had zero practice.
Obviously, Mathew Barzal is a great skater. We all know that. And for him to beat Connor McDavid, we were pretty pumped, pretty happy for him. It was a huge accomplishment for sure. Everybody probably had Connor as the winner. He'd won three years in a row. But because Barzal is on an Eastern team (New York Islanders), because he won, we were happy for him. I know him a little bit, just playing against him. Obviously those guys, you see them on the ice and stuff like that, but to see him in a different venue like this, you get to know each other a little bit more.
Video: Bridgestone NHL Fastest Skater Recap
Some of these guys, you hate to play against them -- though I'm not going to name any names -- and then you say hi to them and they're really nice, and everybody's really cool. You get to know them from a personal standpoint.
As for being here in St. Louis, I'm just soaking it all in every day. I don't think I've wiped my smile off my face since I landed here. It's obviously a world-class event. We're getting treated like I've never been treated before, honestly. It's really first class from the NHL. They make it really easy for us.
But tomorrow's going to be intense, I think. Especially now that it's 3-on-3 and there's all the money on the line ($1 million prize), guys are preparing for it. Obviously, you still want to have fun, but at the same time, I've heard guys on the ice say, 'We're going to get ready for tomorrow.' So it's going to be a fun one, that's for sure.