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Girardi savors All-Star experience on and off ice

by Dan Girardi
Rangers defenseman Dan Girardi writes that the best part of the skills competition for him was seeing his son wave at him:

The best part of my skills competition experience wasn't anything that happened on the ice.

I was sitting on the bench and looked into the crowd and saw my wife and my 1-year-old son Landon. When I saw him, he was standing on his chair and waving right at me. That's all good stuff there. That's what it's all about. When I saw him waving at me, it made me feel really good.

The stuff on the ice was pretty good too. I thought it was a great experience. I didn't have to do too much except for a couple of passes to Daniel Sedin and Jason Spezza during the accuracy event. At the same time, just being out there with all the guys and watching these superstars make some pretty sweet moves was something special. To be there on the ice and watch Zdeno Chara hit 108.8 mph -- that's just cool to be a part of.

Just being in the locker room and meeting other guys was cool too. I talked to the Sedins for a bit, just some chit-chat. I sat next to Shea Weber and I was just trying to talk to him before the skills, asking him if he could beat Chara this time. Just because Shea was so close to me I talked to him a lot more. I sat next to Scott Hartnell in the locker room. That was a lot different. We got along fine. No stall violations, everything was OK. It was all fun. We have a big rivalry, but once we get here, it all goes out the window. We're just enjoying the weekend, but when it's over, we'll be right back at it.

But I guess it was good I was passing to Spezza and Sedin and not Hartnell. No passing to true enemies.

The weather here hasn't been great the past two days, but we went up to the Parliament buildings to take pictures today. We went to the Rideau Canal too. It was all closed except for one spot on the under the bridge -- Landon skated on there for a little bit. Later, someone told us about a rink at City Hall so we went there to do some skating, but there was a private function going on so we couldn't skate there. We just went across the canal and looked at all the ice sculptures. It was pretty cold out there, but we wanted to get that done.

For tomorrow's game, I have no idea who I'm playing with right now. I'm sure whoever it is, he'll be the one that jumps up into the play and I'll be the safety valve just like usual. Hank [Henrik Lundqvist] was talking to me before and told me 'Spezza said a guy like me who stays at home and blocks shots is invaluable to your team.' I guess it's nice having a guy who's just going to sit back there and take the 3-on-1s.

It's going to be interesting to see how it goes. Who knows. I may get up there on the rush and try to pop one home.
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