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More fun to be in Vegas this time

by Steven Stamkos

-- It's still kind of surreal being here -- but I'm definitely a lot more comfortable being in this situation now.

My first year here I was 20 years old and I had just tied Sidney Crosby for the Rocket Richard Trophy. My eyes were wide open on that one, and I was pretty nervous even though I knew I had the award already. But now that I've been here a few years, you learn to take in the moment and soak it in. You never know if you're going to get the chance to be here again with all the best talent in the League.

Stamkos blogs from NHL Awards

Lightning All-Star forward and Hart Trophy finalist Steven Stamkos shares his thoughts from the 2012 NHL Awards in Las Vegas.

My family is here with me this time, so we're trying to cherish it together. It's a lot of fun.

Obviously this is my first time being nominated for the Hart Trophy, and that was something -- just getting that nomination was simply amazing. That was surreal enough, but being here for it is even crazier.

You know what, it's also a lot more fun here in Vegas now that I'm over 21. My first year here I was 20 and that was my first time in Vegas too. You don't really envision your first time in Vegas being a guy who can't walk on the casino floor. But this year it's a lot more fun and I can really experience the whole Vegas vibe.

Having my family here is special too. I can play cards with my dad. We did that last night, actually. I also caught up with my agents, talked to our general manager, Steve Yzerman, and got a nice dinner. We have a show planned for tonight.

There is just so much to do here. You have the best food in the world, the best entertainment in the world, the best weather in the world. I sat out by the pool already today, but I'm still waiting for that call from Gary Roberts asking me if I did my workout for the day -- I'll have to get that in this afternoon.

It's just a nice relaxing getaway to celebrate something special and ultimately create some memories.

But, yes, it is about Wednesday and the Awards. I can honestly say that the first year, yes, definitely I was anxious and I wanted to get to that show. Last year I didn't have that anxiety quite as much. And, now, I've been fortunate enough to be here and have experience with it that I don't have those nerves or that anxiety.

There is so much to do here, so many different things you don't get to do anywhere else in the world. I want to prolong this as much as possible and make sure I take it all in.

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