Ottawa Senators forward Anthony Duclair kept a diary for the 2020 Honda NHL All-Star Game in St. Louis. Duclair finished with five points (three goals, two assists) for the Atlantic Division team, which lost 5-4 against the Pacific Division in the final Saturday.
In this entry, Duclair talks about his hat trick in the semifinal game, getting to know his teammates during the weekend and the road he's traveled to reach this point.
This was an awesome, awesome experience. I didn't know what to expect coming here to the All-Star Game, but I just had a smile on my face, having fun and meeting some of the guys.
The All-Star Game wasn't ever something I had really thought about. Obviously it would be a cool experience to be part of, but for myself, the beginning of the season, that wasn't really in my plans. I just really wanted to stay in the lineup every night. That was my goal, to play 82 games. I missed one because I was injured, but when you're playing every night, that means you're being consistent and that means the coaching staff is trusting you with your play. So that was my goal this year.
But I always believed in myself when people didn't. After seeing what I did in my rookie season (with the Arizona Coyotes in 2015-16), I knew I could get back to that stage and accomplish even more. It was just a matter of the right time, the right opportunity, and I got that this year finally after a couple years where I wasn't too satisfied with my game. But this year, it's just been really awesome, just getting a lot of support from everybody.
I was so happy to be here. I just tried to soak it all in. I was looking at the stands quite often, looking at other guys, picking some guys' brains. Just learning from the best players in the world is a once in a lifetime opportunity.
I like to see the equipment, different guys have different styles, the way they tape their sticks. The weird one was Tyler Bertuzzi, to be honest; he had zero tape. He said he hates taping his stick. Everyone's a little different. You like to see what they do, what makes them so special. I think that's a big part of it, for sure.
But the game was great. I think I was more nervous during the Skills competition on Friday. Today I was just more relaxed, getting to know the guys a little bit more, just having fun. I was just really excited to get out there and I just wanted to show what I can do.
One of the most special things was that a lot of guys came here and said they're really happy to see me over here. Just to hear that from guys around the League, like Mark Scheifele, some of my teammates on the Atlantic Division, is really awesome.
Just to get the recognition from everybody, everybody who knows your story, has been great.