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Penguins Report: All-Star Weekend Part I

by Sam Kasan / Pittsburgh Penguins

  • Fleury has some fun with Letang as the two talk about being opponents (10:21 PM).
  • Draft blogging (7:55 to 8:52 PM).
  • Sidney Crosby is cleared for light workouts (9:38 PM).
  • Fleury and Letang chat pre-Draft (7:31 PM).
  • Remember when Malkin and Ovechkin hugged it out? (5:57 PM).
  • Pre-Draft red carpet pics (7:43 PM).
  • Pens staff ridin’ dirty (5:17 PM).
  • mock draft (3:22 PM).
  • Arrival pics in Raleigh (12:04 PM).
  • Leaving Pittsburgh with an early-morning flight (8:53 AM).
  • “She thinks she missed the train to Mars, she’s out back counting stars…” (7:00 AM)
Whew! It's been a long day. Hope you all enjoyed the All-Star edition of the Pens Report. Let's do it again tomorrow...

10:21 PM:
There was some joking following the All-Star Draft. Fleury approached the media wearing a name tag that read "Kris Letang."

"I'm really scared to shoot on Fleury, he's got some good moves," Fleury said in imitation of Letang. He added, "It will be great for me to have bragging rights going back to Pittsburgh. Hopefully, I'll see him in the shootout."

"We'll see if I face him in the skills competition," Letang responded. "He said something on the mic earlier and now he's wearing my name. That's fun."

Letang also addressed his near fall after being picked in the draft: "I was a little nervous. I didn't want to do anything stupid. I ended up slipping and almost went down. I stayed on my feet, kept my ground. I was good."

Note: Lidstrom said that his team selected Fleury based on Martin St. Louis' suggestion. "I asked St. Louis who he thought was appropriate in a game like this," Lidstrom said. "It was hard for him, but he thought Fleury was a good pick for us, especially with some of the breakaways in the skills competition. We don't see him a whole lot so Marty helped us out there."

9:38 PM:
Some big non-All-Star related news. Sidney Crosby has been cleared for light workouts. Click here for more details.

8:52 PM:
Team Staal picks Letang! The two Penguins teammates will now square off against each other in the All-Star Game and skills competition. That should make for some fun.

8:37 PM:
Fleury is first Pen to be picked. Team Lidstrom takes him with the 18th overall pick. Letang still on the board.

8:36 PM:
Rounds Six through Eight...
11. Staal - Lundqvist
12. Lidstrom - Briere
13. Staal - M.Staal (awe)
14. Lidstrom - Byfuglien
15. Staal - Sharp
16. Lidstrom - Toews

Mearsy's take: "The teams are smart not going for goalies. Goalies get shelled in All-Star Games. Team Lidstrom's next two picks have to be goalies and that's the way to do it. That's good strategy."

8:20 PM:
Rounds Four through Five...
7. Staal - Chara
8. Lidstrom - Weber
9. Staal - Nash
10. Lidstrom - Thomas

Mearsy's take: "Thomas is the perfect type of goaltender for an All-Star, a lot of scrambling and pucks coming from everywhere."

8:13 PM:
Three Rounds deep. Picks so far...
1. Staal - Ward
2. Lidstrom - Stamkos
3. Staal - Ovechkin
4. Lidstrom - Keith
5. Staal - D.Sedin
6. Lidstrom - H.Sedin

Mearsy's take: "A lot of buddies picking buddies. The Sedin twins had to be broken, otherwise one team would have a major advantage. Lidstrom was forced to break them up. ... Maybe not the best strategy (for Staal) taking a goalie first overall, considering he's only going to play one period."

8:02 PM:
We open the Draft in a Family Feud style setting, as both Team Edward and Team Jacob are behind sets. We asked 100 people, survey said!!!

7:55 PM:
We are five minutes away from the start of the NHL All-Star Game Draft. Steve Mears and I will provide some running commentary from the FRONT ROW (in the media room).

PS - for media snack, the NHL has provided hummus. Two very enthusiastic thumbs up to the NHL!

Up close and personal with the television set (left); Hummus heals the heart (right)

7:43 PM:
Pens waddle the red carpet for All-Star Game Draft.



Media gathers before the event (left); Eric Staal, captain of Team Staal - duh (right)

7:31 PM:
Sounds heard on the All-Star Game red carpet...

Kris Letang

On having a preference on which Team he’ll play for
Not really, I’m just here to have fun and have a chance to play with these guys. I’m leaning towards Lidstrom’s side. He’s always been a role model for me. To play with him would be fun.

On playing against Fleury, or with him:
I wish I could play with him. He’s a great goaltender and will give a good showing, so I want him on my side.

On any defenseman he’d like to be paired with
Lidstrom would be great, getting a chance to play, talk and learn from him.

On the skills competition
They didn’t tell us because the teams are not picked yet.

On a preference skill competition:
I don’t know. I’m just going to enjoy it.

On where he got his tan:
Miami beach.

Marc-Andre Fleury

On which Team he’d rather play for:
It doesn’t change anything. Whoever picks me I’ll be happy. I’m looking forward to go.

On playing with or against Letang:
I think it would be interesting to face him. I’m sure he’ll do breakaways. He knows what I like to do and I know what he likes to do. There would be too much thinking going on. I’ll just keep it simple.

On if he’ll talk trash on Letang:
Oh surely. I have a lot of fun doing that.

On if he’s relaxed:
I’m a little nervous. I’m not used to be in such a spotlight. I’m trying to enjoy it and meet some guys that I don’t really know, and play against. It’s been alright.

5:57 PM:
Last time the NHL had an All-Star Game, it was in Montreal in 2009. And Evgeni Malkin and Alex Ovechkin became BFFs again.

5:17 PM:
Hello from the War Room (otherwise known as the Media Workroom). Steve Mears and I have a front row seat (to the TV) and will be tracking the All-Star Draft. The NHL deserves a lot of credit for spicing up the ASG with this draft. It's definitely added a lot of flavor to the weekend festivities.

The Pens staff rolls in style at the All-Star Game. You know what it is. Everything we do, we do it big. PS - It's a good thing the All-Star Game is in Raleigh and not, say, Philadelphia or Washington.

3:22 PM:
Myself and the Pens' web crew are getting ready to head over to the All-Star Draft event. In the meantime, put together a mock draft. Mel Kiper would be proud.

Spoiler: has Fleury going to Team Staal in the 7th Round (13th overall), and Letang going to Team Lidstrom in the 8th Round (16th overall).

12:04 PM:
We have arrived in Raleigh. At the airport, we were greated by many reminders that the city is hosting the All-Star Game.

8:53 AM:
We've successfully maneuvered our way through airport security and have set up shop at our boarding gate.

Our plane anxiously awaits our arrival (left); Even T-Rex is feelin' the "black and gold" love.

Two legends are honored at Pittsburgh International in Franco Harris and George Washington (right). Which of the two do you think is more revered in Pittsburgh? It could go either way.

Raleigh here we come!!!

7:00 AM:
Good morning! I had an early wake up call today at 6 a.m. (ok 6:20 after two strikes to the snooze button).

While a few of the Penguins will get the next few days off to rest, relax and recharge (or go to Disney World), goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury and defensemen Kris Letang will be participating in the NHL All-Star festivities this weekend. And, of course, we will be there as well to cover all the happenings.

Myself and communication director Jen Bullano are currently on our way to Pittsburgh International Airport for a flight to Raleigh, North Carolina. I’ll keep you posted on all the day’s events, culminating with the NHL’s first-ever All-Star Player Fantasy Draft at 8 p.m.

While I didn’t take a train to Mars (instead flying to Raleigh), I will be seeing lots of stars tonight – a reference for our song to kick off the day. Hum didn’t manage a lot of commercial success in the 1990s, but did track an awesome tune in “Stars,” which is also a fitting way to open our All-Star coverage. Enjoy.

BONUS! Anytime I can use a live performance on “Late Night with Conan O’Brian, “I have to make it happen. Conan was a huge asset to many up-and-coming alternative/indie bands, and was clutch during those late night bouts with insomnia. I’m obviously with Team Coco.

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