ST. LOUIS -- It didn't take Red Wings forward Tyler Bertuzzi long to realize that he was about to be part of something pretty special.
Bertuzzi, 24, arrived in St. Louis Thursday morning from Minneapolis, where his team had played the night before.
"I got off the plane today and there's two cops waiting for me to escort me," Bertuzzi said during the NHL All-Star Media Day at Stifel Theatre in St. Louis. "I was like, whoa, this is it now so I know it's pretty cool. I've settled in a little bit now and you know I'm just looking forward for tomorrow."
Bertuzzi leads the Wings in goals with 17 and is tied with Dylan Larkin in points with 36.
Bertuzzi is one of six first-time All-Stars in the Atlantic Division, along with Toronto's Mitch Marner and Frederik Andersen; Ottawa's Brady Tkachuk and Anthony Duclair; and Florida's Jonathan Huberdeau, and one of 20 overall.
"I'm very excited and honored to be here," Bertuzzi said. "You're just getting here today and I'm meeting everyone, just kind of figuring it out. It's exciting and I'm ready for tomorrow."
Bertuzzi said there wasn't any one player in particular he was looking forward to getting to know.
"Not really, you know we play everyone around the league and you know a lot of the guys, too," Bertuzzi said. "I'm just excited to kind of experience it and just be ready and just live in the moment.
"This is going to be a short time and just trying to take it all in."
On Friday, the All-Stars will take part in the 2020 NHL All-Star Skills competition, which includes Bridgestone NHL Fastest Skater, Bud Light NHL Save Streak, Honda NHL Accuracy Shooting, Elite Women's 3-on-3, Enterprise NHL Hardest Shot and the Gatorade NHL Shooting Stars.
Although Wings teammate Jimmy Howard joked a few weeks ago that Bertuzzi should compete in the fastest skater competition, Bertuzzi revealed that he'll be participating in the accuracy competition.
"Just try and hit them and not embarrass myself," Bertuzzi said. "Just try to get the best time and I'll do OK. Obviously, it'd be my first time. I don't really know what to expect. You know, you shoot the puck every day. So, you hopefully can't do that bad."
Bertuzzi acknowledged that shooting in a competition like this will be different than shooting in a game.
"I mean, at that point, you're the only guy shooting the puck in front of millions of people so I think the nerves will kick in, for sure," he said.
Bertuzzi's opponents in the accuracy shooting are Carolina's Jaccob Slavin, Edmonton's Leon Draisaitl, Florida's Huberdeau (who sat next to Bertuzzi during Media Day), New Jersey's Nico Hischier, San Jose's Tomas Hertl, St. Louis' Alex Pietrangelo and Winnipeg's Mark Scheifele.
On Saturday night, Bertuzzi will team up with his Atlantic Division mates in the 3-on-3 tournament against the other divisions.
It's a similar format to the 3-on-3 overtime in the regular season.
"Here it's going to be a little bit different, obviously it's going to be a little bit more skill and stuff, but you know it's gonna be fun," Bertuzzi said.
Of course, one of the best parts of an event like All-Star Weekend is that you get to bring along people to share it with you.
Last year, Howard brought his two young sons, James IV and Henry, who had a blast meeting the players and the mascots.
For Bertuzzi, he invited his father, Adrian Gedye, and his brother, Evan, who is 18. They are flying in Friday in time for the skills competition.
What are they most looking forward to experiencing?
"Probably just seeing all the guys," Bertuzzi said. "My brother, he loves hockey. He's always really excited to come here. And, I'm excited for them to come here, just kind of enjoy the moment. Just kind of spoil them for the weekend and show them, you know, they're staying at the Ritz and they're gonna be able to see all the all the players so it's gonna be cool."
For Bertuzzi, it's a chance to reflect on just how far he has come in a short period of time.
It was just four summers ago that he was one of the older guys at the 2016 development camp at Centre Ice Arena in Traverse City.
"I know, it's kind of pretty crazy," Bertuzzi said. "I was saying earlier, the Wings do such a good job of developing prospects and, you know, obviously, sometimes it sucks when you're in the minors for two or three years but you know in the end it helps you out and it helped me out a lot just to learn how to be a pro and learn how to play better on the ice, but also how to be a pro off the ice, too.
"It's taught me to become the player I am today."