Just waiting for the skills competition to get started here at the Bell Centre so I thought I'd give you all an idea of what I've been up to over the past couple of pretty hectic days.
Friday was media availability day, which means every player on both teams had to sit at a booth and wait for pesky reporters to come talk to them. I was assigned to write a story on the All-Star goalies, which you can read here, but I was most interested by a conversation I had with Jay Bouwmeester.
Bouwmeester is really not a very chatty guy, so I figured a fay where had to sit and wait for people to ask him questions would be like torture to him. Still, I was determined to try to get some nugget of information out of him as to whether or not he's going to sign a contract extension with Florida before the March 4 trade deadline.
Bouwmeester wouldn't give anything away regarding his new contract, despite my needling him, but that was to be expected. He did, however, provide a few hints regarding where he might finish his career, and it would surprise me if it was in Montreal.
He spoke quite glowingly about the Panthers recent performance, saying this is the most fun he's had playing hockey since starting his career.
"We feel down there that we're a pretty good hockey team, we just fly under the radar a little bit," Bouwmeester said. "But that's not necessarily a bad thing."
I kind of jumped on that theme, because if he wants to fly under the radar that means he likely won't be signing with any team in Canada should he hit the free agent market this summer. He did admit he liked his anonymity living in Miami, and while he wouldn't come right out and say that he would never play in a major hockey market, he definitely gave that impression.
Of course, he would have no say of where he would play if the Panthers were to trade him at the deadline, though I'd be surprised if they did if they remain in contention for a playoff spot. As disastrous as it would be to lose Bouwmeester for nothing, the Panthers are a franchise that desperately needs a playoff appearance,and they could always try to sign Bouwmeester after the season.
But if indeed he is available, he would be the perfect piece for the Canadiens, though the rental would likely be extremely costly.
This morning I covered the Eastern and Western Conference practices and was stunned to see 20,000 fans in the stands. I wrote a story about how the Habs last two power play quarterbacks, Sheldon Souray and Mark Streit, were both making their returns to our city as All-Stars after the Habs essentially deemed them expendable. You can read my story here.
I tried my hardest to get one of them to say something to the effect that they love to see how the Habs power play has been garbage most of the season, or that their appearance here gives them a chance to shove their success down the Habs throat, but obviously neither of them would bite.
Here, however, is one funny moment from Souray's session with the media Friday (for which he was about a half hour late, by the way, strolling in with a coffee in hand, which adds some meaning to this quote):
"Edmonton’s a lot like Montreal, without the food and a lot of the, uh, um, uh, the nightlife, the watering holes," Souray said.
Further to that, Mike Komisarek was talking to reporters Saturday morning about his chances in the hardest shot competition, which he just finished doing, beating Mark Streit by 0.2 mph. Souray said that Komisarek may actually try to block one of the shots during the competition. When told of Souray's comments, Komisarek shot back.
"I don't think Shelly's well-rested goiung into this," he said. "His eyes are a little fuzzy this morning."
So that's it for now, the breakaway elimination shootout is about to start and I'm going to check it out. I'll file from the actual "game" on Sunday.