RALEIGH, North Carolina – Team Staal and Carolina Hurricanes teammates Eric Staal and Cam Ward discuss the 2011 NHL All-Star Festivities in Raleigh. They also explain why Jeff Skinner, the youngest player ever to play in an NHL All-Star Game, is the Justin Bieber of Raleigh. And they add in their thoughts on the new, and very well-received, NHL Fantasy Draft 2011, which allowed Staal to pick all of his Carolina teammates. And they talk about the 2011 Honda SuperSkills Competition. Staal,who was the EA Sports cover athlete for NHL 08, heads up a team filled with NHL video game cover athletes, as well as gamers.
Eric, for someone who hasn't been around Raleigh this season, can you explain what's gone on here with Jeff Skinner?
STAAL: He's got -- Cam started it.
WARD: He's going to steal my line right now.
STAAL: He seems to be the Justin Bieber of the area, especially this weekend. I think it's just when you are around Jeff, it's just his personality and his smile and his energy that I think for fans make you excited to cheer for him. You just want him to do well.It's just an exciting thing. He's a young guy. He's 18. He's in the All-Star game. There's a ton of exciting things that are going on. And I think the way he handles himself, you can see the type of person he is when he talks to the media, when he talks to other people.I think you can see the type of personality and people have grown to really like him, and they should. And it's fun for Cam and I to see him on a regular basis every day. And he's a great player. He's going to play a very long time. He's going to score a lot of goals in this league. And it's exciting that he's a part of this weekend right away.
Eric, could you comment - you win on Draft night getting the team you wanted. You win tonight. Can you go 3-for-3 and get the hat trick?
STAAL: Yeah, we're obviously shooting for 3-for-3. The game's going to be a little bit different than the skills competition that you saw tonight. But there was a ton of skill on tonight. It was a lot of fun to be a part of that.
Can you guys address the reception you guys got tonight from the crowd at the Superskills Challenge?
STAAL: It's been a wonderful weekend. I can't say anything else. It's been awesome. The support that both Cam and I received, the ovation coming onto the ice tonight, wanted to do a full lap as hard as I could. It gives you that type of energy. It was a lot of fun I think tomorrow's going to be a blast for our fans to see the game on showcase with some of the talent out there, and hopefully for the home crowd we can get it done.
Eric, how do you think you did as a GM composing the team under this format?
STAAL: I thought we did pretty good. Obviously, we'll see tomorrow in the game. But tonight worked out with some good wins and some of the events.But it was neat to just be a part of that experience and be able to be standing there picking from the best hockey players in the world. Not many people get to do that. So something I'll remember for the rest of my life. And it was the first time for everyone, and I thought it turned out pretty cool.
Cam, what’s this weekend been like for you as your first All-Star experience and also getting picked first in the inaugural Fantasy Draft?
WARD: Going into the season knowing that the All-Star game was going to be in Raleigh, it was definitely a goal of mine to play well in hopes to be selected and taking part of the festivities.Really, to be able to have my first NHL All-Star game in my home city has made it that much more special. And it definitely helped having a good friend and teammate up there on Draft day so he didn't make me sweat it out as bad as some of the other guys on Draft day.
How important was it to have all the Hurricanes on Team Staal?
WARD: I think we talked about it before. It was important that to us that we were on the same team. And it was great that Jeff Skinner and McBain were on the same side, too, so that we could support one another and the home fans could be all on one side.
Eric, what did you think about Patrick Kane using the do-over to beat you in the SuperSkills Challenge?
STAAL: That was brutal. I had a rhythm going, I thought. And apparently the Chicago Blackhawks got a little favored because Jonathan Toews I believe screwed up the other one, too. So, no, but Kane was hot. Once we got started I tried to get regrouped and he was ripping them down.So it was fun. It was fun to be out there and enjoying that whole thing with everybody.
But you had it won before that?
STAAL: Probably would have locked it up. I was feeling good. I had that bottom picked and was moving on. But we'll never know. So, oh well.
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About the Author
John Gaudiosi has been covering videogames for the past 20 years for outlets like The Washington Post, CNET, Wired Magazine and CBS.com. He has focused on the convergence of entertainment and videogames for outlets like Video Business, Home Media Magazine, Entertainment Weekly, The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. He currently serves as Editor-in-Chief of Gamerlive.TV and is also a freelance game columnist for Reuters and writes for outlets like Forbes.com, NVISION, Official PlayStation Magazine, EGM Now, Geek Monthly, PrimaGames.com, and Yahoo! Games. John also serves as the video game expert for NBC in Washington D.C. and has produced videogame documentaries for The History Channel and Starz Entertainment. John was named one of the Top 50 Game Journalists in the world by Next-Gen.biz in 2007. He is the co-author of Scholastic Books' How to Get into Videogames, Prima Publishing's Madden: Twenty Years of Videogame Football and Electronic Arts: The Official History.