The Chicago Blackhawks are well-represented at the NHL All-Star Game in Columbus, but while players like Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews have been through the rodeo before, Brent Seabrook and Corey Crawford are participating in the event for the first time.
“It’s a lot of fun,” Seabrook said. “It’s my first one, so it’s nice to have some guys here to help me with a few things. They’ll be a little more relaxed than me, but it’s always fun to be with good friends and good guys.”
Both Seabrook and Crawford were among the five Blackhawks players voted into the All-Star Game by NHL fans. Seabrook has been having one of the best seasons of his career, scoring seven goals and dishing out 18 assists, and when he’s been healthy Crawford has been playing at a high level too, sporting an 18-10-2 record with a 2.26 GAA and .921 save percentage.
For Crawford, the key is to not be overwhelmed by the spotlight, but rather to enjoy the experience and soak up everything that he can.
“It’s pretty special, and a pretty big honor,” he said. “The most important thing is to come here and have some fun, and enjoy the weekend.”
A big part of the weekend is the All-Star Fantasy Draft, which will take place on Friday night. While Kane and Toews are already assigned to separate teams, Crawford and Seabrook will both have to wait for their names to be called.
When asked about the possibility of being separated from long-time defensive partner Duncan Keith, Seabrook said that he really didn’t have anyone in particular in mind that he’d like to skate alongside of.
“There’s so many great defensemen here that it’ll be exciting to play with anybody,” he said. “I’m just looking forward to getting on the ice and playing the game.”
Standing between the players and the All-Star Game itself is the Skills Competition, which will take place on Saturday night at Nationwide Arena. There aren’t a lot of events for goaltenders to participate in, but there is one event that Crawford would rather not participate in: the fastest skater competition.
“Have you ever seen me skate?” he asked with a laugh. “Maybe I’ll just sit by the boards and watch it all unfold.”
Watching the game unfold is something that both Seabrook and Crawford intend to do this weekend, and Toews echoed that sentiment when giving advice to his teammates.
“I think they’re a little anxious, but for the most part they’re pretty excited,” he said. “I’d say just go out there and enjoy it. They deserve more than anyone to be here. It’s a huge thing that our team has five players in the game. It shows the talent we have.”