YoungStars descend on Atlanta

By Holly Gunning

Sixteen NHL rookies will participate in a 3-on-3 competition as an event in the NHL Skills Competition.  The YoungStars met with the media in Atlanta on Friday.

"When I thought I was going to stay in the NHL, I knew if I worked hard and played well I could be [at the YoungStars game]. It’s a surprise for a lot of people, but I’m trying not to think about that.  I’m here right now, I’m part of these guys, and it means I can play with them.  I’m gonna look tomorrow to be one of the best players out there."
         – David Perron, STL

"I’ve got a few tricks up my sleeve that I’m working on.  It should be a fun game.  If I have the opportunity to pull one of those, I’ll try it but I’m not gonna go out of my way to."
        – Patrick Kane on his trick shots

"Last night I came back from San Jose, we were playing there.  We got back [to St. Louis] about 4:45 am.  I went pretty much directly to the other airport and left at 8:40 am.  I got here at 1:00 pm.  It’s a great day though, a long but cool day."
        – David Perron, who said he didn’t sleep last night, but looked none the worse for wear.

"I play with him on my team, but this is a good chance for me to share a fun experience with [Scott Gomez].  He’s from the same hometown as me."
         – Brandon Dubinsky, NYR, who said Gomez was someone he looked up to growing up.

"Playing with these guys, I don’t think I’ll have to move that much.  I’ll just put my stick on the ice."
         – Peter Mueller, PHO

"No, we’re on the same team so we’re gonna get the same number of points and we’re gonna win."
         – Patrick Kane, laughing, on whether he would outscore former London Knights teammate Sam Gagner (EDM).

"It’s probably a good thing for the Eastern team that [the YoungStars] are not doing the breakaway competition – they’ve got some guys with some good moves over there."
         – Brandon Dubinsky, referring in particular to Sam Gagner.

Who are you most excited to meet this weekend?

"Pavel Datsyuk.  You look at some of his moves and you’re impressed by them.  When you’re out there you try to be as physical as you can against him, be really aware defensively."
        – David Perron, STL

"We have one thing in common, we both played for the same coach in junior – Don Hay – so that’s one way to start a conversation."
        – Milan Lucic, BOS, on meeting his favorite player Jarome Iginla while checking into the hotel.

Who is the rookie that has most impressed you playing against this year?

"I’m really impressed with my teammate Marc Staal to start with.  He’s really showing how tremendous of a defenseman he’s gonna be and how important he is to our team right now.  Outside of him, Nicklas Backstrom has been great for Washington.  He’s a really skilled player and does a lot of great things with the puck I know he’s pretty responsible as well.  Out west, Sam Gagner.  I haven’t watched too many of his game, but in the shootouts, he’s had some pretty incredible moves."
        – Brandon Dubinsky, NYR

"Enstrom on Atlanta.  He’s a small defenseman, and with the new NHL you see them more and more now.  He’s a great puckhandler, he’s a hard guy to hit and I think he’s probably been the most surprising for me, playing against him."
        – Milan Lucic, BOS

"Definitely Patrick Kane.  Just a ton of skill.  Him and Jonathan Toews in Chicago are having a heck of a year.  What an impact they have made already."
         – Matt Niskanen, DAL

Is there an unsung hero rookie?

" Yeah, I think another college player, Torrey Mitchell.  He’s not the flashy type forward like Kane, but really plays an important role for the San Jose team and is quite an effective player.  He’s really tough to play against."
        – Matt Niskanen, DAL

Do you have your red carpet arrival outfits picked out?

"This.  It’s the only thing I brought.  I leave Sunday so I just brought the one suit. It’s one of the suits that good friend, great teammate Aaron Ward was nice enough to give me.  I only had one suit when I came on the team.  He actually gave me five, $10,000 worth of suits.  He’s got like 35.  He’s just looking out for a young guy, a great veteran move by him.  Hopefully I’m here for a long time and if someone’s in my position, I could return the favor."
        – Milan Lucic, BOS

"Probably just black and white.  Maybe it’s boring to some people, but you can never get in trouble with it.  It’s solid.  No one’s gonna say ‘Did you see Brandon Dubinsky wearing that crazy tie’ or anything.  I’d rather just keep it low-profile, look respectable, but not too flashy."
        – Brandon Dubinsky, NYR

"Maybe I’m gonna have to get a girl’s opinion about it."
        – Tobias Enstrom, ATL