Goodbye, Columbus, and thanks for the well-organized All-Star game festivities. Most events were held within the lively Arena District or the nearby convention center, and players seemed pleased with the enthusiastic atmosphere and attentive crowds.
"It was really awesome," said Nashville Predators rookie forward Filip Forsberg, who contributed two goals to Team Toews' 17-12 victory over Team Foligno in Sunday's game.
"It is really great to be here with these guys. You've been looking up them for as long you can remember basically. It was fun, just really relaxed and not the highest-tempo game I've played in my career, but it was fun to watch all the good players."
Being relaxed was the order of the day on Sunday, as the teams set an NHL All-Star game record with 29 goals and Team Toews set a record for most goals scored by one team. John Tavares of the New York Islanders and Team Toews tied a record by scoring four goals, while temporary teammate Jakub Voracek of the Philadelphia Flyers recorded six points and tied the All-Star game record set by Mario Lemieux in 1988.
Apparently, though, not everyone was relaxed. Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews, captain of the team named for him, might have taken things a bit too seriously --which may be fitting for a player nicknamed "Captain Serious" long ago.
"He was probably the hardest worker if you watched him out there," Chicago teammate Patrick Kane said. "Guys were kind of looking around like, 'What's up with Johnny? Why's he going so hard?' That's just the way he is, Johnny Hustle. Nothing really else to expect from him."
Kane and pretty much everyone else was in take-it-easy mode.
"You try to have fun with it," Kane said. "That's all we're really doing out there is having fun and trying to show our skill at the same time. It was a fun day."
Kings Coach Darryl Sutter, who was behind the bench for Team Foligno along with his son Chris and Kings Assistant Coach Davis Payne, was also a fan during his three days in Columbus.
"It was a really good weekend. It was good to see all the different players, guys you hadn't seen for a long time, in a different setting," he said. "It's fun watching guys who are used to beating the hell out of each other just take a step back and relax."
Kings defenseman Drew Doughty played only 20 minutes and 15 seconds, well off his regular-season average of 29:22. He said playing in the game was almost like a respite for him. "It's not like I worked hard. I definitely got to recoup too," he said.
Except, maybe, when the Blue Jackets' famed cannon blasted to celebrate Team Foligno goals. The cannon is a reproduction of a Civil War-era cannon, and it's loud. Very loud.
Asked his opinion on it, Doughty was emphatic. "No, I don't like that. I don't think anyone does," he said. "It's not good when we come here. It scares me, still."
He wasn't alone. "It's loud enough that it gets on your nerves pretty quickly and especially when they score 12 or so goals like that," Toews said. "It gets you a little bit."