COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Before St. Louis Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk left for the All-Star Game in Columbus, assistant coach Kirk Muller pulled him aside and told him not to be shy and make sure he came home with some souvenirs.
So there was Shattenkirk, still in his sweaty under clothes, his All-Star jersey over his arm, all of his teammates' signatures on the fabric.
"Yeah I got my jersey signed," Shattenkirk told ESPN.com. "I got a stick signed from the other team. Trying to take home as much of that stuff as possible. It was actually Kirk Muller who said right before I left, 'Hey make sure, that no matter what, just get your stuff signed. It's something that you're going to want later and don't be afraid to ask.'"
While Shattenkirk's Team Foligno was thumped 17-12 by Team Toews in Sunday's All-Star Game, the memories are the real currency of this weekend and that goes equally for the players and the fans.
"Everyone's walking around with their jerseys and asking for signatures," Shattenkirk said.
Almost like high school kids at the end of the year with their yearbooks.
"It's cool to see because you're not really sure how it's going to play out and how to ask some guys you've never met before," Shattenkirk said. "But everyone's been very receptive. I think hockey players are a good bunch of guys and it showed this weekend."
If goaltenders have the most onerous jobs at these events, it is certainly no picnic for defensemen whose job it is on a normal NHL night to make life difficult for opposing players.
This was especially true for Shattenkirk, who was playing in his first All-Star Game.
"You kind of go into the game not sure, feeling it out, how to play, what to do, what not to do," Shattenkirk said. "We had just a really good time with it. I think that's the most important thing is you kind of realize that everyone just tries to have the most fun with it as possible and create as many goals as possible."
Certainly a little different than the structured style of play Shattenkirk is used to playing for Ken Hitchcock in St. Louis.
"It's tough. It's tough. There are so many little plays and knee-jerk reactions that are just ingrained in your mind as a defenseman and someone gets a puck and you want to step up and hit him and you've got to realize tonight you've got to hold back and give him his space," Shattenkirk said. "But for the most part, I think everyone knew that going into it. It was in everyone's mind and luckily, other than a couple of collisions, there weren't any big hits."
The Blues defender is second among all defenseman with 39 points and managed to collect a goal and an assist on Sunday among the barrage of goals.
When Team Foligno got down, it didn't dampen the enthusiasm of his teammates, even though every time they tried to claw back into the game Team Toews responded.
"It was great. It was great," Shattenkirk said. "We were trying to somehow turn it around and make a game of it. We still wanted to try and make it a little bit closer. But they were trying pretty hard out there and didn't really let us breathe. Once they got that lead they seemed to just keep the foot on the gas pedal. But ... everyone was still enjoying it, having fun on the ice, laughing and coming off the ice. We were actually joking on the back end, there were a couple guys who were leaving some bad changes out there and eating a couple of minuses. It was all in good fun."
Now it's back to work.
After a weekend of hanging out with his parents, older brother, sister-in-law, agent and girlfriend, Shattenkirk will return to the business of trying to knock down opponents and collect points down the stretch.
Some of his teammates were enjoying a tropical climate during the break while Shattenkirk was pulling his gear in Columbus, but it's not something he'd trade.
"It was a good reset weekend. I think even though we were the few guys that were still on the ice this weekend, I think obviously this was a very lighthearted event and it was a chance to see family, which is always nice when you don't get to see them too often," Shattenkirk said. "Once you do that it feels like it's a vacation at that point when you have family in town and you're really just hanging out with them and doing this stuff along the way. I think that's the best part about the NHL that they do this weekend is they don't make you feel like you have too much to do. It's still a nice vacation weekend for the guys."