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The stars were in

Lightning's St. Louis, Kubina enjoy All-Star locker room camaraderie.

By TOM JONES
Published February 9, 2004

ST. PAUL, Minn. - The best part of Sunday's NHL All-Star Game for the Lightning's Pavel Kubina and Martin St. Louis had nothing to do with the game or anything that happened on the ice.

It was the intermissions.

"You sit in the locker room and look over and see guys like Mark Messier," said St. Louis, playing in consecutive All-Star Games. "That's special. It was the same as last year. You can't help but look around and be excited."

Kubina, making his All-Star Game debut, could not stop smiling even after the game. As with St. Louis, Kubina could not help but look around the room and realize he was sharing hockey history while wearing the same sweater as NHL stars such as Messier, Martin Brodeur and Jaromir Jagr.

"I've played against these guys, but I never had a chance to meet most of them," Kubina said. "The thing I think I will remember the most is being on the (team) bus coming over for practice on Saturday morning and realizing I was a part of this team."

As with any team, the Eastern stars quickly made Kubina welcome the best way they knew how. They made fun of him.

Jagr and Robert Lang, natives of the Czech Republic as is Kubina, spent half the day nudging Kubina.

"I finally had to tell Jags to be quiet," Kubina said. "I told him, "Hey, we play you one more time this year, so you better watch it.' "

While the two Lightning representatives enjoyed the off-ice shenanigans, they also enjoyed the on-ice activities even though neither scored in the East's 6-4 victory.

St. Louis, playing on a line with Philadelphia's Jeremy Roenick and Keith Primeau, had a couple of scoring chances, but no points and no shots on goal. Perhaps he would have been better served taking a few more shots, and he passed up several good chances. That is the way the All-Star Game works.

"You're looking to set people up in a game like this," St. Louis said. "This is a pretty unselfish game."

Kubina, who said he did not settle his nerves until late in the first period, had one shot but no points while playing with Boston's Nick Boynton.

"Being here was something else," Kubina said. "Just being here was great and (such) a good experience. Just being around the players is something I'll always remember."

[Last modified February 9, 2004, 01:05:23]

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